5 – Irrationality and ignorance
From a Christian perspective
Irrationality and ignorance –of reality, science and human limitations – are at the base of the New Age claims.
“The Christian response is that the reason even New Agers experience life as if they were finite creatures is because they are limited and not divine beings. (…) Humanity’s main problem is sin, not ignorance of divinity. While human beings have been created in the image of God, they are not divine.”
“…overall New Age is a worldview that is very attractive to the natural man who has become disillusioned with organized religion and Western rationalism. He desires spiritual reality but doesn’t want to give up materialism, deal with his moral problems, or come under the authority of a just God.”
“It is also a philosophy full of contradictions and the rational minds have big difficulties accepting it. In its advanced stages it involves the practice of occult rituals that can be extremely dangerous –from a spiritual point of view- for the ‘non-initiated’”.
The New Age formulation is certainly smoother and more appealing than any other worldview out there. There are several reasons for this.
First the atmosphere of the New Age philosophy appears to be one of tolerance and sincerity, but closer investigation reveals otherwise. On the one hand, although any religious practice or creed is declared as acceptable for the New Age movement, on the other, the New Age rigorously opposes any attempt to contradict its views, especially from Christianity. The New Age movement claims all religions and worldviews are leading to the same results despite evidence of major differences on how to achieve these results. It says it accepts every philosophy/belief system as being equally true but vehemently rejects the idea that its own claim may not be true.
Christoph Kreitz, Cornell University, in his article ‘The New Age Movement’ said: “Its prophecy is that the new age, which is soon to come, shall bring peace and enlightenment, harmony, mutual love and acceptance. Who does not want that? Naturally, New Age followers look forward to the coming of a new leader who unites the world in love and harmony. (More on New Age Political Agenda here)
Also New Age thinking has its roots in Eastern mysticism which bypasses the mind. There is a new organ of perception—the third eye— which gives spiritual light. One needs to get to the ‘psychic self’ by training one’s self to ignore the messages from the mind. This is literally throwing the mind in neutral. The New Age thinkers say that the mind is not by-passed, but it is actually the mind that is achieving ‘cosmic consciousness’. They tell us that the mind can create reality.
Another reason why it is so appealing is related to the New Age practices which claim to explore the human potential pushing man ahead into a new spiritual horizon, closer to God and closer to being God. The New Age Movement uses a special terminology for its beliefs. Words like holistic and synergistic thinking, global unity and harmony, cosmic energy, awakening, consciousness, and human potential dominate conversations and writings. They sound esoteric and fascinating, but also hide their true religious content behind a scientific appearance. Despite the fact that some of these practices seem to be little more than innocent relaxation techniques with no religious content, only designed to reduce stress and physical tension, they are all based on certain beliefs proper to the Eastern pantheist worldview that says one or more of the following:
1. All is one -all reality is part of the whole
2. Everything is God and God is everything
3. Man is God or part of God
4. Man never dies
5. Man can create his own reality.
New Agers teach that our sensation of existing as finite creatures is an illusion. Humanity has forgotten that it is divine. As a result, people need to become enlightened about their true divinity in order to experientially become one with the All. Exercises intended to transform consciousness can help one attain this state of enlightenment. Techniques such as yoga, meditation, past-life regression, soul travel, and channeling spiritual guides are, according to New Age, able to help in this process. The New Age gospel calls for a shift in consciousness. This change of consciousness will only be achieved when you ‘stop seeing God as separate from you, and you as separate from each other’.
The Christian response is that the reason even New Agers experience life as if they were finite creatures is because they are limited and not divine beings (Ps. 100:3). The real illusion is the New Age teaching that we are divine, not the sense of finiteness that everyone experiences.
The Bible clearly teaches that man is finite and limited in his knowledge of himself and his universe. Isaiah 55:8-9 clearly indicates God’s perspective of man’s inability to achieve divinity.
The New Age movement is a counterfeit ideology that appeals to the minds of individuals leading them to think that that they are God and can enhance their lives through their own person. But if this is thought through it becomes quickly apparent that this is impossible. We are born, grow up, live a while on planet Earth and then die. Humans are finite. We can never be God.
Also humanity’s main problem is sin, not ignorance of divinity. While human beings have been created in the image of God, they are not divine (see Gen. 1:26-27).
The Bible teaches that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Rom. 3:23, NIV). The only solution to the human predicament is again God. We need someone greater than us, yet, like us, who can come and provide us forgiveness and eternal life. Only One has filled this description, the God-man, Jesus Christ. Through His death and bodily resurrection for us, He has won for us what we desperately need, forgiveness before God and life that guarantees us purpose and meaning in this life with life beyond the grave. (John chapter 3).
Christianity main claim is that if you personally ask Christ to be your Savior your life will be transformed and you will know who you are, why you are here, and where you are going. It also teaches that letting yourself be deceived and rejecting Christ has eternal consequences for the human soul.
So overall New Age is a worldview that is very attractive to the natural man who has become disillusioned with organized religion and Western rationalism. He desires spiritual reality but doesn’t want to give up materialism, deal with his moral problems, or come under the authority of a just God.
It is also a philosophy full of contradictions and the rational minds have big difficulties accepting it. In its advanced stages it involves the practice of occult rituals that can be extremely dangerous –from a spiritual point of view- for the ‘non-initiated’ (see more on New Age Occultism here).
But because it promises all the above things, its practices have made their way into almost every area of the culture – sociology, psychology, medicine, government, ecology, science, arts, business communities, media, entertainment, sports, education, and even the church. Christians and non-Christians alike have been seduced to accept practices and beliefs that are clearly based on anti-Christian doctrines.”
(Source: Christoph Kreitz, Cornell University, ‘The New Age Movement’, more here)