BRIEF OVERVIEW OF NEW AGE PRINCIPLES AND TEACHINGS
Remember the old story of three blind men feeling an elephant and then
describing to another blind man what an elephant is? Very distressing,
however, is the somewhat benign treatment NAM is given by many pastor’s,
which is often the result when someone does not understand the principles
involved and their theological framework. When the shepherd’s are ignorant,
the sheep are soon deceived.
From a Christian perspective, NAM is not innocuous. It appears from the
surface to be a network of people and organizations with interests in
helping humanity, improving selfesteem, holistic health, ecology, and peace.
While all these things are good, the underlying principles involved should be
understood before you are tempted to start buying crystals or going in for a
While the people in NAM disagree over a lot of things, kind of like
denominations, yet there some definate points of consensus among “true
believers.” Some of them are listed below and are universal in nature to true
* Monism This is a belief that there is only one ultimate
substance or principle, whether mind (idealism), matter
(materialism), or some third thing that is the basis of
both. All reality is a cosmic or organic whole without
independent parts. Thus, there is no such thing as good or
evil (as in a dualistic principle), or that man has two
natures, physical and spiritual. This monistic Ultimate Reality
is neither dead matter or unconscious energy – it’s Being,
Awareness and Bliss. It is as like the Hindu conception of God
as an impersonal, infinite consciousness and force.
* Pantheism – The concept that all that is, is God. Because
man is a part of “all that is,” he is also divine. All New
Agers believe that “all is one” – everything that exists
consists of one and the same essence or reality.
* Man separated from God only in his own consciousness, a
victim of false identity. If all is one and that one is God,
then you must be God also. So why do we not feel like God?
Because we lack a true sense of Self-realization. Fortunately
there are methods of spiritual technology that will help you
become conscious of your true identity as God. We simply
need to enter an Altered State of Consciousness (ASC).
* So what are ASC’s? Mystical consciousness altering experi-
ences that are viewed as doorways to “personal transforma-
tion” – a lifelong growth process marked by increasing
wholeness and personal power.
* These ASC’s include “channeling,” “meditation (a.k.a.
“centering”),” “automatism,” sensory deprivation,”
“chanting,” etc. Relaxation exercises, like “therapeu-
tic body work,” mood music with relaxation exercises or
yoga, help to start you down the path to ASC’s.
* Experience and intuition are final authorities and serve
as subjective proof to the reality of any new revela-
tions encountered. One can not have objectivity if one
believes he’s in a universe where nothing ultimately
exists but one solitary Self or subject and he is part
* Hindu concepts of karma and reincarnation. Karma is an imper-
sonal law in the universe, not the personal judge of the
universe. By the law of karma, whatever a person does, good
or evil, will return to him in its exact proportion in new
incarnations until the bad karma has been balanced by the
good. Basically, this reincarnation concept is a “salvation
by works” approach to sin. It is also a nice way of saying
that “you are the cause of all your own problems.” Were you
raped? Sorry, but it was probably your “karma” working
itself out. Brutal, this “karma” stuff.
* Evolution is a key concept for NAM. It involves the progres-
sive development of the earth to it’s present state with the
best yet to come. They have abandoned the original Darwinian
theory for a Neo-Darwinism and Punctuated Equilibrium (PE).
* PE is new paradigm for understanding evolution, pro-
posed in 1972 by paleobiologists Stephen Jay Gould of
Harvard and Niles Eldridge of the American Museum of
Natural History. It suggests that the equilibrium of
life is “punctuated” from time to time by severe
stress. If a small segment of the ancestral population
is isolated at the periphery of its accustomed range,
it may give way to a new species. The population is
stressed intensely because it is living at the edge of
its tolerance. Gould says that a new species arises
suddenly in the geological evidence all at once and fully
formed, instead of gradual evolving. New Agers believe
that we are now in the edge of a new punctuated thrust,
the dawn of conscious evolution into the “Age of Aquari-
us.” The earth (Tara or Gaia) is an evolving mind
poised to be thrust into a new era of punctuated
“consciousness”. That is, if we don’t nuke or pollute
ourselves into extinction before we get there.
* Spiritualized doctrine of evolution – that personal transfor-
mation leads to planetary transformation and the New Age.
Hence, the evangelistic thrust of the movement.
* Belief systems are worlds that we create to meet our cultur-
al needs. When these myths are no longer serving the culture
(such as the orthodox Judeo-Christian faith today), they
should be put away for the common good.
