New Age Definition

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What is referred to as the New Age movement is a philosophy and set of practices that began its rise in popularity in the late 1980s. Its roots, however, go back significantly farther than the late 20th century. A 1996 George Barna poll in the United States found that 25% of the adults surveyed have a concept of God more in line with New Age thinking than traditional Christianity or other religions.

The umbrella term "New Age" dates back to at least 1875 A.D. and the teachings of a Russian named Helena Blavatsky (1831 - 1891 A.D.). It was in 1875 that Helena and two others established an institute in New York City named the Theosophical Society. The term 'Theosophical' is made up of two words, Theos (the Greek word for God, which is commonly used in the original manuscripts of the New Testament) and Sophos (which means wise or learned).

The beliefs of the society are based on writings from Buddhism and Brahmanism. Since Buddhism (founded around 566 to 480 B.C.) is an offshoot of Hinduism, the society's roots (and those of the New Age Movement) can rightfully be stated to be far older than what it seems. Ironically, although 'theos' or 'god' is part of the society's name, one of its primary tenets is that there does not exist a God with which a person can have a personally relationship.

The New Age movement has no standard set of beliefs or a single creed. As such, those who follow it can have an array of, sometimes contradictory, beliefs. It has no single book or text it considers 'holy,' no central group that governs the entire group, collects money or has an official list of members, and has no official clergy. There are, however, at least six primary beliefs common to New Age thinking. They are the concepts that all is unity; all is divine; that humans are divine; all religions are one; a change of consciousness is needed; and that one should have a 'cosmic optimism.'

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Common New Age beliefs and practices include channeling (contacting the dead through a medium), the use of crystals (based on the belief they possess healing energy) and meditation (the repeating of a word or phrase, known as a mantra, in order to reach a higher spiritual plane). Many New Agers also believe in reincarnation (the belief that Man has a soul that upon death comes back to life in a different form) and partake of astrology, fortune telling, and other occult-related practices.

A warning

New Age philosophies come with consequences. Humans must repent and seek after the TRUE God of the Bible for answers to life's many questions. The prophet Isaiah wrote the following.

19. And when they shall say to you, "Seek unto them that have familiar spirits and to wizards who peep and mutter" - but should not a people seek unto their God? Should the dead be sought on behalf of the living?" (Isaiah 8:19, HBFV)

In regard to the spiritual danger of the beliefs in the movement, the book "Occult Holidays or God's Holy Days - Which?" by F. Coulter issues the following warning.

"Indeed, such wicked spirits are more than willing to become one's 'inner teacher' if invited in through New Age practices. Giving heed to one's so-called 'inner-god' or 'internal voice' can quite easily result in becoming directly influenced by powerful demon spirits - and is a first step in being drawn fully into the occult. And Satan always works subtly, disguising himself and his teachings to appear good and right - as if he were an 'angel of light' (2Corinthians 11:13 -14). But Isaiah (eighth chapter, twentieth verse) tells us where to find the truth: 'To the law and to the testimony! If they (who teach such philosophies) do not speak according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them'" (Occult Holidays or God's Holy Days - Which?, second edition, page 44)

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