Last month, I wrote about some of the New Age beliefs or practices that sometimes suck me in. They can be really appealing. In fact, they've sucked a lot of us in. It's fairly common in our modern, Western way of thinking to include New Age beliefs. (christiantoday.com.au)
The New Age movement is a collection of beliefs and practices that are rooted in Eastern religions, earth-worship and ultimately the concept that humans are divine beings. It's this last point on which I'd like to focus.
While the idea that humans are god maybe seems too extreme, that very thought is creeping into mainstream conversation by another name. New Ageism has jumped on the human potential movement which began in the 1960s. This movement puts a user-friendly packaging on the New Age concept that humans are divine. Instead of saying "you are God" human potential adherents boast "you have unlimited potential".
Through meditation or positive thinking, a person can shape one's own reality and establish truths for one's life. Think along the lines of: if you believe it, it will happen.Human potential puts the emphasis on the individualfor the sake of reaching an enlightened awareness of themselves and their potential do to anything.
The apostle Paul cautions we will see a time when, "people will be lovers of themselves…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power." (2 Timothy 3 verses 2,4-5 NIV)
The caution for Christians, who know "all things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9 verse 23), is that we cannot solely believe in the power of our own potential, but in the power of Jesus.
Only one way.
In New Age, God is not dead. He is alive. But instead of the personal, loving God I know, this movement emphasises an impersonal, power that exists in all things (animals, plants, objects, humans). The goal is to get closer – or become one – with this power. Establishing this oneness and realizing it then becomes the way to reach ones own divinity.
Again, a warning from Paul; "for the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4 verses 3-4 NIV)
Enlightenment of one's divinity and reincarnation replaces the Christians' belief that we need to repent of our sin to be restored to our right relationship with God. Not that we are a god. I don't want to say I've sinned or have done bad things in my life any more than the next person.
Some elements of New Age practices sound nearly biblical, so as a Christian, I need discernment in this area. The nice sounding ideas could easily confuse or water-down my understanding of God the Father and His Son. I cannot compromise the gospel of Jesus. He is the only way.
Lisa Goetze is a 30-something -woman endeavouring to love Jesus and love people with reckless abandon. She's a former Canadian journalist who now calls Brisbane home. She's a full-time volunteer at Youth With A Mission.
Lisa Goetze's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/lisa-goetze.html