There's no way in one blogpost a to discuss the wide variety of beliefs and practices that are typically associated with New Age spirituality. New Age thinking is so diverse, so fluid, and so unique to each individual practitioner that it is probably not possible to make any general statement about the religion of the New Age that could not be challenged by someone pointing out significant exceptions to the rule. Nevertheless, a few common features dominate so much of New Age spirituality that they need to be highlighted as key characteristics of the mainstream of the movement.
Pantheism, for example, is the common belief of many, but not all, in the New Age movement. This, of course, is the view that God is everything and everything is God. (God is immanent in this view, but not transcendent.) Thus the universe itself—all of nature—constitutes the true God, so that there is no valid distinction between the Creator and creation.
Other New Agers would hold instead to panentheism, the belief that God is in everything and everything is in God. The difference here is that panentheists retain some notion of a kind of divine transcendence, so that God is thought to be Someone or (more likely) something—an impersonal force—bigger than the universe.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
New Age? Old Age
Great series of posts about what's wrong with New Age religion and philosophy from Phil Johnson at Pyromaniacs Blog: