Chapter OnePart I:Introduction
I. What Is the New Age Movement?
The New Age movement has been called "the fastest growing alternative belief
system in the country."
A. Definition of the New Age Movement
1. The New Age movement is a loosely structured network of individuals
and organizations who share a vision of a new age of enlightenment
and harmony (the "Age of Aquarius") and who subscribe to a
2. The common worldview is based on monism (all is one), pantheism (all is God), and mysticism (the experience of oneness with the divine).
3. Because it is so broad and organizationally diffuse, the New Age
movement cannot be categorized as a cult by any accepted sociological
definition of "cult."
a. Movements are multifaceted, involving a variety of individuals and
groups whose respective practices and emphases (and even some
beliefs) may be distinctive and diverse.
b. To be a New Ager, there is no single organization one must join
and no particular creed one must confess.
B. Diversity in Unity in the New Age Movement
a. The New Age movement is made up of many different individuals
and organizations who have a wide variety of interests and are
committed to different causes.
b. Jeremy P. Tarcher, a New Age book publisher, says: "No one speaks
for the entire New Age community."
c. The New Age movement includes holistic health professionals, ecologists, political activists, educators, human potential advocates, goddess-worshipers, reincarnationists, astrologers, and
a. All these diverse individuals associate comfortably under the common
umbrella of "the New Age movement."
b. Their common vision for humankind and their common worldview
enable them to "network" together to accomplish their common
ends, despite their distinctive interests within the movement.
C. Characteristics of the New Age Movement
One of the best ways to understand the New Age movement is to examine
its primary characteristics. While not every New Ager would hold to every
characteristic below, most New Agers would hold to most of them.
a. New Agers draw from various sources of "truth."
b. They feel equally at home with the Christian Bible, Levi Dowling's
The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, the readings of the
"sleeping prophet" Edgar Cayce, and advice from Ramtha (a
35,000-year-old Lemurian warrior-king as channeled through J. Z.
2. Religious Syncretism
a. The New Age movement is syncretistic-combining and synthesizing
different and sometimes contradictory religious and philosophical
b. The New Age movement gathers the teachings of all the world religions
and syncretizes these into its mystical worldview: "We
honor the truth and beauty of all the world religions, believing
each to have a seed of God, a kernel of the spirit that unites us."
c. New Agers do not render exclusive devotion to any one teacher or
d. New Agers believe that God revealed himself in Jesus, but that he
also revealed himself in Buddha, Krishna, and a host of others.
e. The Bible can therefore make no claim to be God's only revelation
a. Monism is a theory that sees all reality as a unified whole.
b. The word itself comes from the Greek word monos ("one").
c. Everything in the universe is viewed as composed of the same substance; all is organically one. As New Ager George Trevelyan puts
it, "Life is a Divine Oneness."
d. Humanity, God, and the world of nature are likened to waves in a
single cosmic ocean.
e. Perceived differences are apparent, not real.
f. Therefore, all of reality is interrelated and interdependent.
a. Pantheism is the view that God is all and all is God.
b. The word pantheism is based on the Greek words pan ("all") and
c. Benjamin Creme explains that "everything is God. There is nothing
else in fact but God."
d. The New Age pantheistic God is an impersonal, amoral "it."
e. There is no distinction between the Creator and the creation in
5. Deification of Humanity
a. Humanity is God.
b. The belief in human divinity follows from the belief in monism and
pantheism (discussed above): if all is one (monism) and all is God
(pantheism), then we, too, are God.
c. Beverly Galyean states, "Once we begin to see that we are all God, that we all have the attributes of God, then I think the whole purpose
of life is to reown the Godlikeness within us; the perfect love, the perfect wisdom, the perfect understanding, the perfect intelligence"
6. Transformation: There are two aspects of transformation within the
New Age movement-personal transformation and planetary transformation.
a. Personal transformation, a counterpart to being "born again" in
Christianity, hinges on one's personal recognition of oneness with
God, humanity, and the universe.
(1) This recognition is described variously as "enlightenment,"
"attunement," "self-realization," "God-realization," and "self-actualization."
(2) We need such enlightenment because we have "bought the
lie" (or succumbed to the illusion) of human limitation and
finitude. We have forgotten our true divine identity.
(3) Only by a transformation of consciousness can we escape this
lie and realize our true potential.
b. Planetary transformation is brought about as a "critical mass" of
personally transformed individuals takes socio-political responsibility
for the world of humankind.
a. Definition: The means of loosely coordinating New Agers' efforts.
(1) Though New Agers are diverse-having a wide variety of interests
and commitment to different causes (such as health, psychology, politics, science, and education)-they unite to
accomplish common goals.
(2) New Agers "all have their own turf and agendas, yet they co-operate
in the network because they also have some common
values and visions."
b. Media and networking
(1) New Ager Marilyn Ferguson says networking takes place
through "conferences, phone calls, air travel, books, phantom
organizations, papers, pamphleteering, photocopying, lectures, workshops, parties, grapevines, mutual friends, summit
meetings, coalitions, tapes, [and] newsletters."
