The Hidden Lies of the “New” Age

The spa is beautiful and inviting.  It’s a relaxing atmosphere with flickering candles and the warm scent of aromatherapy oils.  Your private treatment room is darkly lit, sweet-smelling and furnished with a comfy lounge chair, padded massage table and several low ottomans with crystals and sage scattered on them.  Everything about the place says, “Welcome.  Come in. Relax. Leave your troubles at the door. There’s good energy here.  Imagine good things and good things will come to you.” 
It used to be called the New Age Movement.  Before that it was Spiritualism, Pantheism and Gnosticism. There’s really nothing new about it, though.  But because most of our post-modern memories are very short (140 characters or less) and sometimes light on historical grounding, it all can seem new and innovative.  The Catholic Church has been unmasking these “spiritual” movements since the first century.  Simon Magus was a sorcerer practicing his tricks in Jerusalem when he was confronted and rebuked by St. Peter (Acts 8:9-24).  Over the centuries, many different strands of mysticism, “hidden” or “secret” knowledge, philosophy, and superstition have combined, devolved, and re-formed themselves under a variety of names. It’s hard to define the New Age because it has no central belief system or doctrine.  New Age beliefs recoil against doctrine and typically espouse the “truth is relative” point of view.  Followers include Edgar Cayce, Carlos Castaneda, Ram Dass, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle and…gulp..Oprah Winfrey.  It isn’t hard to know why folks look for meaning in life.
Human beings long for God because He made us for Himself.  St Augustine famously wrote “You have made us…and our hearts are restless until they rest in You” (The Confessions, Book I, Chapter I).  This spiritual seeking leads people down all sorts of paths, including what we call New Age.  But as the saying goes, “There are many paths that lead into the wilderness, but only one way that leads us home.”  For Catholics, that “one way” isn’t a path, but a Person:  Jesus Christ. In our culture today, New Age beliefs and practices have filtered into so many aspects of our daily lives that the movement as a movement has virtually disappeared from our vocabulary.  We have assimilated New Age thought to such a degree that most people, even believing and practicing Christians, would be hard-pressed to identify them.  In the spa described earlier, the setting reveals several New Age accessories including the oils and crystals.  Even the practice of massage and feng shui are often borrowed by New Age practitioners.  This isn’t to suggest that indulging in a “spa day” is inherently anti-Christian.  But it’s prudent for us to be aware of what we welcome into our lives.  Most of the following beliefs and practices are embraced by New Age adherents:

1)  Horoscopes
2)  Tarot cards or other readings by “psychics”
3)  Attempts to contact the dead
4)  Crystals thought to have healing powers
5)  Believing in karma and “luck”
6)  Reincarnation or “transmigration of souls”
7)  Believing that “good thoughts attract good things to you” which is the premise of the book and movie “The Secret” and many others like it
8)  Jesus Christ is one among many other deities, with you being a deity as well
9)  Every religion leads to the same goal
10) There is no objective truth
11) No belief can be condemned
12) No one needs forgiveness since there is no good or evil, only “illumination” and “ignorance”
13) Love is energy, not deeds or actions
14) God is a “higher state of consciousness” not a Person.  God is all and all are God.
15) “Ancient wisdom” from Egypt, Greece, Babylon and the “mother goddess” worship is valuable
16) The universe, life and matter, were not created by God, but are God.
17) It’s better to feel, than to believe.

It’s easy to see these beliefs unfolding in today’s culture.  Every belief system is valued — except Christianity.  No one is to be condemned for their beliefs or lifestyle — except for Christians.  There’s no such thing as sin or salvation.  Protecting nature and the climate is more important than upholding the dignity of human life.  “Ghosts” can enlighten us — but not the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was a “good guy” but no holier than Buddha or Confucius or anyone else, for that matter.  Right and wrong are outdated concepts.  We are all one and should support one civil government that gives everyone what they need in order to become enlightened and bring about peace.  Sound familiar?  This stuff isn’t new at all, but there is a word that the Catholic Church has used to describe it since the time of Christ:  HERESY.
“God is a feeling experience, not a believing experience.”                               

–Oprah Winfrey


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Juan R. Velez
    Mar 11, 2012 @ 21:29:48

    People seek happiness and love, but they mistake feelings for truth, and they do not know Jesus Christ, the Truth, the Way and the Life. The series “Catholicism” by Fr. Robert Barron can help many to discover Jesus Christ and the Church which He founded and guides. Modern day Heresy promises but cannot provide. As Judy notes it has become so common place that it hard to recognize.


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