Dear Aebi: "What is New Age Religion?"
At most book stores there is a shelf or rack full of books on one phase or another of "New Age Religion," which is a mixture of Hinduism, environmentalism, Gnosticism, and the occult. Neil Anderson, editor of Gospel Advocate, says, "The New Age Movement cloaks the occult in the description of New Age enlightenment: 'You don't need God; you are God. You don't need to repent of your sins and depend on God to save you. Sin isn't a problem; you just need to turn off your mind and tune in to the great cosmic oneness through harmonic convergence.' The New Age pitch is the oldest lie of Satan: 'You will be like God' (Genesis 3:5)."
Hinduism is idolatry; Hindus worship many gods, including their ancestors, who are thought to be reincarnated as cows and various other animals. The goal of the individual Hindu is to get off the wheel of reincarnation to get out of the monotonous cycle of birth to death to rebirth to redeath to rebirth to redeath and be absorbed into the world-soul and thus become non-existent. This is accomplished through yoga, transcendental meditation, self-denial, and good works over the centuries to accumulate enough good karma. If some of these terms are familiar to you, it may be because they are used by modern sophisticated types, including some Hollywood people and Washington politicians who buy into New Age ideas. Several years ago Congress appropriated large sums of money to promote transcendental meditation in public schools and in the workplace; they believed it would improve one's health.
Environmentalism extends from the useful idea of purifying the environment (air and water) all the way to the pantheist notion that the environment is god. In addition, since we are in a larger sense a part of the environment, we are, in that way of thinking, a part of god. The worship of mountains, rivers, sky, trees, and other physical features has been a part of many idolatrous and pantheistic religions, and it is still around, as expressed in the terms "Mother Nature" and "Mother Earth."
Gnostics were false sects of the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Gnosticism has been revived in recent years and is involved in the Gospel of Judas, The Da Vinci Code, The Gnostic Gospels, and other popular writings. Some elements of Gnosticism can be seen in "the dark side of the Force" in Star Wars and in similar expressions in movies and books recently written. Many modern scholars are Gnostic in their approach and attitude; like the Gnostics, they think of themselves as "the enlightened ones" and are like the Pharisees in Luke 18:9 who "despised others" or "looked down on everybody else" (NIV).
The occult is seen in such things as fortune-telling, tarot cards, palm-reading, Ouija boards, astrology, magic charming, automatic writing, witchcraft, demons, voodoo, and other magic which some people take seriously. The Bible warns repeatedly against the trappings of New Age Religion in such passages as Deuteronomy 32:17-18 and 1 John 2:15-17. It is not "new" at all, but it is as false today as it was when it was age-old religion condemned in the first two of the ten commandments given at Mt. Sinai. 2660 Layman Rd., Vincent, OH 45784-9730. firstname.lastname@example.org
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