God and the New Age Movement
How do New Age teachings compare with Christian truths?
The New Age movement is full of deceptions. Many of its teachings sound good, and some even speak of God and Jesus, but the truth gets twisted. People are tricked into believing lies that lead them away from God, away from His Lordship. That’s why God warns us to test everything rather than believing blindly (1 Thes. 5:21,22). Does it lead us closer to Jesus Christ or away from Him? Does it contradict the Gospel of salvation or does it help us to live holier lives?
Notice how New Age teachings differ from the truth on the following topics:
WHO IS GOD?
New Age: God is a transcendent, impersonal force, neither good nor evil. He (or She or It) is a Cosmic Consciousness of which we are all a part. By extension, that means even perverse acts are sacraments; anything is permissible. It also means we’re all divine.
Christianity: God alone is divine. He is perfect goodness and love. He is not only transcendent, but He is also personally involved in our lives because He cares about each of us. He knows our thoughts. He wants good things to happen to us. The more we get to know Him and live the way He tells us to, the more we will experience His love and power in our lives.
Scripture text: The Father sent his Son as Saviour of the world. Anyone who acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God (1 John 4:14, 15 NJB).
WHO IS JESUS?
New Age: Jesus was one of many enlightened masters who achieved a high level of spirituality. He can help us find our own divinity. Some believe He was a spirit-being from outer space.
Christianity: Jesus is God’s only divine Son. He is both man and God. He sacrificed Himself for us, then rose from the dead. We receive His divinity when we’re baptized and make Him our Lord.
Scripture text: We ourselves have seen and testify that the Father sent His Son as Savior of the world. Anyone who acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God. (1 John 4:14,15)
WHAT IS CREATION?
New Age: All is one; everything is interrelated, including the cosmos, the spirit world, humanity, God, and nature. All the world’s problems result from not recognizing this unity.
Christianity: God created diversity. God is not one with His creation, but superior to it. We are not one with nature; He made us masters over it. Problems result from disobeying God and failing to turn to Him for help in a world that is infiltrated by Satan and his minions.
Scripture text: In the beginning God created heaven and earth…God created man…. God blessed them saying…”Be masters of…all the living creatures.” (Genesis 1:1,27,28)
WHO ARE WE?
New Age: We are immortal. If we discover The Christ (the divine) within us, we can heal ourselves and use other supernatural powers.
Christianity: If we were God, we’d be omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, but we’re not. He made us in His image; therefore we reflect His goodness and love. However, because we sin, we separate ourselves from God and reflect evil. This separation robs us of the spiritual gifts God intends to share with us, including supreme love now and a joy-filled eternal life in heaven later.
Scripture text: All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
WHAT IS SALVATION?
New Age: Salvation is finding your higher or divine self. There is life after death for all, with no eternal punishment for the wicked. Reincarnation is one way people reach perfection.
Christianity: Since we’re sinners, we cannot save ourselves from death. However, if we trust in Jesus, who took our sins to the cross, and repent from sinful ways, we will receive forgiveness. Then we benefit from His supernatural power and receive eternal joy in heaven.
Scripture text: Only in Him is there salvation; for of all the names in the world…this is the only one by which we can be saved. (Acts 4:11,12)
New Age: Crystals harmonize mental, physical and spiritual energies. Colors can heal. Charms ward off evil. Spirits or beings from other dimensions or other planets work miracles and predict the future. Pyramids collect power. Magic is within your mind.
Christianity: New Age powers are counterfeits of God’s greater gifts, and they ultimately lead us away from Him. Crystals are simply beautiful rocks created by God. Charms are worthless; if they have any power, it comes from demons. We need not fear evil if Jesus is our Lord, for He has overcome the power of Satan. The only supernatural source that benefits us completely and lastingly, and that helps us spiritually, emotionally and physically, is the power of Jesus, who said:
Scripture text: “In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do.” (John 14:12)
WILL THERE BE A NEW WORLD?
New Age: The world is in bad shape and will soon be saved by a new, universal religion where everything is one. Some say this will happen because we will evolve into higher consciousness. Others say “space brothers” from another planet will rescue the world.
Christianity: Jesus will come a second time, judge the world and destroy all evil. He will then usher in a new world, which is far better than the one that New Agers expect. We cannot predict when this will occur, because only Our Father knows the time.