(2) Modern telecommunications via computers is also key to the
c. Politics and networking
(1) New Agers believe one of the most effective ways of flexing political
muscle is through networking.
(2) As Ferguson states, networking "generates power enough to remake
society. It offers the individual emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and economic support. It is . a powerful means of altering
the course of institutions, especially government."
8. Ecological Orientation
a. Since all is one (monism), it follows that human beings are intimately
interrelated with the world of nature.
(1) We must care for nature.
(2) To damage nature is ultimately to damage ourselves.
b. Many New Agers view the earth as a living organism. Because the
earth is a living organism, it must be treated as such and cared for
c. New Age activists interested in ecology have joined together to
form a powerful worldwide political movement known as "the
9. Belief in a Coming Utopia
a. New Agers believe there is a new world coming which involves one-world
government, global socialism, and a New Age religion.
(1) Ken Carey, author of several New Age handbooks, envisions
A.D. 2000 as a kind of psychic watershed, beyond which lies "a
realizable utopian society."
(2) David Spangler says that the Mayan and Aztec civilizations believed
that a "cycle of dark ages" would end before A.D. 2000; following this, a New Age of harmony and wholeness will
10. Not a Conspiracy
a. New Agers are not following the lead of an individual or group in
the unfolding of some sinister New Age master plan.
b. Though New Agers share a common worldview and vision for the
future, there is no conspiracy on a human level-even though
New Agers do "network" to attain common goals.
c. Despite their common worldview, New Agers have distinct individual
beliefs, interests, agendas, and strategies.
d. Still, we might say there is a conspiracy on a spiritual level-that
is, the powers of darkness (demons) are working in the New Age
movement to draw human beings away from Christ and the truth
of Christianity. But in this sense of the word, all belief systems antithetical
to Christianity (including some antithetical to the New
Age movement as well) are part of Satan's conspiracy.
D. New Age Spirituality
a. New Age spirituality is a hybrid spirituality, drawing from many
b. New Age spirituality includes Eastern meditation, altered states of
consciousness, reincarnation, and spiritism (channeling).
2. Life- and World-Affirming.
a. New Agers value other people, worldly pleasures and amusements, culture, and the entire universe.
b. This affirmation is in contrast to classic Hinduism, which is self- and
(1) While many New Age ideas about God, humanity, salvation, and the world are rooted in Hinduism, New Age spirituality de-parts
from Hinduism in its world-affirming emphasis.
(2) In Hinduism the spiritual and earthly realms are viewed as
being in conflict, hence earthly things must be renounced.
3. Involves a Revival of Paganism (Neopaganism)
a. Neopagans reject such allegedly Western distinctives as:
(1) Organized religion
(2) Male-dominated society
(3) Patriarchal, male-exalting religion (evidenced by such phrases
as "God the Father")
(4) Abuse of nature
b. Neopagans share the feminist perspective which seeks to reharmonize
people with "the One," which is called "the Goddess."
(1) Goddess worshipers equate the Goddess with the world, which
is manifest in us.
(2) Goddess worshipers often speak of kindling the "goddess
within" (that is, inner divinity).
(3) Humanity's inner divinity is one of the primary doctrines of
New Age theology (see Part II below).
II. Pervasiveness of the New Age Movement
A. The Impact of the New Age Movement on Health Care
1. Holistic Health
a. Marilyn Ferguson notes that "patients and professionals alike are
beginning to see beyond symptoms to the context of illness: stress, society, family, diet, season, emotions." This has given rise to
"holistic" health care.
b. The word holistic, when applied to health care, refers to an approach
"that respects the interaction of mind, body, and environment."
Indeed, holistic health focuses on the whole person and
his or her surroundings.
c. New Agers typically criticize Western medicine as being reductionistic in its approach.
(1) As Fritjof Capra puts it, "by concentrating on smaller and
smaller fragments of the body, modern medicine often loses
sight of the patient as a human being, and by reducing health
to mechanical functioning, it is no longer able to deal with the
phenomenon of healing."
(2) New Agers see reductionistic medicine as disease-centered, not person-centered, treating only the parts of the body that
are ailing (the heart, for example).
d. Holistic health is multidimensional.
(1) A holistic approach to health is a "multidimensional phenomenon
involving interdependent physical, psychological, and
(2) The holistic approach seeks to treat the whole person-body, mind, and spirit-and also considers the social aspects of the
patient's life as a factor to health.
(3) Holistic health claims to be person-centered, not disease-centered.
2. The New Age Concept of Energy and Holistic Health
a. The New Age model of holistic health is based primarily on its
conception of energy, not matter.
b. The editors of the New Age Journal report: "All of the healing systems
that can be called 'holistic' share a common belief in the
universe as a unified field of energy that produces all form and substance
This vital force, which supoorts and sustains life, has
been given many names. The Chinese call it 'chi'i,' the Hindus call
it 'prana,' the Hebrews call it 'ruach,' and the American Indians
name it 'the Great Spirit.'