The New Age Movement - A Leaderless but Powerful Network
Paul Young, Maesteg, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
It was incredible to read that in the early 1990s a lady gave up her £150 per day job in the City of London, to take up work at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland for £75 per month! Findhorn was the first New Age community in the world, being founded in 1962 and has achieved legendary status in New Age circles. There are now many more such communities of environmentally friendly housing, which offer ongoing programmes on the principles of New Age spirituality.
The New Age Movement (referred to as NAM throughout this article) is said to be the fastest growing belief system in America and possibly in the Western world. It has infiltrated society so deeply that it is virtually impossible to escape its all-pervasive nature. Many people accept its thinking without realizing it, and NAM teaching has been popularized by wellknown stars of film and stage such as John Denver and Shirley Maclaine. The latter’s autobiographical book, Out on a Limb, detailed her New Age philosophy.
WHAT IT IS NOT
NAM is not a cult in any traditional sense, as it has no recognized headquarters, no distinct governing body, no set creed or doctrinal statement of beliefs and no single organizational structure. Also, it is not something restricted to a few muddy dropouts who are called ‘New Age Travellers’ by the popular media. It is much more sophisticated and mainstream.
WHAT IT IS
NAM is a network of inter-connecting and overlapping organizations. It has been described as ‘not a bureaucracy or an organization but a network of social and spiritual movements. Each is self-sufficient. Not one is essential to the whole, but NAM is becoming an evident source of potential power. This network reaches out into all areas of society, including alternative medicine, government, religion, music, diet, sport, education, films and entertainment, the ecology movement, industry, commerce, arts and publishing, including Eastern and occult religious practices.
The essential belief of NAM is that a new age is about to dawn, which will be called the ‘Aquarian Age’. This ‘golden’ age will be a time when people realize their full potential and will be ushered in when enough people world-wide are tuned in’. This is very much a Hindu idea, which requires a person’s ‘individual consciousness’ to be altered sufficiently to tune into the ‘universal consciousness’. Anything can be used to help in altering the individual’s consciousness, including drugs, hypnotism, yoga, meditation, scream therapy, brain-drive machines, sitting in pyramids, astral travel, occult activity, crystal use and many more. There are numerous doors into the mindtransforming world of NAM.
The Aquarian Age is named after the astrological symbol Aquarius, which is the water carrier, and represents man’s ability to carry his own load. Thus, there is no need of God for in one sense man has become ‘god’, and NAM is sometimes called ‘the deification of man’. The Aquarian Age is said to supersede the age of Pisces (which is the fish and also a symbol of Christianity). Thus NAM is a concerted effort to achieve a ‘quantum evolutionary leap’ with humanity acquiring the attributes heretofore associated with God. This is the ‘consciousness revolution’, with new ways of looking at and experiencing life, and when enough of humanity have entered this experience then a new age will have dawned.
Thus, NAM is a blend of Eastern religious experience, occultic activities, psychic phenomenon and ‘me-ism’. Me-ism simply means that there is a great emphasis upon ‘looking within’ to find ‘the inner self’ and develop ‘conscious awareness’. It is often described as ‘selfism’, and with obvious neglect of all others except self, could easily be considered as ‘selfishism’. The cement that holds this mishmash of ideas together is reincarnation. This is the Eastern idea of cyclic rebirth, where a person keeps paying for past misdeeds until the bad is balanced by good. The idea is that eventually the person atones for misdeeds and so the final redemption or absorption of the soul into the divine world soul (Nirvana) takes place. Indeed, without reincarnation many would miss out on experiencing the new age!
This ‘new world order’ is expected to have a one world army, government, police force, financial system and religion. It would seem that opponents will be eliminated, especially those who believe in Judeo-Christian truth. NAM rejects the God of the Bible for monism (that all is one) and pantheism (that all is god). Jesus is neither Saviour nor Son of God but an ‘avatar’ or ‘world teacher’ who helped to bring some spiritual enlightenment. Absolute truth is rejected and experiential subjectivism determines what is truth for the individual. NAM also denies the biblical view of heaven and hell.
In 1875 the Theosophical Society was founded and this has given a philosophical framework for NAM thinking. It linked Eastern religious thought to Western occultism and was violently opposed to monotheism. Also, in the turbulent 1960’s, many disaffected young people were introduced to NAM, and the blasphemous musical ‘Hair’, with its anthem ‘Aquarius’, was an enormous influence. Many of those young people who ‘dropped out’ of society in the 1960s have long since ‘dropped’ back into society, often holding influential positions, but still maintaining NAM ideas and forwarding its agenda.
Here are six indicators for identifying New Age activities:
- A commitment to furthering the New Age, through unity of religions and uniting of national governments.
- Belief in monism, pantheism, reincarnation, spiritual evolution, ascended masters, human potential and the essentially humanistic view that mankind is inherently good.
- Occult activity such as channelling or mediumship, astrology, psychic healing, numerology, magic, induced states of consciousness, use of pyramids or crystals.
- Use of terminology such as ‘higher self’, selfrealization’, ‘cosmic consciousness’, ‘universal energy’, ‘chakras’, ‘kundalini’, ‘networking’, ‘spaceship earth’, ‘cosmic energy’, and many more. Also, the use of symbols such as rays of light, swastika, pyramid, triangle, eye in a triangle, yin and yang, rainbow and pegasus can indicate NAM involvement.
- Certain political ideas such as ‘new world order’ or ‘planetary citizen’.
- Today, a lot of concern is rightly expressed over issues like health and the environment. Unfortunately, many approaches for dealing with these issues are under-girded by New Age philosophy. These include most aspects of holistic health, ecology-concerned parties and therapy groups such as ‘Forum’, ‘Lifespring’ and ‘Silva Mind Control’ seminars.
It has to be said that committed New Agers are determined to usher in the Age of Aquarius, but many others are part of the New Age and unaware of it. They may have become involved through genuine concern for the environment, anxiety over their health or sadness at the loss of a loved one. Many are involved and do not believe all aspects of the New Age; indeed they may practice some New Age activities and be unaware of the central aims.
Our approach needs to be:
- Prayerful: nothing is achieved and no New Ager can be led to salvation, unless we keep close to the Lord and let Him lead us in our witness.
- Sensitive: most New Agers believe that Christians are harsh and uncaring. We must show the love of Christ, and we will need to exercise great patience with New Agers who often have disturbed minds and can be in a grip that is Satanic. Therefore, we must be careful never to criticize or give the impression that we are in any way superior.
- Careful: here we must be deeply familiar with the biblical truth we believe, and show the evidence from Scripture and from personal testimony that the gospel is both true and effective.
- Determined: we must not give up either praying for New Agers or witnessing to them. This segment of society is particularly difficult to reach with the gospel, but we praise God that there are testimonies of those who have been delivered from the Satanic grip of the New Age Movement.
Christians should always be aware that it is easy to be dominated in our thinking by ideas from society as portrayed through the media. This influence is both subtle and powerful and can embed itself in us without us really noticing. We need to search our hearts and minds and allow our ideas, values and beliefs to be shaped by the Lord, through His word. We can then be in a position to become effective in our personal evangelism to those caught up in the New Age Movement.