We are glad you have dropped by and we hope you will find these pages interesting. First, we want you to be aware that we are not haters of those involved with the those involved with the New Ages, indeed it is the opposite. We do not agree with everything that is taught but we respect that if you accept this view, you do. However, surely it is good to check up on things in a caring atmosphere? We hope you agree and will look through these next few pages.
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The ‘New Age’ is not new at all, its principles go back many years. Many believe we are in a 26,000-year cycle and approximately every 2,000 years [it is probably nearer 2,100] a new constellation comes into the ascendancy. Today we are under the influence of the Age of Aquarius.
There is some disagreement about when it actually started (if indeed it has) and how it started. But this should not be a surprise because the New Age is so diverse; with many different strands all working towards the same end. There are different tributaries and some will be affected by one stream and some another. Are any of these streams compatible with Evangelical Christianity and do they lead us to the safety and security of the God of Scripture?
Theosophy, meaning Divine Wisdom, is a mixture of Hindu, Buddhist and Christian ideas. It was founded by a Russian Countess by the name of Madame Helena Ptrovna Blavatsky in 1875. This has deeply affected the modern roots of the New Age Movement with its heavily occultic influence. Theosophy aims to obtain ‘knowledge of the nature and attributes of the Supreme Power, and of higher spirits by the aid of physical processes.’ It teaches that all roads lead to God and is heavily into reincarnation and spiritualistic in the way it receives messages. Blavatsky’s best known work is probably The Secret Doctrine first published in October 1888.
Alice Bailey, a successor to Blavatsky, is for many the high priestess of the New Age Movement. She founded the Lucifer Publishing Co. today as Lucis Publishing or Lucis Press. Through a Tibetan spirit guide Bailey channelled over 20 books. Revealed and developed from 1875 onwards was ‘The Plan’. There needed however to be a 100-year silence and so it would be brought into effect in 1975 and have its culmination around 2025.
“Man is the expression of cosmic process and needs to understand himself, i.e. cosmic in order to guide events” – Julian Huxley, Religion Without Revelation, 1959.
The following beliefs of the New Age Movement are at odds with the evangelical Christian understanding of Scripture. We would therefore conclude that they do not lead to a relationship with the living God of the Bible but with some lesser, and maybe dangerous, supernatural power.
Jesus Christ is not unique.
I do not need salvation in a God outside me because I am God or I contain God already.
I need to release the ‘god-force’ within me.
Whatever way seems good to me to achieve this I must follow. I must not criticise the path other’s take nor do I expect criticism about the way I go. Whatever seems good and expedient to me to reach my experience of ‘awareness’ is permissible.
Needing spiritual answers New Ager’s look inside themselves. Many techniques, for example, Yoga and TM are designed to enable them to release the force within. New Agers can be master of your own destiny.
I must be the one to achieve my spirituality and therefore I become selfish in my outlook.
The New Age Movement and evangelical Christianity are poles apart. The New Age Movement says you can do it, think positively and you’ll get it. God says you can never do it by yourself give up and let Me do it in you. Consider yourself dead and let Me live within you.
Karma – literally means, ‘deeds or work.’ What we say, what we do and even what we think all records as a rating of good or evil. This accumulation will determine the sort of life we will have in our next reincarnation.
Reincarnation – literally means, ‘to come again in the flesh.’ Our being or part of our being at death passes on into another body and another life.
It is usually believed that reincarnation came from the East and this is predominately true, however there have been a number of influences from the West too. This has resulted in a number of slightly different types of reincarnation. However with all of the differences there are some clear similarities that must be borne in mind when looking at reincarnation. These are well summed up by Dr. Norman L. Geisler
“Goal of perfection
Gradual evolutionary progression
Doctrine of ‘second chance’
Doctrine of Karma
Survival of self
Multiple perishable bodies
Multiple worlds or realms.” – The Reincarnation Sensation, Norman L. Geisler &J. Yutaha Amorer, pp.35/36
Belief in the concept of reincarnation is increasing. In the West, the belief is usually a very respectable one without the possibility of to eat insects or animals is to run the risk of eating someone who has been reborn into an insect or animal body as his Karma.
