Saturday, 5 January 2013

New Age in Christianity

Ray Yunger in his very enlightening yet succinct book about the New Age entitled “For Many Shall Come in My Name” in one of its chapters explains how New Age is entering the mainstream religions. He says that “one of the main reasons many Christian pastors fail to take the New Age movement seriously is because they are not adept at effectively measuring its real strength. They are accustomed to assessing the prestige and influence of a spiritual movement by its number of churches, attendance records, or TV and radio programmes. Since they do not see New Age churches on every corner, they tend to discount any cause for alarm.”
However mantras and breathing techniques, identical to those of the New Age are entering Catholic and Protestant churches. For example centering prayers are flourishing in mainstream religions today. Being simply called as ‘ancient prayers’ they employ mantra (called the prayer word) that allows one to empty the mind by chanting Jesus. God, love rather than Krishna or om. Many are being taught that centering prayer is the most direct route to God. 
What is happening to mainstream denominations to be so open to meditative and holistic practices? They are trying to fill the void, the spiritual vacuum. Marcus Borg, professor and author of many widely read books (“The God we never knew”, “The heart of Christianity”) represents the mainstream for millions of people in liberal churches. But his spiritual platform is pure New Age as he makes it clear when he expounds: “The sacred is not “somewhere else” spatially distant from us. Rather, we live within God … God has always been in relationship to us, journeying with us, and yearning to be known by us.” (e.i. God is everything and each person is a receptacle of the Divine, which is accessed through meditation). 
What is happening to mainstream Christianity is the same thing that is happening to business, health, education, counselling and other areas of society? It ultimately leads point sot a global religion based on meditation and mystical experience.  New Age writer David Spangler explains it in the following way:
“There will be several religions and spiritual disciplines as there are today, each serving different sensibilities and affinities, each enriched by and enriching the particular cultural soil in which it is rooted. However, there will be a planetary spirituality that will celebrate the sacredness of the whole humanity in appropriate festivals, rituals, and sacraments. There will be a more widespread understanding and experience of the holistic nature of reality, resulting in a shared outlook that today would be called mystical. Mysticism has always overflowed the bounds of particular religious traditions, and in the new word this would be even truer.”
Episcopal priest and New Age leader Matthew Fox explains what he calls “deep ecumenism”:
“Without mysticism there will be no “deep ecumenism”, no unleashing of the power of wisdom from all the world’s religious traditions. Without this I am convinced there will never be global peace or justice since the human race needs spiritual depths and disciplines, celebrations and rituals, to awaken its better selves. The promise of ecumenism, the coming together of religions, has been thwarted because world religions have not been relating at the level of mysticism.” Fox believes that all world religions will eventually be bound together by the “Cosmic Christ” principle, which is another terms for higher self. 
New Age insider Marilyn Ferguson has written a book chronicling the movement's goals and activities. The title The Aquarian Conspiracy may suggest to a casual observer that New Agers are highly organized in their efforts to dominate culture and replace both secularism and traditional religion. But Ferguson and others would deny that the whole movement is being controlled by a few human leaders. In fact, a few New Age writers like Alice Bailey and Benjamin Creme refer to a hierarchy of spirit beings--not humans--who are coordinating all the activities on earth, and who will one day manifest themselves in bodily form to the world. 
Robert Muller, Former Assistant Secretary General to the UN, has been on a specific and premeditated course to unite the world's religions. In his 1982 book, New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality, Muller did not hide his agenda. Muller is hopeful that his vision of one religion bringing "world peace," will be the next step in human evolution - it's what he calls "Paradise Earth" but this is a humanist, God-denying 'paradise,' with a 'religion' which allows people to tap into the 'spirituality within themselves' - since most of these people do not believe in a literal Satan, they have no idea what a warm invitation they are effectively extending to him! Muller writes:  "Human history so far has been the history of a primitive race," he says. "Only now, with planet-wide knowledge and consciousness, have we entered the real challenge to our species: the good management of our earth. The real history of the world is only beginning." Muller also states: "Within 15 years we will have a proper government and administration of planet earth and of humanity. Why? Because the current troubles, injustices, wastes and colossal duplications of national expenditures - especially on armaments and the military - will force us to. It is inevitable. The salvation of this planet and survival of the human species depend on it. No one can for long go against evolution. Nation-states must adapt or they will disintegrate, even the biggest ones."