* Values clarification: Based on the assumptions of each
person having a Higher Self this concept holds that values
emerge from within and therefore should not be imposed from
without. It is a teaching method designed to help students
discover and clarify their own values. It is widely used in
public education under the rationale that it is an appropri-
ate approach to values in a pluralistic society because it
does not seek to impose any particular value system on the
children. There are no absolute truths as values are to be
Now, briefly, let’s take a look at the direct differences between NAM and
* Biblical Perspective: Spiritual and personal growth is based
on increased dependence on Christ, conforming to His will as
revealed in the Word (2 Cor. 3:3-6; Jas. 4:13-16; Eph. 3:14-
* NAM Perspective: Spiritual and personal growth is a trans-
formation from being dependent to one who knows and feels
that he/she is in charge of his/her life.
* Biblical Perspective: The distinction between Creator and
creation is absolute and permanent and the limited creature
must always depend on, and obey, the all-sufficient, sover-
eign Creator. There must be an increased independence on a
human level, but our relationship with God operates on
* NAM Perspective: Distinction between “creator” and creation
is illusionary. One must control one’s own life. One must
“take responsibility” and “be accountable” in terms of self.
We have power to create our own reality, but it will be done
for us unless we take “responsibility” for what ever happens
to us (often human-potential-seminar graduates even blame
cancer and rape on the people who suffer from them); Unlim-
ited human potential and the shaping our own future both
individually and collectively
* Biblical Perspective: We are responsible and accountable to
external authorities, beginning with God and then including
human authorities He has instituted (Rom. 13:1,2).
* NAM Perspective: Hopes for the future are based on astrology
* Biblical Perspective: Hopes for future are based on Biblical
* NAM Perspective: If all is One (God), there can be no sin
and death, making the substitutionary death of Christ for
our sins meaningless.
* NAM Perspective: Jesus was a great man and God, but no more
so than the rest of us. He only realized His Christ potential
to a higher level than most after purging himself of “bad
karma” through many incarnations and is now only one of
several “master” who serve humanity from a higher (albeit,
not the highest) plane.
* Biblical Perspective: People are being led away from a
sincere and pure devotion to Christ to another Jesus. 2 Cor.
11:3-4, 13-15; Col. 1:16-17; 1 Peter 4:5
* NAM Perspective: Not all profess affinity with Christianity,
many are openly pagan in nature. Great attraction is given
to the “earth mother” deity. “A spiritual path is valid for
us if it is appropriate to our needs as we ourselves define
them” (emphasis original) by Mark Satin, a NA author.
* Biblical Perspective: It’s a return to the ancient pagan
concept of worshiping the earth, albiet, with an intellectu-
al twist to make it acceptable. 2 Pet. 2:22, (Note: “dog” is
what Jews commonly called Gentiles and here it represents
Gentiles returning to the idolatry of their distant past);
Rom. 1:18, 22-25. Interestingly, NAM devotees are attempting
to save the world by serving the author of its destruction
(John 8:34; 10:10).
New Agers are generally sincere, intelligent, humanitarian and, given their
world view, rational and consistant. They are also wrong at their foundation,
according to Biblical revelation. Before you hang that crystal around your
neck for “good luck” or to “keep evil away,” remember the one who put evil
under his feet, Jesus Christ the Lord. If your church is so boring that you
are tempted to try this stuff, then find a church with life, the life Jesus
said the church should have.
NEW AGE MOVEMENT DICTONARY
Just as a new Christian is bewildered with the new terminology that he hears,
so the terminology of the “New Age Movement” or (NAM). The following
definitions will be a helpful tool to acquaint you with these new terms. It
is not at all exhaustive, but a beginning point of departure.
Definition of Terms:
Age of Aquarius: A time, deemed imminent, by NAM where mankind and
the world mind will enter a more enlightened astrological age
of advanced spiritual consciousness. For some New Agers it is
little more than a convenient symbol for the anticipated
order, but for others, a firmly help religious belief. It’s
basis is not upon Biblical prophecy, but on astrology.
Altered States of Consciousness (ASC): Because New Agers believe
in “pantheism” (see below), they must somehow deal with the
fact that most people do not feel to be one with God. New Agers
explain that man is separated from God only in his own
consciousness. Thus he has a false sense of separate identity
which blinds him to his true unity with God. ASC is the spiritual
technology used to alter the consciousness to obtain “self-
realization” (See below). Techniques for ASC include meditation,
chanting, ecstatic dancing, sensory deprivation, etc.
