Sunday, October 19, 2008

Worldview Class – Part 7 – New Age (Cosmic Humanist) Theology

This is a continuation of highlighted topics discussed in a worldview class I am teaching on Sunday morning. The main text for the study is The Battle for Truth by David Noebel. A good deal of this class is also based on personal research.

Theology is defined as “the study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions”. Every worldview takes a stand on God, whether it is to believe in one Creator of all, or to say that no God exists. A critical understanding of each worldview pivots around the position taken regarding the existence of God.

The New Age worldview is often stated in ethereal words of transcendental gobbledy-gook. I must confess that the majority of statements made by many New Agers escape logic – at least, my logic. For example, Marilyn Ferguson attempts to describe God in this way - “In the emergent spiritual tradition God is not the personage of our Sunday school mentality….God is experienced as flow, wholeness….the ground of being….God is the consciousness that manifests as Lila, the play of the universe. God is the organizing matrix we can experience but not tell, that which enlivens matter.”

I just read this quote to my fourteen-year-old daughter Molly and she called it “a load of waffle”. I don’t think I could describe it any better.

There are many problems with Cosmic Humanism (New Age thought), but one of the most disturbing is the absence of a clear truth or an absolute right and wrong. In fact, New Age theology teaches that one must look within oneself in order to search for truth. And what is true for one person may not be true for another. By searching individually for truth, the New Age follower strives to achieve godhood. That is their individual goal, and the collective aim of all New Agers is for all people to achieve godhood together. By doing this, they achieve what they call “consciousness”. In the final state, God is everyone and everyone is God. Beverly Galyean said, “Once we begin to see that we are all God, that we have all the attributes of God, then I think the whole purpose of human life is to re-own the Godlikeness within us; the perfect love, the perfect wisdom, the perfect understanding, the perfect intelligence, and when we do that, we create back to that old, that essential oneness which is consciousness.”

Another disturbing belief that is prevalent in New Age thought is that of reincarnation. They believe that souls are in a constant state of movement from one form to another as a part of the quest for godhood. And they also maintain that it is important for a person to discover “who” they were in past lives in order to gain some understanding of why they are the way they are, and what must be done to achieve godhood in the future. There are even some who claim to make “soul contracts” with other individuals in one life, with the agreement that these individuals will “help” each other in future lives. Claims are made that you can tell when you have a soul contract with another individual because of an unusually strong feeling of familiarity when you look in that person’s eyes. A lot of money is made in the psychic world to help people “discover” their soul agreements. So I’ll ask this question – is it possible that people who believe they were Emperor Nero or Abraham Lincoln in a past life are being deceived by an evil spirit? What may seem to them like fact and truth may simply be the deception mentioned by Paul in Romans 1:21 – “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” The quest to know who they were in a past life begs the act of inquiring information of the spirit world – an extremely dangerous enterprise.

Finally, an added danger to the New Age belief system is their treatment of Jesus Christ and his role in history. Rather than deny Jesus’ existence, as other worldviews tend to do, New Age followers believe Jesus existed, and was a perfect man. By living such a life, he demonstrates that godhood can be achieved. Jesus is used as an example of what New Agers want to become, and he gives them hope for the possibility. From the New Age publication Science of Mind, we read “The significance of incarnation and resurrection is not that Jesus was a human like us but rather that we are gods like him – or at least have the potential to be.”

The sum of these dangers makes Cosmic Humanism much more difficult to combat from a Christian worldview. Unlike other worldviews like Marxism and Secular Humanism, the Cosmic Humanist offers a form of afterlife, even if it is a false one. They promise a happier ending than Marxism does, and they hold to the belief that things can work out in another life if we don’t do so well in the current one. The belief in reincarnation gives the New Ager something to live for and something to look forward to beyond this life.

The key to winning over a New Age follower is to impress upon them that the Christian worldview preaches a personal God – one who cares deeply and intimately about the individual. At some point, a New Age person is certain to cry out for more, when things in this world are falling apart around them. Can they say that someone died for them long ago in order that God’s plan could be fulfilled and we could live forever in heaven with the Creator of the universe? In talking with former New Age believers, I found this to be the thing that was missing in their former life – the promise of a personal, caring God who already has the answers and who doesn’t require us to achieve godhood at His level. This is the God that I believe. I am content to let Him be God, while I remain His servant.

To Worldview - Part 8 - Christian Theology

Or go back to the main index for all twelve Parts.

If you are interested in portions, or all of this twelve part series taught in an engaging, educational fashion, please contact Alan at Banyan Concepts.