Monday, September 12, 2011

A Tangled Web

"You will certainly not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is evil."   Gen. 3:5

The New Age Movement is a spiritual path fraught with dangers of every kind. Unsuspecting souls are easily led astray through the subtle mixture of truth and lies New Age spirituality contains. Like the fruit in the story of the Garden of Eden, pleasing to the eye, if one bites into it deeply enough the worm which never dies is exposed. The New Age Movement is simply Satan's clever way of replaying the fall of man over and over again. After all, it worked before, right? Serve something up under the guise of good and there's bound to be takers. Whether you believe the story of the Garden of Eden is truth or allegory  is not the point. The point is that man was seduced into disobeying God and this disobedience continues to ripple through the generations. No longer was God the center of our existence, man himself became the center. Interestingly enough, pride was our downfall just as it was for Satan and all the angels he took with him while attempting to usurp the throne of God. No doubt Satan considered this one of his finest moments and shook with glee at our stupidity. He's not one who likes to suffer alone. There's some truth in the saying that "misery likes company". Unlike us, Lucifer understood the full ramifications of what his disobedience would confer upon him and didn't care in the least.

God did not forsake man, He redeemed us instead, but we still suffer the consequences of original sin.
Our goal here is not to make peace with a fallen world nor is it to toss into the public false ideologies which reduce this need for redemption or throw it away altogether. I'm not okay and you are not okay. I may care about someone and accept them but this doesn't mean that we are okay. Humanity with its fallen nature is very fragile and prone to sin. Our proclivity to sin is a fact that is easily established by taking a quick glance at the world around us.

One of the problems with New Age thought is that it is often an attempt at self-redemption and this can never work. How can someone whose own nature is broken fix himself? Or anyone else for that matter. He cannot. It's not possible.  During my own life, I have known a number of Christians who have allowed themselves to be swayed by New Age philosophies. Most of them have returned to their Christian roots but not without difficulty. The New Age focus on "self" and power is a huge draw. Sometimes it's hard to dethrone this false god, it takes humility and the acceptance of our own powerlessness both over ourselves and others. Which brings me to another aspect of the New Age that is troublesome - pantheism (from the greek pan = everything and theos = God): all is God.

Everything is not God and neither is every person. That God deigns to reside in us doesn't make us God. Pantheism is easily proven false...not a one of us has the power to create the universe. Those who subscribe to this philosophy have too high an opinion of themselves. I, for one, am thankful that I am not God. I am thankful that you are not, also. Creation is not equal to the creator.

This is a blessing. New Age spirituality is a form of "spiritual narcissism" and the deeper a person becomes enmeshed in its web the harder is to disentangle oneself. Grace alone accomplishes this.

Here is the personal account of a man who was involved in New Age spirituality. His story gives a quick overview of how New Age occult practices can endanger the soul. Another site which tackles the subject of New Age Spirituality is Catholic Apologetics Guidebook. At this site you can find links, debates and articles related to the New Age Movement.

Many years ago a friend of our family was caught up in New Age spirituality for a few years. She  practiced a form of New Age mysticism and used to leave her body regularly. She called it "going under". One day, as she was returning to her body, much to her horror a demon was trying to enter it. She called out to Jesus for help, the demon disappeared, and she reentered her body. After this episode she cut off all ties with New Age and occult activity, did a thorough house cleaning, went to Confession, and is now wary of anything that even touches upon the New Age. It frightened her so badly that she even warns people about Yoga and the meditation practices that go along with it.

Elena at Fountain of Elias has put up a post which speaks about this type of "Pseudo-mysticism" and it is a must read for everyone who is interested in mysticism. I highly recommend reading the article in its entirety.

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