The ‘New Age’ is not new at all, its principles go back many years. However there are reasons for giving it such a title. First, new age astrologers 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. Adam began one of these approximate two thousand year cycles with the Age of Taurus, the life giver. At Abraham it changed to the Age of Aries. Another 2,000 years saw Christ on earth and so began the Age of Pisces. Now we are a further 2,000 years down the road and the new age is the Age of Aquarius. As each age has had its significant factors, Aquarius is typified by serving, loving, caring and helping oneself. Not only that but this water-bearer will be pouring out the water of healing, cleansing and renewing on this earth.
There is another reason why the name New Age is very appropriate. An illustration is the hideous vase you received as a Christmas present, you did not like it and certainly would not put it on display. Next Christmas it will be passed on to someone else. The wrapping-paper however will be new and attractive but the contents will be old and unchanged. This is the New Age Movement.
When did/will it start?
There is some disagreement among New Agers about the start of this grand new age. All believe that it will come and some indeed feel that it has already begun. August 1987 was the date when New Agers were called to sacred sites all over the world. They were to gather from 4-24 August and especially from 1 – 2 p.m. BST on 17 August. The following week 18-24 August was described as the ‘First week of New Millennia’. There have been many such gatherings or Harmonic Convergence’s, as they are called, since then and many would seek to proclaim the start of the New Age. Others still believe it will start somewhere around or soon after 2000.
There is difference not only in when it will start but also how it will start. Those who gather at such Harmonic Convergence’s are looking to bring in the New Age. This will be accomplished by hundreds ‘attuning’ in to the same power and producing a shift in consciousness; thus we will see things as they really are and not the unreality of the present world.
This attunement can be explained by the philosophy behind the hundredth monkey. One monkey in a bamboo cage does not have enough power to open the bars, neither does two etc. However, when the ‘hundredth’ monkey is placed inside and together they concentrate their efforts; the bars will be prised open and all escape.
Others in the New Age Movement feel that there will be an actual ‘Messiah’ figure who will lead us into the New Age. In 1982 full-page newspaper adverts appeared in many countries, as follows;
The Christ is now here… pointing the way out of our present crisis… He comes not to judge but to aid and inspire… The World Teacher, LORD MAITREYA, known to Christians as the CHRIST. And as Christians await the Second Coming, so the Jews await the MESSIAH, the Buddhists the fifth BUDDHA, the Moslems the IMAM MAHDI, and the Hindus await KRISHNA. These are the names for one individual. His presence in the world guarantees there will be no third World war… With His help, we will build a new world.
Benjamin Creme, a disciple of the works of Blavatsky and Bailey [see details later], was behind the declaration of Christ’s return; he even said that he was living incognito in East London.
The New Age is so diverse that there are many differences as well as some working together. Some would even say that there is a world-wide conspiracy but there is insufficient evidence for this. Some look for a specific group called the New Age, but there is not one. Diversity sums up the New Age Movement, one main stream with many tributaries. Different groups with the same overall aim, some networking together, others acting individually.
The umbrella term, New Age, covers so many different aspects that it is not possible to say that everyone believes a particular doctrine. We will show that there are different tributaries and some will be affected by one stream and some another. It is therefore vital when talking to New Agers to ask them what they believe and not just accuse them of something that is not true.
Different influences on the New Age
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.
The idea of Secular Humanism can be summed up as follows,
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.
Human Potential Movement
This is largely the outworking of the humanistic influence in the New Age Movement today. Everything is to do with self and the fact that man can do it by himself. There are literally hundreds of groups that are involved in management training and self improvement courses, such as Silva Mind Control and Forum, formally EST. All such courses, to one degree or another will involve New Age thinking and methods.
The New Age Movement has been influenced from various aspects of paganism. There would be some dispute about what paganism covers, as this is an umbrella-term used to describe a wide range of practices. These include wicca, celtic paganism and shamanism.
‘Hippie’ culture with its awareness of drugs and eastern mystical experiences brought new practices into many lives. Maharishi Marhesh Yogi and the Beatles are one clear example. Whereas the generation is not with us in the same way today the philosophies they picked up are. Many now are respected men and women in all fields of commerce, education, industry, etc. They have however taken their ideas and philosophies with them into their field.
Gaia, the Greek goddess of the earth, leads us into the stream of the scientist. Former NASA scientist, Dr James Lovelock, used this name to describe his theory of the earth, leaving God out of the picture. The theory says that the earth is self-regulating. It can keep itself clean, tidy and indeed young looking. This answers the problems of a young earth that many evolutionists have struggled with, in the light of scientific dating.
This is the belief that all is one. Everything that exists is interrelated and comes from the same essence. All consists of this ‘life-force’. This immediately strikes at the heart of the evangelical Christian belief because the Bible shows that there is a clear distinction between the Creator and His creation – all is not of the same essence.
Pantheism or Panentheism
This takes the belief a step further to the conclusion that all is ‘God,’ or at least that God is in everything. Everything is an expression of God, therefore we are Gods. God is in us and therefore we have no need to invite Him in. We may not always feel ‘God’ within but that is because of the unreal world we are living in. When I have my ‘shift of consciousness’ then I will see things as they are really.
Gnosticism is the belief in a special secret knowledge that you need if you want to find ‘God’. The right ceremony or the right formula is vital and the particular group has the necessary knowledge. Today there are many books in new age circles that are Gnostic. The most common is The Gospel of Thomas supposed to contain the secret sayings of Jesus.
Syncretism is the attempt to harmonise diverse and opposite beliefs and practices. It would therefore claim that all religions, although teaching diametrically opposed views, would lead to the same God.
If you leave God out of the picture then you must leave absolute standards out too. Everything becomes relative and everyone is allowed to do what is right in their own eyes. You can pursue your goals in anyway you want providing you do not affect the ‘rights’ of others. This of course can easily lead to a situation where I want what I want so much I forget to care about others.
If enough individuals change and be for ‘the good of the whole’ then the planet will change. Every new ager is searching for the way, method, belief etc. to change their life. A hopeless quest as so often they have put to one side the only One who can accomplish such a transformation.
The Cosmic Christ
Jesus becomes a historical person divorced from the ‘Christ principle’ within. This ‘Christ principle’ dwelt equally in Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and other religious leaders. Consequently, all roads lead to God. Some believe that it was this sort of belief in the ‘Christ principle’ that John had to warn about in 1 John 2:18- 23.
The New Age is Coming
The New Age is here or about to start, providing enough people play their part. I must therefore be involved at whatever level is necessary. Depending on my view, I must either be ‘attuning’ in with others or seeking to make the place ready for the ‘Messiah’ to come. In the end both will usher in the new world order where all will be made right by man’s efforts.
Outcome of these Beliefs
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. Tragically we find this teaching even within the church. Some say that you only have to speak out and it will happen. This is unscriptural [See Matt 12:36 & Rev.3:17] and is a subtlety of Satan to get us away from the Cross of Christ.
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. [Gal.2:20].
Fuller notes are available from Reachout Trust in booklet form