On the surface it appears a comfortable belief because it gives the opportunity of a second chance and of a ‘heavenly’ destination sometime within the next 1,000 lifetimes! Many also believe that modern therapy techniques, such as hypnosis, have ‘proved’ the reality of reincarnation. But, even a number who believe it is true, agree this is no proof.
The fact remains that reincarnation has become a comfortable belief because it does not cause any disturbing thoughts about heaven or hell and how to ensure eternal life. It may not, however, be as comforting if the facts are worked out carefully. At the end of Life 1 you will have committed more bad than good. The accounts will not balance and you will not be able to be released from the body into your ‘eternal inheritance.’ You have what could be called your karmic debt. At some time later you start Life 2 with your original karmic debt. Try as you might you still do more bad than good and so what happens at the end of Life 2 – you have a bigger karmic debt. Reincarnation is not an easy payment plan it is a hard taskmaster. You will never be able to balance the accounts no matter how many lives you lead. There is no hope just an endless round of lives going nowhere.
Reincarnation v. Bible
Although many will try to harmonise reincarnation and the evangelical Christian understanding of the Bible, in the end, we believe it is impossible. Our reasons include
We have already mentioned the fact that reincarnation does away with eternal punishment. However the Bible clearly teaches that although God wishes none to perish some will refuse the saving grace he offers. [2 Peter 39; Revelation 2013-15]
The Bible shows that the only hope of salvation is to trust in the finished and completed work of Jesus Christ. Reincarnation feels it must add to this several hundred or thousand lifetimes full of striving.
The Bible states that there is one life, one death and then we stand before the judgement seat of Christ. Reincarnation talks about multiple lives and deaths and no once and for all judgement. [Hebrews 927]
The Bible teaches the marvellous doctrine of justification – God pronouncing us righteous and treating us accordingly. Reincarnation gives no hope of justification, we will never be in such an intimate relationship with the living God. [Romans 51]
One of the key themes of scripture is the peace of knowing our sins forgiven. Reincarnation only ever offers the potential of counteracting the negative Karma with the positive Karma. Sin is never actually dealt with and so there can be no dealing with the guilt of the past. [1 John 18-9]
Grace similarly is neglected by reincarnation. God would never ‘lower’ himself to pick us up and give us that which we do not deserve. We only receive what we ‘deserve.’ The Bible however spells out the abundant grace of God again and again. [2 Corinthians 89]
The following are the most commonly used verses from the Bible that will be used to prove that it teaches reincarnation.
Job 120-21 – Job was not talking about entering his mother’s womb again and being born a second time in another life.
Jeremiah 14,5 – this verse simply means that God knew Jeremiah after conception while he was in the womb. In other words prenatal but not pre-existent.
Matthew 1711-13 – John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah. On the surface this may seem a logical argument but there are a number of problems to it as pointed out by the following
The first logical problem… is that it was impossible for John the Baptist (or anyone else) to be Elijah reincarnated, for Elijah never did “disincarnate” in the first place. The fact of the matter is that Elijah could never reincarnate because he never died… A second logical problem… The reincarnationist is hard pressed to explain how Elijah could have appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration if he, beforehand, had already reincarnated into John the Baptist… Several relevant texts pose problems… John the Baptist explicitly denied being Elijah… – Does the Bible Teach Reincarnation, Richard G Howe.
John 33 – Nicodemus’ answer to Jesus shows that this is not referring to being born again physically. How could he enter his mother’s womb again? The word literally means born ‘from above’ and this is shown when Jesus talks about being born of the Spirit.
John 858 – Jesus claimed to have existed before Abraham. The teaching of Scripture is that Jesus always existed, He was eternal. He was therefore before Abraham and has always been in existence since then. He did not live before Abraham, die, and then come back as someone else later.
John 91-3 – the disciples asked if it was this man’s sin that had caused him to be born blind. Hence reincarnationists say Jesus was referring to a previous life. Nothing here can be used to ‘prove’ reincarnation. There is life before birth, in the womb and as the disciples asked if it was the parents or the man it is the more logically the meaning to draw from the text.