Aquarian Age: See “Age of Aquarius”
Astrology: A pseudo-science based on the belief that one can
foretell the future by studying the supposed influence of the
relative positions of the moon, sun, and stars on human
Automatism: A form of “channeling” (See below) which is a most
clear-cut form of possession by a nonhuman source which
bypasses the mediums’ mind and communicates via direct control
of his or her body. Automatic writing, the Ouija board, and
the use of pendulums are all in this category.
Cartesian: An analytic method of reasoning, largely originating
with Rene’ Descartes, the seventeenth-century French
philosopher and mathematician. It consists of breaking up
thoughts and problems into pieces and in arranging these in
their logical order. Thus, the whole is equal to the sum of
it’s parts. New Agers reject this type of reasoning in favor
of an intuitive awareness of our connection with the whole.
The holistic approach sees the universe as one indivisible,
dynamic whole whose parts are essentially interrelated and can
be understood only as patterns of cosmic process.
Centering: A term used instead of meditation when the later is
considered an unacceptable concept for teaching in the public
schools. When resistance to meditation is encountered they
pushers of New Age methodology will switch terms to get the
same ends. These techniques include yoga, guided imagery,
chanting, mandalas (visual symbols used as aids to meditation,
and fantasy-role-playing games. Many have been led by these
to encounter spirit guides called Wise Ones through these
Channeling: A word to describe spiritistic communication in various
forms. The idea is to communicate with beings in distant
dimensions. This is a practice common in pagan religions of
the past and distinct from biblical prophecy and inspiration.
It’s modern influx began with the work of medium Jane Roberts
and her entity “Seth.” Seth has been trailed by thousands of
new entities, the most well know are “Ramtha,” channeled by
J. Z. Knight, and “Lazaris,” channeled by Jach Pursel. The
influence of Actress Shirley MacLaine has given it a lot of
press. (See also clairaudient, light-trance, full-trance,
Chanting: A method used to attain a consciousness altering
experience (See “psychotechnologies”).
Clairaudient: A form of “channeling” (See above) a message is
believed to be dictated telepathically to and repeated by the
human “amanuensis” or “messenger,” who remains fully conscious
and in control of his/her faculties.
Cosmic consciousness: A term popularized by a turn-of-the-century
psychiatrist R.M. Bucke to describe the awareness one receives
as a result of “Altered States of Consciousness” (See above).
It is an awareness or consciousness of the nature of the One.
This could be because at the peak of the mystical state about
all that can be experienced is “consciousness.” It describes
the mystical state of “transcendence” of individuality and
identification with everything.
Crystals: New Agers place a lot of stock in vibrations. Everything in
the spiritual realm is supposed to operate according to exact
scientific law, so spiritual energy or healing energy is
thought to transmit at definite, very high vibration levels
or frequencies. Aware that crystals serve as good energy
transmitters in electronics (as in watches, radios, computer
chips, lasers, etc.), New Agers assume that they must be good
for transmitting and amplifying other kinds of frequencies as
well. They can attract desirable forces, repel undesirable
forces, help in weight loss, confidence. They can also absorb,
stimulate, amplify and focus every spiritual and healing
force. A NAM form of “good luck charm” with a pseudo-
Demonic energy: A Christian description of what New Agers would
call psychic energy such as seen in the belief that crystals (see
above) can transmit such energy.
Dissociation: A psychological way of explaining channeling, the
word is used to describe the appearance of a separate
personality during a channeling session in which, in reality,
part of the mind splits off from the whole to take on the
Dualism: The theory that the world is made up of two basic
entities, as mind and matter. Theologically, it is a doctrine
that there are two mutually antagonistic principles, good and
evil, and, that man has two natures, physical and spiritual.
Earth Mother: A New Age concept of seeing the earth as deity, a
maternal goddess instead of a paternal God.
Ego death: A New Ager term to describe a state of mind where the
individual increasingly becomes identified with God within
rather than the objective person without.
Emergent evolution: The supposed self-organizing force behind the
universe inherently moving toward higher organization, bringing
assorted objects into increasingly complex relationships. It
borrows from G.W.F. Hegel’s philosophical concept of
explaining history as a process moving mankind ever forward
by thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.
Enlightenment: Coming to an inner understanding the oneness of the
universe through inner consciousness (See Alternate States of
Consciousness, ASC above).
Eschatology: A Christian term to describe the study of end time
Evolution: A basic cornerstone for NAM, it involves the progressive
development of the earth to it’s present state with the best
yet to come. They have abandoned the original Darwinian theory
for a Neo-Darwinism and Punctuated Equilibrium (See Below).
