Make no mistake- religion is a big business. The real issue was that the New Age movement was a potential impediment for Fundamentalist dominance in the 80s and 90s. And while New Agers were fantasizing about an enlightened world order, Fundamentalists were forging relationships with warlords and dictators in the Third World, handing out millions of dollars of parishoner donations and trading missions and churches for mining rights and oil contracts, creating a very different future for us indeed.
There are hundreds of anti-New Age books and tracts out there, but I chose this article from 1989 - "The Age Old New Age Movement" - to give us the doctrinal brief against the movement from the Fundamentalist hierarchy. The writing is often poor, but it acts as a solid overview of the real objection to the New Age that ultimately resulted in a violent rhetorical campaign against the hapless upstart. This quote sets the tone:
The New Age Movement is "the most dangerous enemy of Christianity in the world today...more dangerous than secular humanism." - Norman L. Geisler, professor of Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary.This shows you exactly how the power brokers of the Fundamentalist elite perceived the movement- not as a threat to civilization or freedom, but as a threat to their power base and their income. That is the crux of the war against the New Age movement, and is the crux of all religious war in general. Note that the DTS is ground zero for Dispensationalism, which brought us the extra-biblical fantasy known as "Rapture Theology." Continuing:
The New Age Movement began with a member of the Theosophical Society named Alice A. Bailey. She was an Englishwoman who emigrated to America and who lived from 1880 to 1949. She laid the real foundations of the New Age Movement and is regarded as its high priestess.By whom? I'd never heard of her until I started reading conspiracy literature. In addition, Alice Bailey was thrown out of the Theosophical Society on suspicion of fraud. The Theosophists - who were already falling apart by the turn of the century - were far more influential than Bailey's various groups and there is no evidence that Bailey had anything near the following that Blavatsky did. It certainly is tiny- and rapidly shrinking- today.
Ridiculous drama queens wet their pants over Lucis Trust,
a glorified knitting circle for eccentric pensioners
a glorified knitting circle for eccentric pensioners
There were any number of groups which could also be characterized as New Age long before Blavatsky or Bailey - the Swedenborgians and the Transcendentalists, to name only two. As for Blavatsky, it was well established even in her own time that her works were almost entirely plagiarized, showing that there was a corpus of proto-New Age literature before she came on the scene.
In short, Blavatsky and Bailey are controversial figures whom notoriety is exploited by propagandists. They are by no means the creators of the New Age movement in the same way that the Beatles or the Stones are not the creators of Rock 'n' Roll.
The true inheritors of the Blavatsky/Bailey mantle wasn't the New Age as a whole, but neo-Theosphists like Elizabeth Clare Prophet, whose extreme right wing politics and authoritarian morality made Jerry Falwell look like Allen Ginsberg. More:
Believing that God is a neutral force that can be manipulated either for good or evil, New Age occultists are greatly interested in learning the means by which they can achieve this. Thus at the centre of this New Age spirituality is faith in man in the all-pervasive energy or life force throughout the cosmos.Well, hardly a scandalous belief, but one that threatens the unique authority of the clergyman. And that means lost revenue. And that's what it always boils down to.
An essential part of the New Age Religion is the use of certain psycho (sic) technologies. They include the following practices: meditation, yoga, Zen, hypnosis, transpersonal psychology, and positive thinking. The growing feminism has some links with New Age spirituality.This much is true. Note how mainstream these practices are- and again note how some Evangelical churches have adopted New Age practices. Why? Because It's all about membership rolls, not doctrine.
Evangelicalism trashed the traditional liturgy which sustained Christian communities for centuries and replaced it with junk culture given a light devotional gloss. Which is why Christian youth are alienated from the Church and have no real concept of its teachings. Which is also why many serious Christians are abandoning McEvangelicalism for traditional denominations.
What is common among many New Age groups is a counterfeit religious experience such as contact with demons through drugs, meditation, psycho (sic) technologies, and other ventures.Demons are what they call other people's gods. There are people (like Sarah Palin) who think the Virgin Mary is a demon.
They also believe in UFO's and extra-terrestrial beings, from which they reputedly also receive messages.As opposed to "angels." Take your pick.
One of its most widely used signs is the rainbow, which is meant to symbolize the bridge between man and the Great Universal Mind, in the final analysis, Lucifer. Indeed, it is remarkable how frequent the sign of the rainbow has become lately. You can find it, for instance, on promotional gifts, stationeries, clothing and toys.Uh, yeah- only it's not used by the New Age anymore (this article was written in 1989). The Lucifer non-sequitur is simply ridiculous. Lucifer appears in a single line in a single Bible translation, a botched renaming of the Babylonian king Hyllel, not Satan. Lucifer is a title meaning "Morning Star" (whom Jesus identifies himself as) or the Light Bringer.
This next paragraph shows not only why Fundamentalists saw the New Age as a threat, it also proves how ridiculous the "New Age One World Government" meme is:
The Movement has no central headquarters; therefore, no leadership or membership lists are available. So we have no clear statistics that tell us how many people are followers. Some have sought to determine the number of adherents by other means , such as by finding out how many people hold to one or more of the major beliefs of the New Age.Meaning there's no centralized structure. How do you build a "one world religion" out of a movement that is by definition disorganized, diverse, fragmentary, and decentralized?