1 Corinthians 1535-55 – the context is very clear, Paul is talking about resurrection not reincarnation.
Galatians 67 – if we reap what we sow this must mean that there is karma and reincarnation. However if you read the context of these verses Paul is clearly talking about one life, one death, and one reward. There is no hint of another life to live to pay of the debts of this life.
Hebrews 73 – Jesus in his priesthood resembled Melchizedek, He was not the reincarnation of the person of Melchizedek.
James 36 – ‘the course of our life,’ can be translated ‘wheel of beginnings’ and as such reincarnationists say it shows the Bible teaches the subject. However the context is about the power of the tongue and what it can begin not that a man will come back and have a new beginning.
What is it?
Transcendental Meditation comes in many guises indeed it is often disguised so as to be unrecognised for what it is really. The official version goes like this
TM is Transcendental Meditation – a technique for deep relaxation and revitalisation. It allows your mind and body to gain a unique state of very deep rest with calm alertness. This allows you to recharge your batteries and dissolve deeply rooted stress, tension, and fatigue from the whole system. This in turn, leaves you feeling calm, clear in mind, and yet with renewed vigour – ready to face the demands of pressures of daily life. TM is easy to learn and practise. Anyone can do it. You don’t have to be able to concentrate. You don’t even have to be able to relax. You just practice for 20 minutes twice a day sitting comfortably at home with eyes closed. TM is practical and enjoyable. It is not a religion, philosophy, or way of life. No beliefs are involved at all. You don’t have to give anything up. Over 4 million people have learned TM world-wide including 150,000 in Britain. – TM News & Views, West Midlands Area.
This may seem straight forward but it is a lie. TM is, as we shall see, many things that the above definition says it is not. Especially to be noted is the literally bold statement that it is not a religion, however as I believe we shall see TM is basically Hinduism.
The Man Behind Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental Meditation first hit the headlines in the swiftly changing, heady atmosphere of the 1960’s, when the cult leader, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, toured the USA. Born in India, Mahesh Prasad Warma, he became a disciple of Swami Brahmanada Saraswati better known by the name Guru Dev. Under Guru Dev, Maharishi learnt many techniques that he was to employ in TM. Thousands flocked to enrol in the new technique of TM. They ranged from people with a university education, armed forces, students and even theological students, all swarming to be a part of the new wave of thinking. They all felt the need for change, for a new spirituality. TM seemed to offer this, although it was primarily billed as scientific.
Maharishi is stated to be the founder of the following, the Science of Creative Intelligence [the missing link between science and religious experience], the Technology of the Unified Field, Maharishi European Research University, Switzerland and Germany, Maharishi University of Natural Law, England, Maharishi International University, USA, Maharishi Academy of Vedic Science, India, and the World Government of the Age of Enlightenment.
Maharishi presented TM as a scientific answer to today’s problems of race hatred, violence, drug abuse and anxiety. However, investigating scientists have found each claim to be false or at best exaggerated. It was, for instance, noticed that certain mechanical machines, used to lower blood-pressure, did the same work as TM. More pertinently, surely the reality of evangelical Christian holiness and prayer is far superior to any ‘method’?
Peter Fenwick, a British neuro-physiologist, had this to say about TM & scientific proof.
All these studies need to be looked upon with reservations. Few include adequate control groups and none that I am aware of have yet used a blind control procedure where neither subject nor observer is aware of the treatment given or aims of the experiment. Until this sort of study is carried out in meditating groups it is almost impossible to draw conclusions.– London Times, 17 May, 1974
Today TM is often used in psychiatric settings and often you read reports of the technique helping aids victims. Also, in the medical field is the Maharishi AyurVed Health Centre. Ayu means life and Veda science or knowledge. This stems from eastern holistic medicine and can include among other treatments, pulse diagnosis, particular herbs to loosen the impurities from the tissues of the body, massage with oils, and of course the techniques of TM.
There are many other tentacles to TM apart from the straight meditation courses although everything leads to that technique in the end. We have already mentioned schools and medicine. To this we can add business management and politics. Maharishi Corporate Development International is reported to have developed a programme that leads to improved employee health, reduced absenteeism and lower health care costs. TM has been involved in politics for several years now.
