Introduction

What is the New Age Movement? The term “New Age” at its core, is incredibly illusive. How does one go about defining it? It can accommodate almost any designation as long as that designation does not imply any organized religion with definite and exclusive hope. In some ways, it is the leftovers of every meal you have ever had. It is the accumulation of crumbs from every table from which man has prepared a spiritual meal.

Maybe this makes no sense. I don’t know. But its inability to be tagged or labeled is precisely its strength and danger.

New Age Movement: A Definition

Let me briefly attempt to give a working definition of the New Age Movement.

Working Definition: The New Age Movement is a fusion of various spiritual and metaphysical ideas, with an emphasis on self-discovery and a holistic view of the universe with no ties to any organized group or central objectivity.

Characteristics of New Age

Personal Spirituality: It’s about finding your own path and truth, almost always outside traditional religious structures.

Universal Energy: New Age often involves a belief in a universal, spiritual energy influencing all aspects of life, guiding and connecting everything.

Eclecticism: It’s characterized by drawing from various traditions, merging Eastern and Western spiritualities, and ancient and modern thoughts.
Inner Peace and Healing: Practices like meditation, Reiki (energy healing), and yoga are common, focusing on achieving inner peace, balance, and healing both physically and spiritually.

Environmental Consciousness: Many New Age beliefs strongly emphasize nature and environmental awareness, seeing humanity as part of the Earth’s ecosystem.

Subjectivity: The New Age movement tends to transcend traditional religious definitions and dogmas, including those related to the nature of God. It often promotes a more experiential and less doctrinal approach to spirituality.

Pantheism and Panentheism: Many in the New Age movement hold pantheistic or panentheistic views, seeing God as synonymous with the universe, “mother earth” (Gaia), or as a presence that permeates all things, rather than as a distinct, personal deity.

Inner Divinity: New Age beliefs often emphasize the idea that divinity resides within each individual and that people can tap into their divine nature through spiritual practices and personal development.
In summary, “New Age” is like a spiritual agglomery, woven with threads from different beliefs and practices, tailored to individual journeys towards personal enlightenment and understanding of the universe.

Danger

The New Age Movement, I propose, presents the most significant danger to humanity in its history. Not only is it drastically difficult to define, all those who find the concept of organized religion easily fall into its web of deception.

With its diversification over the past two decades of the internet, New Age thought has continued to evolve and adapt, incorporating aspects of technology, science, and modern psychology.

Conclusion

It is my current admonition to you to look toward many of the most significant changes that are presently occurring in society. From the current movement of cross-dimensionality, subjective gender identification, the rise of the “Nones,” NDE studies, post-humanity, to the increased paranormal recognition (UFOs, ghost hunting, human Ouija Boards, etc), I am not date setting, but I am saying we are going through the most significant change in human history. Something new is on the horizon and the “New Age Movement,” or whatever you want to call it, will be the most significant barrier Christianity has in the extension of the Great Commandment. However, it is also our biggest opportunity. Let’s keep this conversation going.

Other Possible Names:

  • Transcendentalism
  • Metaphisicalism (my preference)
  • Universal Spirituality
  • Leftoverism
  • Holistic Spirituality
  • Universal Mysticism
  • Cosmicanity
  • Enlighteners
  • Gaiaism (my second favorite)
  • Transcendara
  • Mystiquest
  • Soulunity
  • Cosmica
  • Etherise
  • Harmonis
  • Zenithos
  • Luminara
  • Omnispiritism
  • Etherealmism

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    5 replies to "What is the New Age Movement and Why it Matters More Today Than Ever"

    • Eric Quek

      Christianity is not a series of truths in the plural, but rather truth spelled with a capital T. Truth about total reality, not just about religious things.
      Once you reject God as Creator, then you have the necessary philosophical foundation for all that modern man has accomplished and for the Hell into which he is rapidly moving.
      Dr. Francis Schaeffer “Escape from Reason.”

      My response to Michael Patton incorporating Dr. Francis Schaeffer insights, particularly regarding the perceived dangers of the movement, the importance of understanding its root causes and the essential nature of truth in Christian worldview.
      While Michael proposes that the New Age Movement (NAM) represents the most significant danger to humanity in its history with the concern about its elusive nature and the potential for misleading people are valid, Dr. Francis Schaeffer perspective offers a broader view. Schaeffer observed cultural shifts and spiritual confusions in his time similar to those seen in the NAM. He would likely suggest that rather than being the greatest danger, the NAM is a symptom of a deeper issue: The separation of spiritual values from factual truth—the “two-story” house. The upper story (faith, values, meaning) is disconnected from the lower story (rationality and empirical facts), provides a valuable framework for understanding the root cause of the attractiveness of the NAM. This separation leads to a yearning for integration, for something that binds the spiritual and the empirical into a cohesive whole. By recognizing this Christians can have a better understanding and the appeal of the NAM. This NAM offers a form of spirituality that seems to reconnect the fragmented parts of our existence. In order to leverage this understanding means acknowledging the legitimacy of the spiritual search while offering a more integrated, truthful alternative.
      The NAM and the rise of NONES can be seen as a collective expression of what we learn from Michael Patton article: “Properly Basic Belief in God.” (Is Belief in God a Properly Basic Belief—post) —an inherent sense that there is more to reality than the material world. May people are drawn to the New Age because they are searching for Truth with a capital “T” a comprehensive understanding of reality that encompasses all aspects of life, not just religious or spiritual questions. The challenge for us as Christians is to live authentically, reflecting a faith that addresses all of life’s dimension thereby showing that Christianity is not just another series of truths but is the Truth they seek. We need to reevaluate our own lives, ensuring they’re not living in a “two-story” reality where their faith is disconnected from daily life. This is exemplified by Michael Patton who was transparent with his short comings– “drug addiction” not because of his moral or physical weakness, but by the failing from the medical establishment. He situation should have been properly anticipated which was not, easier to continue writing prescription, diagnosed because his system is naïve to narcotic. If properly managed and not rush through like most of us who spend usually less than 10 minutes. Instead, he was left mercilessly blaming himself and feeling he let everyone down. (For more see: My Addiction 6 years later) This transparency, authenticity, gave us a glimpse of his journey that demonstrated a commitment to living authentically and truthfully, even when such openness might and did risk financial or social support. This dedication to living speaks volumes about the importance of integrity in faith.
      Similarly, whether it is NAM or NONES witnessing such holistic living as demonstrated by Michael can be a compelling testimony to when those who see such holistic living as demonstrated by Michael it would be very compelling to testimony to what Christ desire us to be.

    • Bibliophile

      Theme music: Crossraods, Bone Thugz ‘N’ Harmony

    • Bibliophile

      I think I side with Erik Quek on this one, in so far as he argues that Schaeffer offers a broader perspective. I tend to view the Western philosophical tradition – especially post-Enlightenment – as creating a barrier to dialogue and understanding when it comes to a proper appreciation of Eastern religion and philosophy. Most Westerners assume they can label these Eastern faith traditions as “pantheistic”, etc; but the truth is, they have no idea about Eastern culture and so just misconceive the whole thing. So, for example, if I were to say that Hanuman is a Christ-figure: a Western Christian would probably reject that…

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