I want to be able to explain the mysteries of our human existence. I want to understand why things happen, how to live healthy and wealthy, and if possible live happily too. Who wouldn't want the ability to create the life they want.
What is New Age?
New Age is defined in Oxford Dictionary as "a broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture, with an interest in spirituality, mysticism, holism and environmentalism."
It's really a buffet of options, taking beliefs and practices from Eastern religions and other mystical ideas. New Age is essentially a pick-and-choose approach to what you want to believe. That sounds pretty easy. I can believe whatever I choose to believe.
And like Eve, who chose to eat of a tree that would make her as knowledgeable as God, much of New Age centres around the principle that we too are all divine. I like the sounds of that. I am a god. I just need to figure out how to get there. And New Age practices from meditation to spirit guides to crystals offer a guide to do just that.
The trend, it seems, is to exhaust all possibilities before ever considering that one God may exist. New Agers believe humans are divine, so a single, seemingly rigid and rule-giving god doesn't seem all that appealing.
Let me clarify. I love Jesus. I follow Jesus. I am a Christian, saved and continually sanctified by my relationship with Christ. But that doesn't mean there isn't a tug, or pull every now and then from something that could blur the lines of my faith.
For me, the appeal of New Age comes in the form of holistic living. In previous articles, I've written about my struggle with healthy vs. emotional eating as well as my tendency to allow materialism and status to guide my choices.
I get easily drawn into blogs, magazine articles or self-help books that lay out the best way to bring our mind, body and soul under control and into a sense of peace with one another.
But, what I'm finding is that much of the answers lie in doing it ourselves. I do agree that we have the power to choose. We decide whether to cook up the latest grain-free/dairy-free/sugar-free/organic food, or whether to exercise, or meditate, or channel our negative thoughts into positive mantras. But, don't these in the end just become a method of rule-keeping, the same way many non-Christians view the legalism of the church?
What road leads to God?
New Age would guide me to believe that I'm distant from the divine, not because of sin, but because I somehow lack a complete understanding of my own divinity. I don't like calling myself a sinner anymore than the next person. But me, a god?
I'll spend some more time looking at this idea, and some other nearly biblical sounding New Age concepts next time.
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