The political scene in Britain was both amused and bemused by the latest movement of TM, The Natural Law Party. The group caught the headlines when it was revealed that all the members of the party were practitioners of ‘yogic flying’. Spending more than a quarter of a million pounds on newspaper advertisements alone the party contested almost every seat in the 1992 General Election. Although they only scored more than 1 per cent of the vote in a handful of seats; they brought the message of TM into every living room and through every letterbox of the country.
The showpiece of TM in Britain is their centre in the Ideal Village project, Skelmersdale, a 1960’s new town just eight miles Northeast of Liverpool. The ‘Golden Dome’ costing approximately £400,000, was inaugurated on 19 March 1988. Ken Hind, Labour MP for the region, is reported to have said at the inauguration ceremony
I have watched with admiration the TM movement in Skelmersdale grow on a day to day basis. They came to a community which was very much in retreat, but which is now booming. Even Council press releases on the revival of the Skelmersdale area actually contained TM literature at one time.
Those who attend TM sessions usually believe they are to be treated for anxiety or stress or whatever has brought them to the class. This could be any one of TM’s claims such as, making better work relations, or reducing fears, etc. However this is not necessarily what will happen. The Maharishi tells instructors that people are, too ignorant to understand Hinduism; they must be helped, by deceit!
Those who enrol in a TM course will normally begin by undertaking a series of preliminary orientation sessions. After these comes the initiation ceremony that contains the Puja, a hymn of praise and worship to various Hindu deities. The Puja is intoned in Sanskrit, the sacred language of Hinduism and involves one giving allegiance to Hindu gods and not to the Lord Jesus Christ. However those being initiated are not just spectators but must bring flowers, fruits and a handkerchief, that are placed facing a picture of the Maharishi’s own dead guru.
As can be seen the newcomer is invited to make an offering and to bow down and recognise these Hindu deities, as ‘God’. You can imagine the conflict that this can cause when evangelical Christians and those with a nominal belief go through the ceremony.
Following the Puja, the new member is given a ‘mantra’, a word that is to be repeated over and over, day after day. There are a total of 16 mantras and you receive the one for the age group you are in. All these mantras have been used to symbolise specific Hindu deities.
A mantra is not a mere formula or a magic spell or a prayer; it is an embodiment in sound of a particular deity. It is the deity itself. And so, when a mantra is repeated a hundred times, or a thousand times, or even more, and the worshiper makes an effort to identify himself with the worshipped, the power of the deity comes to his help. Human power is thus supplemented by divine power. – The Religion of the Hindus, edited by K.Morgan, p.24.
Gradually, the initiate will come under the control of both his instructor and his own mantra. There comes a time too when the constant repetition of his mantra produces a numbness of mind; he will not be even aware that he is praying to the gods.
Following this, his mind will empty of all thought, which leads towards the ‘merging of self’ with the so called ‘absolute deity’, Brahma. Eventually, adherents to TM lose their personality and some even lose touch with reality. It has also been known for some to end up with mental disorders and for others to end up in practices such as levitation.
The Maharishi sees no place in the world for a non-Hindu. He claims that man is divine and so he cannot sin. His only ‘sin’ he says, is that he does not recognise his own divinity.
We see then, that TM is not to be fooled with or toyed with. It cannot, in any form, be ‘mixed’ with Christianity. Tragically though there are several churches, in many parts of Britain, which regularly hold TM sessions under the title of ‘Christian.’ It is not. TM is Hindu and leads to the ‘impersonal force god’ of Hinduism not the true God of Scripture as seen by evangelical Christians. TM is designed to draw you into a different religion and a different ‘god.’
Is yoga compatible with evangelical Christianity?
We are not asking if those who practice Yoga are nice people; nor are we asking if they are genuine; nor even if Yoga works. We are asking, what are the roots of Yoga and are they compatible with evangelical Christianity?
There are many varieties of Yoga, which date back to the origin of the practice hundreds of years ago. However, much of what we experience in Britain has been ‘westernised’ or ‘christianised’ to make it more palatable. What we see and experience today are the ‘branches’ but surely they cannot be removed from the roots? The power of Yoga comes from its roots and just what are they?