Answer? You don't.
The entire "New Age master plan" meme is complete and utter nonsense. It's like herding cats. It would be ridiculous if Fundamentalists and Dominionists weren't secretly doing what their shills accuse the poor New Agers of doing. It's Satanic, actually, in the truest sense of the word.
Marilyn Ferguson, author of The Aquarian Conspiracy, cites "a Gallup poll released in February, 1978, [which] reported that ten million Americans were engaged in some aspect of Eastern religion." New Age has much in common with Eastern religions, so the number of followers of one is likely an accurate measure of the number of followers of the other.Which aspect? Yoga? Martial arts? Feng Shui? And if you're following an Eastern religion like Buddhism, you're not following the New Age per se, are you?
Shirley MacLaine, actress, author and promoter of New Age beliefs, wrote concerning the interest in making a film of her book, Out on a Limb: "They (ABC-TV) spoke of metaphysical searching being popular now and extraterrestrials and UFOs as something the public was genuinely interested in." The network was correct in its assessment, and the miniseries Out on a Limb (aired Jan. 1987) greatly aided in further popularizing the beliefs of the New Age.Actually, I'd cite the airing of Out on a Limb as the beginning of the end for the New Age. Shirley MacLaine became a laughing stock and brought the movement down with her, aided by the Ramtha's and the TV psychics and the rest of it. It was around this time that New Age became part of the boutique and salon experience, with aromatherapy and therapeutic touch and so on.
The New Age Movement seems to be a reaction to the scientific age. During a time when everything has become so objective and particularized, the shift now is to emphasize the subjective and the whole. This shift has focused attention on the "inner" feelings and on wholistic (or holistic) health, as well as on global matters rather than nationalistic ones.Well, agree or disagree, but it's very hard to argue that any of this is evil or dangerous. In many ways it mirrors the feminizing process at work in Western society.
Douglas R. Groothuis, research associate with Probe Ministries, identifies six distinctives of New Age thinking:Oooh, scary.
All is One
All is God
Humanity is God
A change in consciousness
All religions are one
Cosmic evolutionary optimism
Again, very difficult to develop a punitive authoritarian society based on these vague, universalist principles.
Norman L. Geisler focuses on 14 doctrines typical of New Age religions:Most of these doctrines have been part and parcel of world religions since the dawn of history and seem healthy and positive to a reasonable thinking person. But again, here we see that the ostensible problems with the New Age are doctrinal and the way the Fundamentalist mind deals with doctrinal difference is to demonize heterodoxy and ultimately, resolve themselves to eliminate their opponents and their views.
1) an impersonal god (force)
2) an eternal universe
3) an illusory nature of matter
4) a cyclical nature of life
5) the necessity of reincarnations
6) the evolution of man into godhood
7) continuing revelations from beings beyond the world
8) the identity of man with God
9) the need for meditation (or other consciousness-changing techniques)
10) occult practices (astrology, mediums and so forth)
11) vegetarianism and holistic health
12) pacifism (or anti-war activities)
13) one world (global) order
14) syncretism (unity of all religions)
The libel about the New Age we still see recycled out there in Conspiracyland is the product of a deliberate campaign to eliminate a philosophy which threatened the financial well-being of the vast Fundamentalist/ Evangelical superstructure, itself a globalizing, totalitarian and violent creed.
It's the ultimate example of what Jung taught us about projection.
The globalism of the New Age was a naive reaction to the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war. One thing you can definitely blame the New Agers (there are many things, actually, but that's for another post) for is their naivete regarding this topic, which was exploited to provide cover for corporate globalism.
Incidentally, Geisler - probably the world's only Jesuit trained Calvinist- is also the creator of the "UFO-Demon" hysteria we see dribbling down some Apologists' legs.
'Creation' Witness Testifies About UFOs Sent by Satan"Now, again we cut to the meat of the Fundamentalist war against the New Age:
On December 11, 1981 Norman Geisler testified in court in Little Rock, Arkansas, about how creation should be taught in public schools and said he believes UFOs exist and are the work of Satan. The states first witness in a case filed by the ACLU that challenged a new law that says creationism and evolution should be given equal time in Arkansas schools. He believes that UFOs are, "a satanic manifestation in the world for the purpose of deception."
Generally, New Agers do not speak of a source of authority. If such is referred to, it is not an external authority but an internal one. In the New Age Movement, the individual is considered to be the standard of truth.Yes, ignore "teachings" and immerse yourself in "warnings." That will create a healthy worldview.
The human potential movement among the New Agers is based on the faulty premise that each person is god and needs only to have his consciousness enlightened so he will realize that fact. And the means to this enlightenment is meditation. But the forms of meditation are many.
Any believer who is tempted to delve into the teachings of the New Age Movement needs to heed the warnings of the Bible.
The Christian publishing industry went into overdrive in the 80s responding to the threat that the New Age movement presented to their wallets. But along with the kind of the theological thumb wrestling we saw in this article, the pitbulls were called out, nearly all of whom had very deep connections to the military and the intelligence community.
TO BE CONTINUED
UPDATE: Let me just plug William Henry's crucial interview with Michael Baigent on his book Racing Towards Armageddon, which exposes the clear and present danger that religious fundamentalism poses to every living being on Earth. Click here.