Full-trance channeling: A step deeper into channeling than “Light-
trance” (See below) in which the subject has no recall on
resuming normal consciousness. The voice and personalities
usually undergo more noticeable changes than light-trance
channels because they have fully vacated the seat of
Full-body channeling: Also called incarnational channeling, it is
similar to deep-trance channeling, except that instead of
unconsciousness, the channels report experiencing something
like the New Age conception of the death state, in which the
spirit leaves the body and moves toward a distant light. It
is believed that the channels have fully vacated their bodies
and the entities have moved in, which is what gives this type
of channeling its name.
Gaia: (or alternately, “Terra”) after the Earth goddess of Greek
and Roman mythology, is the name given to the emerging and
evolving world. (See “global brain”).
General Systems Theory (GST): (See also “Holistic”). GST proposes
that there are several natural laws that determine the
functioning of all systems (physical, organic, psychological,
social, and even conceptual). It is believed that an
interdisciplinary study of systems would yield a
mathematically precise, experimentally verifiable description
of these laws. For example: Present day economists tend to
dissociate the economy from the fabric in which it is
embedded, and to describe it in terms of simplistic and highly
unrealistic theoretical models of efficiency, productivity,
GNP. This is to narrow a look to be accurate. One must also
see it in the wider social and ecological context. When GST
is combined with mysticism, the New Ager feels that one can
not look only at the physical world as separate from the other
dimensions. Thus reality is more of a process or energy than
a substance of a “thing.”
Global Brain: Humanity is evolving toward a coherent global form
where each person is an important neuron in the emerging
planetary brain constituted by myriad “networking” among
people. The idea that all lives will be translated into some
spiritual form of information that will make the entire globe,
and the human family, a single consciousness. While most New
Agers believe a global brain is forming, they are divided as
to whether the globe itself is now a conscious being or that it
will eventually evolve into one. Where the world consists of
a lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere, man is
the new “thinking layer” called the “nooshere” (Gk. nous,
God: New Agers tend to see God as more of a pervasive Energy (the
“Force” of Star Wars) than an objective entity; and they
generally identify the world with God. God is seen as a very,
not a noun, proper or improper. (See also “pantheism”).
Gnosis: Positive knowledge in spiritual matters claimed to have
been mystically acquired.
Harmonic Convergence: A gathering, in August of 1987, of thousands
of chanting and meditating New Agers to “sacred sites” around
the world to prevent global disaster and bring in the New Age.
Healing energy: (See “Crystals” above).
Higher Self: The word education comes from the Latin word educare, “to
lead out from within.” What teachers are now interested in
leading out from within is the expression of the self–the
highest qualities of the individual student’s unique soul. God
has been “disposed and sealed” in the illusory identity of the
student and it is the teacher’s responsibility to “unbury” or
awaken within each child this sleeping Self (also called “God
within,” “Inner” or “Higher Self,” “Inner Wisdom,” “Infinite
Potential,” etc.) It is believed that each student already has
all knowledge and wisdom. He only needs to be taught (through
meditation, etc.) how to tap it. See also Values Clarification.
Hinduism: A pantheistic religious originating in India the serves
as a foundational philosophy for many of the NAM concepts and
ideas about karma, reincarnation and meditation.
Holism: (See “Holistic”)
Holistic: In contrast to the Cartesian (See above) approach to
reasoning, the holistic approach sees the universe as one
indivisible, dynamic whole whose parts are essentially
interrelated and can be understood only as patterns of cosmic
process. The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Thus
the old Cartesian paradigm is to be done away with in favor
of the new paradigm known as the “systems view” and embodied in
the General Systems Theory (See above). The systems view looks
that the world in terms of relationships and integration.
Instead of concentrating on basic building blocks of basic
substances, this approach emphasizes the basic principles of
organization. Every organism is an integrated whole and thus
a living system. The systems are not confined to individual
organisms and their parts, but also by social systems and eco-
systems. Anything that effects the part also effects the
Incarnational channeling: (See Full-body channeling)
Inner Wisdom: (See Higher-Self above).
Karma: A ancient Hindu concept of an impersonal law in the
universe, not the personal judge of the universe. By the law
of Karma, whatever a person does, good or evil, will return
to him in its exact proportion in new incarnations until the
bad karma has been balanced by good karma. Basically it is a
salvation by works approach to sin. (See “Reincarnation”)
Light-trance channels: A common contemporary “channeling” (See
above) in which the subject does not enter a deep-trance
state, they are only partially conscious when channeling, and
have some memory of the experience afterward. Jon Klimo also
calls it a “temporary cohabitation of the seat of
Mandalas: Visual symbols used as aids to meditation.
