Spiritual seekers never imagine they are embracing darkness while chasing the light of the New Age movement. The seeds of New Age thought, carried from Russia to America by trickster Madame Helena P. Blavatsky in the late 19th century, blossomed in the ’70s, grew out of control in the ’90s, and continues to permeate Western culture today.
For many Americans, the month of October conjures images of falling leaves, pumpkin patches, and hoards of trick-or-treaters. Many celebrate Halloween as nothing more than a tradition of costume and candy, but it is worth considering if there is anything behind the forces mocked on All Hallows’ Eve.
A more detailed discussion on whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween can be found here.
Halloween is a time when the occult is thrust into the spotlight of mainstream America. In Kingdom of the Occult, Walter Martin provides a few facts about the occult:
- The word occult comes form the Latin word occultus, meaning hidden or secret things
- God defines the occult as having its origin with Satan
- Occultism often denies the deity of Christ, but it may also promote a blend of Christian and occult beliefs¹
Young children will wonder whether the ghoulish garb worn by neighborhood strangers reflects something real–something more sinister than a handful of candy corn. Older kids will consult Ouija boards and pretend not to be scared when a message appears. Others may dabble in spells, magic, or channeling.
It may be true that these activities are not what they seem, that the participants are being deceived, and that engaging in these activities should be avoided.
But it may also be true that there is something real behind the phenomena. The spirit world may not exist as you have seen it caricatured, but that does not make it unreal. In fact, if spirits exists, and evil exists, then there is every reason to believe that evil spirits exist. And what greater joy can fill an evil spirit than to convince humanity they are a force working for good? On a night full of treats, it is the ultimate trick.
But adults trade treats for tricks as often as children.
In Embraced by the Darkness: Exposing New Age Theology from the Inside Out, author Brad Scott describes his journey from Yogi to disciple after weathering the storms of an unsustainable worldview. Martin describes the beginning of the New Age movement by explaining it as:
“A strange blend of nineteenth century Spiritism, mysticism, and humanism…with an ancient goal: the penetration of all areas of culture–political, educational, and religious–with man at the center of the universe.”²
In his chapter titled One God to Fit All Sizes, Scott describes the psychology behind the New Ager’s adherence to Edgar Cayce’s philosophy that we are all co-creators with God:
“New Agers may often wax eloquent about the Higher Self, but they almost always return to qualified monism [the philosophy that "all is one"], and for good reason. They want to remain separate from God, not because they are devotees intent on worshiping God as the yoga-Vedantins seems to be, but because they literally want to be co-creators with God. They want, above all else, occult power, success, fame, wealth–in short, the good life. By remaining separate from God, they can follow and fulfill their own desires and disregard the commandments of God.”³ (brackets mine)
Scott explains further in the paragraphs titled “God the limitless, All-powerful Mind-Substance:”
They are more likely to identify with Shirley MacLaine, L. Ron Hubbard, or Anthony Robbins. They are more likely to want new clothes or cars, personal magnetism, psychic abilities, perfect health, or simple peace of mind. As a rule, then, they leave the theologizing to someone else. They want results.”4
Scott concludes the chapter with a concise description of the worldview as one which welcomes inconsistencies and exalts Self above all objective authority.
In New Age Politics: Healing Self and Society, author Mark Satin describes the movement as an escape from society’s six-sided prison whose boundaries were formed by:
- Patriarchal attitudes
- Scientific single-vision
- The bureaucratic mentality
- The big city outlook 5
The intentions of most New Agers are good, but the implications of their worldview, and hence the prospect of their promises fulfilled, is bad.
Despite their self-awareness and power purchased from Reiki Masters, despite the openness to experience and intuition and esoteric phenomena–one thing keeps the New Age worldview in tension with its own proclamations: its prejudice against orthodox Christianity. In New Age circles, dogma is a dirty word, and while they fail to see their own, they are quick to condemn that of orthodox Christianity.
Christianity also promotes self-awareness. But when the New Ager becomes aware of their sin, the guilt is too much to bear. There are several ways to deal with guilt:
- Admit your wrongdoing and seek forgiveness from the one whom you have violated.
- Deny your wrongdoing and live a life of deceit.
- Find a worldview which says there are no wrong actions and denounce guilt as the byproduct of ignorance.
Door number three is irresistibly accepted by the New Age worldview. Scott unpacks more about New Age thought:
“New Agers refuse to reason inductively (from a specific examples to general principles) or deductively (from general principles to specific examples). If something feels right, they embrace it. Hence, they are anti-rational and subjectivistic. In fact, in the worst sense of the term, they are dogmatic–that is, stubbornly closed-minded. They insist on the reality and absolute authority of their own private insights and visions, even when these contradict reason, common sense, and reality. When confronted with well-reasoned arguments and proofs, they smile benignly yet condescendingly.”6
In 1 Timothy 4:2, the apostle Paul tell us that it is possible for the conscience to be seared. Scott explains how the New Age mind can become unreceptive to God’s truth in his chapter “Snapshots of the Sun: The Relativity of Truth:”
“In his quest for self-fulfillment, then armed with glib rationalizations, he will violate hitherto inviolable moral laws and excuse the sins of others. In so doing, he will sear his conscience and lose the capacity to examine himself in light of God’s laws and repent of his moral lapses, all in the name of ‘spiritual evolution’ and ‘social progress.’ And all the while he will exult in his independence and inconsistency.”7
Be assured: New Age thought is more than crystals and tarot cards. It is a worldview fueled with power. It has the power to deceive well-meaning people, to destroy relationships, and to divide homes. Its power does not come from God, or the All-That-Is, or the Christ-Consciousness.
In the Book of Leviticus, God warned his people not to prostitute themselves with mediums or spirits. Instead, he called them to be holy, or set apart from those enslaved to evil enticements. God condemned occult practices including divination, fortune-telling, sorcery, and spell casting in Deuteronomy 18:10-11. And in 1 Chronicles 10:13, God explains that “Saul died for his unfaithfulness to the Lord because he did not keep the Lord’s word. He even consulted a medium for guidance, but he did not inquire of the Lord” (HCSB).
It is best to remember the wisdom contained in Proverbs 14:12:
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
New Age thought promises light, power, and healing; it promises a better you.
New Age philosophy can seem right, but its end is the way of death–first of reason, then of conscience, and, eventually, the soul.
Have you been ensnared by the lures of New Age thought? Does the sunk cost make you feel it’s impossible to escape? It’s never too late to search for the truth, and you can never be a Christ-like healer if you will not hear the words of Christ.
If you are reading this, he is speaking to you. Are you listening?
1 Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Occult (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008), Kindle ed., 175.
2 Ibid., 189.
3 Brad Scott, Embraced by the Darkness: Exposing New Age Theology from the Inside Out (Wheaton: Crossway, 1996), 60.
5 Mark Satin, New Age Politics: Healing Self and Society (New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1979), 23.
6 Scott, Embraced by the Darkness, 100.
7 Ibid., 20.
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