New Age Spirituality Invades our Culture
In the past thirty years, a false spirituality has swept through this country, deceiving many and infecting millions of souls. It has contaminated television shows, high-grossing movies, bestselling books, popular personnel-training programs, and some non-traditional medical practices. It has destroyed or damaged the faith of many people.
It is called New Age spirituality and it would have us looking inside ourselves to find a Higher Self or True Self, to discover our divinity or “god”-power. It is the belief that “god” is deep within each one of us.(This is not in reference to the Holy Spirit)
To connect with this “god within” New Agers use mantras (repetitious words or phrases) or yoga to empty the mind in order to reach altered states of consciousness or pure consciousness, whereby to discover their own divinity.
Their beliefs are based on three major heresies. The first one is Monism, the belief that “all is one”. The second is Pantheism, the belief that “everything is god”. It identifies God as being the same as the universe or the same as nature. The third heresy is Gnosticism, the belief that salvation comes through secret knowledge. This knowledge is accessed through various techniques that come from a variety of sources. Some of these practices come from the occult, and others come from the Eastern religions. Examples of these practices are guided imagery, visualization, energy work, transcendental meditation, the use of crystals, sound and color healing, channeling, séances, psychic readings, astrology, polarity massage, dream work, outof –body experiences, Reiki healing, Silva Mind Control, yoga, and Tarot card reading. Some of them practice wicca (witchcraft) which is the worship of Mother Earth or nature.
Other techniques and practices would be A Course in Miracles, the utilization of mediums and fortune tellers, spirit guides, ascended masters or avatars. Spirit guides are often described as angels. (Ascended masters or avatars are thought to be highly enlightened
Most New Age beliefs come from Hinduism. However, New Age comes from three main streams of thought: Eastern Oriental Mysticism, Western Occultism, and the Human Potential Movement. It is very syncretistic and borrows from other belief systems as well. Fr. Mitch Pacwa give this definition: “NAM (the New Age Movement) is highly eclectic; borrowing ideas and practices from many sources. Meditation techniques from Hinduism, Zen, Sufism, and Native American religion are mixed with humanistic psychology, Western occultism, and modern physics.” (Catholics and the New Age by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, p. l4)
Although the NAM mixes beliefs, there is a common thread that runs through them all. They all tap into the universal energy force or the power within themselves. Common terms used are “altered levels of consciousness” and the channeling of power or “energy”. They believe they can manipulate this “energy” for healing. They believe in energy centers called chakras, a belief that originates from Hinduism.
Unfortunately, some of these concepts have made their way into Christian Churches, and Catholic circles as well, especially in retreat centers or parish programs. How could this be when they are in direct opposition to what the Bible teaches as well as basic Christian teaching? The answer is that when truth is mixed with error in a subtle way, many Christians do not recognize the error. Also, the average Christian is not knowledgeable on the subject of Hinduism, the occult, or witchcraft. So when the shiny apple is presented, it looks quite appealing and it seems harmless just like it did in the Garden of Eden. In fact, the three lies of the NAM are the same as the three lies in the Garden of Eden: you will be like God; you will not die (reincarnation); you will have wisdom and knowledge.
The Pope has warned Catholics about the spiritual dangers of the New Age in the Vatican document, Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age. This document identifies many of its practices. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in Paragraph 2ll2 and 2ll3, it warns us about idolatry or divinizing what it not God. Therefore, to consider ourselves to be a manifestation of God or a god, as New Agers do, is idolatry. Paragraph 2ll6 condemns divination, which is consulting horoscopes, astrology, fortune-telling, etc. Paragraph 2ll7 condemns all practices of magic or sorcery, by which a person attempts to tame occult powers. These practices are also condemned in Deut. 18. and is considered to be very grave sin.is considered to be very grave sin.