Spirituality is a Package Deal
It is crucial in understanding the New Age to know that it sees everything in a spiritual way, from a plastic container (“bad energy, low vibrations”) to the body, the earth, food, health products, sounds, colors, causes of illness and pain, and certainly the self — both ego (false or lower self) and the Higher or True Self (innately divine).
I used to believe those things myself.
The self is not just a psychological unit to New Agers. The self (including the body) is a manifestation of many things – of vibrations, frequencies, the subtle (or invisible) body (chi/ki, meridians, chakras, biofield, etc.), fears, karma, one’s astrological birth chart, and more — too many to list.
New Age psychology is more spirituality than psychology, and is most often Jungian. It is tied into New Age beliefs about the mind, soul, and often karma.
The material world as an illusion could be a projection of our fears and desires. It is an illusion but humanity has come to believe it is real. At the very least, it is made up of energy, ususally a sacred energy. These views can be blended in the New Age even though they may not sound complementary because contradictory views can be held at the same time in the New Age. The reason for that is the belief that there are different levels of reality and truth in the New Age.
All tools and practices in the New Age are suffused with spirituality; nothing is not spiritual, especially having to do with the self.
Whether getting information from the New Age about physical health, or emotional health, or psychological well-being, the spirituality involved is a package deal — the spiritual component cannot be removed, even it is not obvious. It would be impossible to remove the spiritual element This concept is summed up in the ubiquitous phrase, body/mind/spirit, which came from the New Age and expresses a New Age view, as do the terms natural, holistic and wellness. Natural is always better in the New Age because nature is viewed as pure and seen as a vessel of divine energy (even though the material world may be an illusion, the energy is there). Wellness does not mean good health. Briefly, it means that health is a reflection of the spirit and is your total responsibility; therefore, any illness is utlimately your fault.
Everything will be tinged with New Age spirituality, even if it is not obvious. And, increasingly, it is not obvious.
An Example with the Enneagram
An example of New Age intrusion in the church is the Enneagram. Seeing so many Christians recommend New Age books like The Wisdom of the Enneagram by New Agers Don Riso and Russ Hudson, was what originally triggered a Facebook post that became this article. I read the book and it is brimming with New Age concepts.
Either the Christians who recommended this did not recognize the New Age concepts or they thought it did not matter because they believed the information on the Enneagram was unaffected by the New Age beliefs. But that is not the case and is never the case.
Many Christians readily accepted the claims in the New Age for the validity of supposed tests or research on the Enneagram when, in actuality, none have been validated as is falsely claimed in some books and on the Enneagram Institute website (founded, in fact, by New Agers Don Riso and Russ Hudson). Some in the New Age will recognize the need to support claims with something that appears to be scientific, but is content if it is not truly scientific. As long as it appears scientific, that is enough (pseudoscience is used to make studies or claims appear scientific but the basis for these claims mingles spiritual views with scientific language).
Christians have believed New Age sources like the Enneagram Institute website, going on false assumptions it has credibility. The Enneagram Institute was founded to spread the teaching and use of the Enneagram. The Institute is New Age, biased, and unscientific. The Enneagram is a spiritual tool, but its spirituality is Gnostic and New Age (and also Perennial in the hands of some, like Richard Rohr and many Contemplative teachers of the Enneagram.)
Christians accept New Age concepts in healing, to a vast degree. The New Age conflation of actual physically based vibrations and frequencies, such as radio frequencies, with the New Age invisible, unquantifiable energies that supposedly pervade everything is a diaboloical and somewhat succssful deception. The New Age is masterful at adopting conventional terms and concepts and infusing them with other meanings.
Worst of all, there is an increasing attitude in the church that if something works, or seems to work, then it is valid or good, even if there is objective data against it, or good cause for skepticism. This is the classic New Age “truth by experience” outlook. A danger is not just believing New Age sources or engaging in practices based on the New Age, but also New Age thinking which I have seen increasing.
The New Age is hostile to science, medicine, does not believe in objective truth, and believes experience gives truth. Therefore, New Age methods and tools have no validity. If they had validity, there would be a basis for them in objective data and testing, but there is not. This is one reason pseudoscience is the heartbeat of New Age methods of healing. It is not a case of “maybe the New Age has stumbled on a valid truth.” No. Rather the fact is that the New Age steals from truth, twists it, and spiritualizes it. New Age modalities and concepts originate in spiritual beliefs and are never found to be valid.
Contrast with Christ
A contrast of the New Age spirituality with Jesus Christ is startling. Jesus acknowledged creation as real and was involved in the creation of the universe. This reality is real even though one day God by his power will transform it.
In contrast to the New Age view of the material world as dense energy or as non-existent, God reveals to us concrete reality of his creation of man and creatures in flesh and blood, in a real world he created. Life is real; death is real although death is the result of man’s disobedience which brought death into the world. Death means separation, not non-existence. Physical death is separation from the body; spiritual death, or the second death, is separation from God for eternity.
But God provided a way to be forgiven and reconciled with God through Christ’s death on the cross to pay the penalty for sins. Jesus willingly went to the cross. All humanity needs forgiveness of sins and anyone can have this when he or she trust in the true Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:10
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.” John 11:25-27
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst….Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. John 6:35, 47-48