What are the roots of Yoga?
Yoga is the path to enlightenment in Hinduism. Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj meaning ‘to unite’, and therefore it means “union with God.” The meaning of the word shows the goal of Yoga and this is borne out in several ways.
Swami Vishnidevanda, an expert in Yoga and author of the book ‘The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga’ is quoted as saying
The aim of all Yoga practice is to achieve truth wherein the individual soul identifies with the supreme soul of God.
There are four main types of Yoga, four different main pathways to the same goal.
Bhakti Yoga – the way of devotion. First, this will include seeking to detach yourself from material things that are only illusion (Maya). Second, you must positively devote yourself to a guru or godman being the personal form of the impersonal god.
Karma Yoga – the way of service. This will include pilgrimages, good works etc. The karma yogi will go about his everyday life with no aim or expectation of self-gratification. In this detached state his actions are no longer his own and therefore karma – the result of ones own actions – no longer affects him.
Jnana Yoga – the way of knowledge. This leads the yogi into a life of concentration and learning of the Hindu scriptures.
Raja Yoga – the way of contemplation. This is called the royal way and is the way of deep meditation.
The main form of Yoga in the west is Hatha Yoga, a division of Raja Yoga. But is Hatha Yoga just about keep fit exercises, breathing etc? Let us see what Hatha Yoga aims to do and check to see if it is compatible with Scripture.
Yoga brings us into union with an impersonal force god
The god of Hinduism by definition is an impersonal force and so immediately we are at odds with the personal Creator God that evangelical Christians see within the Bible.
Most Yogis will not throw the Bible away completely but will redefine it.
Today we hear phrases such as the source within or the ‘k’i that leads us back to our impersonal force god. ‘Ki’ in Taoism is the combination of two opposites, for instance, light and dark, and as this concept clearly runs throughout all Yoga, it is incompatible with evangelical Christianity.
Yoga works on the basis that man is basically good
Tony Quinn, who is supposed to have introduced Yoga to Ireland, speaks of the inner core that is perfect. This inner power, which is latent, we are seeking to release. But what does the Bible say about the inner core of man?
You only have to read verses such as Romans 310 and 23 or 718, to see that again Yoga is incompatible with evangelical Christianity.
Yoga is the way to come to oneness with god (salvation)
Despite many attempts to show otherwise, nowhere in the Bible do we find Yoga mentioned as a means of Salvation or of coming to know God. What then of those who have had supernatural experiences have they not met with ‘god’?
There are two supernatural forces, one being the counterfeit, and we need to check carefully to see where the power we experience comes from. Would God give power to something that is clearly against the teaching He has given? We must answer this logically and not emotionally.
Words such as ‘praying’ may be used in a Yoga class, but what does that mean? Are you really praying to God? Look at John 146, 316 and 2 Corinthians 113-4, 13-15 among many other verses to see that on this point Yoga again is incompatible with evangelical Christianity.
Yoga is all about self-realisation
The aim of Yoga is to bring the inner ‘self’ to the front, to make it stronger and exert itself. However the Biblical picture is the opposite. Many who have been involved with Yoga in the past testify to this area of self as very strong.
Matthew 1624-26 and Galatians 220 show Yoga as again being incompatible with evangelical Christianity because of its emphasis on self.
Yoga encourages worship of the Guru – god-man
In some forms of Yoga today this is still clear. The one man is above all the rest, he has finished his cycle of reincarnations and is now ‘god’. Many Gurus claim to be god and many followers are seeking to be like god. They want to release the power within that will give them control over their life.
We may feel that we are able to end up with some control over our lives now but we have no control over our future life. Are there really many gods and can we be in control of our own destiny?
Evangelical Christians see within the Bible that there is One God and we can never be gods. The One personal creator God of Scripture, alone has the power to decide on life and death issues, see Hebrews 927 and Matthew 1028
The conclusion that we must come to is overwhelmingly that Yoga and evangelical Christianity are incompatible. At very best in Yoga you are basing your hope on man’s ideas that can never deliver in fullness what is promised. At worse you have tapped into a power that is not from the one true God as described above.