Scripture text: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth…. He will wipe away all tears…there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness or pain. (Revelation 21:1-4)
A Church document on this topic was published on Feb. 3, 2003, entitled Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the ‘New Age. Promulgated by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, it lists the fundamental differences between New Age and Christianity.
Here are a few excerpts from this 90-page document.
The New Age Movement “is not, properly speaking, a religion, but it is interested in what is called ‘divine.'”
“The essence of New Age is the loose association of the various activities, ideas and people who might validly attract the term. So there is no single articulation of anything like the doctrines of mainstream religions. Despite this, and despite the immense variety within New Age, there are some common points:
- “The cosmos is seen as an organic whole.
- “It is animated by an Energy, which is also identified as the divine Soul or Spirit.
- “Much credence is given to the meditation of various spiritual entities — humans are capable of ascending to invisible higher spheres, and of controlling their own lives beyond death.
- “There is held to be a ‘perennial knowledge’ which predates and is superior to all religions and cultures.
- “People follow enlightened masters.”
Jesus is the only Savior of mankind, but the New Age Movement presents Christ as “one among many wise men, or initiates, or avatars,” an “impersonal universal Christ.”
“The death of Jesus on the cross is either denied or reinterpreted to exclude the idea that he, as Christ, could have suffered.”
The New Age Movement asserts that we save ourselves by “self-fulfillment, self-realization, self-redemption.” But “for Christians, salvation depends on a participation in the passion, death and resurrection of Christ, and on a direct, personal relationship with God rather than on any technique.”
New Age beliefs allow people to make up their own truths based on personal well-being. But “Jesus Christ is presented in Christian teaching as ‘the way, the truth and the life.'”
The document provides practical steps to “address the confusion about New Age religiosity” so that the faithful grow in true Christian faith without New Age interference. It says:
“It must unfortunately be admitted that there are too many cases where Catholic centres of spirituality are actively involved in diffusing New Age religiosity in the Church. This would of course have to be corrected, not only to stop the spread of confusion and error, but also so that they might be effective in promoting true Christian spirituality. Catholic cultural centres, in particular, are not only teaching institutions but spaces for honest dialogue.”
“The beginning of the Third Millennium offers a real kairos for evangelisation. People’s minds and hearts are already unusually open to reliable information on the Christian understanding of time and salvation history. Emphasizing what is lacking in other approaches should not be the main priority. It is more a question of constantly revisiting the sources of our own faith, so that we can offer a good, sound presentation of the Christian message. We can be proud of what we have been given on trust, so we need to resist the pressures of the dominant culture to bury these gifts (cf. Mt 25.24-30). One of the most useful tools available is the Catechism of the Catholic Church. There is also an immense heritage of ways to holiness in the lives of Christian men and women past and present. Where Christianity’s rich symbolism, and its artistic, aesthetical and musical traditions are unknown or have been forgotten, there is much work to be done for Christians themselves, and ultimately also for anyone searching for an experience or a greater awareness of God’s presence. Dialogue between Christians and people attracted to the New Age will be more successful if it takes into account the appeal of what touches the emotions and symbolic language. If our task is to know, love and serve Jesus Christ, it is of paramount importance to start with a good knowledge of the Scriptures. But, most of all, coming to meet the Lord Jesus in prayer and in the sacraments, which are precisely the moments when our ordinary life is hallowed, is the surest way of making sense of the whole Christian message.”
“Perhaps the simplest, the most obvious and the most urgent measure to be taken, which might also be the most effective, would be to make the most of the riches of the Christian spiritual heritage. The great religious orders have strong traditions of meditation and spirituality, which could be made more available through courses or periods in which their houses might welcome genuine seekers. This is already being done, but more is needed. Helping people in their spiritual search by offering them proven techniques and experiences of real prayer could open a dialogue with them which would reveal the riches of Christian tradition, and perhaps clarify a great deal about New Age in the process.”
The foreword of this document notes:
“As Pope John Paul II said to a group of bishops from the United States: ‘Pastors must honestly ask whether they have paid sufficient attention to the thirst of the human heart for the true ‘living water’ which only Christ our Redeemer can give (cf. Jn 4:7-13)’. Like him, we want to rely ‘on the perennial freshness of the Gospel message and its capacity to transform and renew those who accept it’ (AAS 86/4, 330).”
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