The New Age. What is it?

By Marcia Montenegro

The New Age can best be described as a network of beliefs. It borrows from and synthesizes many views: Gnostic, Eastern Spirituality, and New Thought.

Gnostic
Spirit is superior to matter
We all come from God
The body is a temporary vehicle for the spirit

Eastern Spirituality
Nondual Hinduism - All is one; one is all (monism). Material reality is an illusion and is inferior to spiritual reality. Reincarnation: the soul returns to another body after death. Spiritual growth is the constant process of evolving towards liberation from reincarnation. Meditation and Yoga are important aspects of spiritual advancement.

Buddhism - Suffering is caused by desire, which attaches one to this world. Detachment from desire is practiced to end suffering. The self/identity does not exist. Spiritual insight is gained through meditation techniques such as centering and mindfulness.

Taoism - One reality, the Tao, is split in yin and yang. There is a universal life force, chi (or qi, ki). Health and spiritual growth come from balancing the chi, yin and yang (basis for much alternative healing).

New Thought
The New Thought Movement claims to be Christian but denies the essentials of the historic Christian faith. Some major views of New Thought:

Man is innately divine
God is a principle
Jesus was a man who realized his divine nature
Sin is not realizing the true divine nature
Illness results from wrong views and beliefs
Thoughts are things
Man has the ability to manifest his desires through thought and words

Occultism and Neopaganisim
This technically is another category from the New Age worldview but is often included under New Age and overlaps with it. The earth/nature is exalted as the source and sustainer of life. There is one divine force or life force linking people, nature and the universe. Access to and manipulation of this force is possible. Worship of the Goddess and/or many gods is common. Divination techniques such as astrology, numerology, tarot cards, and psychic techniques are usually practiced as well as spell casting. Rituals are performed according to seasons and moon phases in the belief that this harmonizes one with nature. There is no belief in Satan.

Quick Overview of Major New Age Beliefs
All is energy

Spirit is superior to matter

God is impersonal or both personal and impersonal

There are no absolutes

Jesus was an enlightened teacher

Jesus was a man who reached Christ Consciousness (or God Consciousness)

The "inner Jesus" is the real Jesus vs. the historical Jesus

Man's nature is innately divine

Logic and rational thinking are barriers to spiritual truth

Truth is subjective and mostly based on experience

You attract that which you project, think, or feel

You need a change in consciousness

Reincarnation
 

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