Mantra: The name of a Hindu deity that one is to mentally repeat
in order to enter into a meditative state. A TM word drawn
Masters, ascended: Those who have broken the Karma cycle and no
longer require being reincarnated. These ascended souls have
achieved their goal and now communicate through channels (see
above) instructions as to how we may do the same.
Maya: A traditional Hindu concept adopted by NAM. The world is
considered maya (illusion) and is thus an obstacle to eternal
bliss. In the enlightened state, all is seen as God (see
Meditation: A mental process whereby one can get in touch with his
or her inner-self (see above). It is used to obtain Self-realization
Medium: (See Channeling above).
Metanetwork: A network of networks. One network can exist within
a larger network, which in turn can exist within a still large
one (that is, a metanetwork). See “Network”.
Metaphysics: Meaning literally “after-physics”, it is the study of
the nature of being or reality that is beyond Aristotle’s
concept of physics with dealt with external nature.
Millennium: A Christian term referring to the coming rule of Christ
over earth for 1,000 years.
Mobius: The name of a firm exploring the practical uses of psychic
Monism: The doctrine that there is only one ultimate substance of
principle, whether mind (idealism), matter (materialism), or
some third thing that is the basis of both. All reality is a
cosmic or organic whole without independent parts. (See also
Multiple vision science: A synthesis of modern science and ancient
mysticism sought for by NAM.
Mysticism: Belief in the doctrine that asserts the possibility of
attaining knowledge of spiritual truths through intuition
acquired by fixed mediation. A “subjective” (See below)
approach to discovering reality. New Agers often use channeling
and other methods to achieve these revelations.
Neo-Darwinism: See Evolution.
Network: Informal, loosely knit organizations composed of self-
reliant and autonomous participants. People and organizations
that simultaneously function as independent ‘wholes’ and as
interdependent ‘parts.’ They operate outside established
New Age Movement (NAM): An extremely large, loosely structured
network of organizations and individuals bound together by
common values (mysticism and monism) and a common vision (a
coming “new age” of peace and mass enlightenment, the “Age of
Pantheism: The concept that all that is, is God. Because man is a
part of “all that is,” he is also divine. All New Agers
believe that “all is one” – everything that exists consists
of one and the same essence or reality. This essence or
Ultimate Reality is neither dead matter nor unconscious energy,
but Being, Awareness, and Bliss. It is the Hindu conception
of God as an impersonal infinite consciousness and force.
Psychotechnologies: A term used to describe methods for achieving
ASC’s. They include meditation, “creative visualization,”
chanting and several others.
Punctuatialism: (See Punctuated Equilibrium below)
Punctuated Equilibrium: A new paradigm for understanding evolution,
proposed in 1972 by paleobiologists Stephen Jay Gould of
Harvard and Niles Eldridge of the American Museum of Natural
History. It suggests that the equilibrium of life is
“punctuated” from time to time by severe stress. If a small
segment of the ancestral population is isolated at the
periphery of its accustomed range, it may give way to a new
species. The population is stressed intensely because it is
living at the edge of its tolerance. Gould says that a new
species arises suddenly in the geological evidence all at once
and fully formed, instead of gradual evolving. New Agers believe
that we are now in the edge of a new punctuated thrust, the
dawn of conscious evolution and the Age of Aquarius
Reincarnation: The process whereby one overcomes bad karma by
living successive lives. (See “karma”)
Self-realization: The realization that one’s true Self is God. Using
Altered States of Consciousness brings one salvation by having a
conscious (mystical) experience of his or her supposed oneness
with God. These realization experiences are viewed as doorways
to “personal transformation”. It is a lifelong growth process
marked by increasing wholeness and personal power.
Subjectivism: The philosophic theory that all knowledge is produced
by the mind or a particular state of mind, something felt by the
subject, or person thinking, as opposed to the attributes of
the object thought of. Subjective experience and intuition are
the final authorities for New Agers.
Tara: See “Gaia”
Unlimited Human Potential: See Higher Self above.
Values clarification: Based on the assumptions of each person
having a Higher Self (see above) this concept holds that values
emerge from within and therefore should not be imposed from
without. It is a teaching method designed to help students
discover and clarify their own values. It is widely used in
public education under the rationale that it is an appropriate
approach to values in a pluralistic society because it does
not seek to impose any particular value system on the
children. There are no absolute truths as values are to be
Vibrations: (See Crystals above).
Author: (John J. Clark II)