An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Christians - the reluctant greens VI

The New Age movement

Environmental action is seen by some Christians as synonymous with participation in the New Age movement, and hence they steer clear of any involvement.

But what is the New Age movement? Its name is based on the idea underlying much of the ‘movement’, namely, that we are looking forward to a ‘new age’ in which people will see things in a different light from the present age. This is sometimes called the ‘new consciousness’. However the term New Age is a misnomer. It is not new, but rather a hotch-potch of very old ideas including monism (all is one), panentheism (God is in all) and pantheism (all is God). The idea of a New Age has been traced back to the mid-­eighteenth century, to the poet and artist William Blake.

One ‘New Ager’, Jeremy Tarcher, the publisher of Marilyn Ferguson’s influential New Age book The Aquarian Conspiracy, describes four concepts that underlie much of the New Age philosophy:

(i) the everyday world and our personal consciousness are manifestations of a large ‘divine’ reality;
(ii) we have a hidden higher self that reflects or is connected to this reality;
(iii) this higher self can be awakened and assume a central part of our everyday lives; and
(iv) this awakening is the goal or purpose of human life.

The New Age philosophy is not new, and it is not a move­ment - it is far too diffuse and amorphous to be called a movement. What in the fifties was called ‘occult’, was called ‘mind expansion’ in the sixties, and in the eighties and nineties is ‘New Age’. It includes crystal healing, chanelling, astrology, Tarot, Tantric Yoga, earth worship, creative visualisation, transcendental meditation, hypnotherapy, theosophy, Eastern mysticism - the list is almost endless. Some Christians have over-reacted to it. Constance Cumbey writes that, ‘for the first time in history there is a viable movement - the New Age movement - that truly meets all the scriptural requirements for the antichrist and the political move­ment that will bring him on the world scene’. Cumbey falls into the trap of what the British philosopher Karl Popper describes as the ‘conspiracy theory of society' and in doing so she trivialises both history and biblical prophecy.

The New Age movement is best seen, not as a conspiracy, but as a shift in world-view.
There is no doubt that some of the New Age movement is not only dangerous, it could even be described as demonic, but that is not an excuse to abdicate our responsibility to care for God’s earth. As Christians we need to be on our guard against New Age thinking and its subtle ideas and influences, but we also need to be able to learn from what is good in it. Those involved in the green movement and in environ­mental action need to have a distinctly Christian world-view worked out, from which they can discern, critique and sift the New Age ideas that might try to creep up on them.

Many are involved in the so-called New Age movement because they have seen the futility of our contemporary ideas: ­economic growth at all costs, and technology as an answer to all our problems - and are looking for a more satisfying world-view. This is something that Christianity does have to offer. Indeed, Christianity is the only coherent and consistent world-view there is. Those who do not adhere to the Christian world-view will inevitably struggle to find meaning. Ultimately, it is only Christi­anity that has the answers that ‘New Agers’ are looking for.

There is no doubt about it that some New Agers are involved in the green movement and involved in environmental action, but that does not mean that all involved in it are New Agers, or that Christians should not be involved. Mormons do door-to-door visiting, but not all who are involved in door-to-door visiting are Mormons, and it doesn’t mean that Christians should never ‘door knock’. Video watching is part of our materialistic hedonistic society, but that doesn’t mean Christians should never watch videos.

New Age or not, Christians should be involved. The earth is the Lord’s-not the New Agers’ - and he has given it to us to care for. He has called us to be involved in his world; it is not a responsibility we can shirk. Like it or not we are inextricably linked with this planet. We are, after all, earthlings. We were created from the earth (Gen 2:7, 3:19; cf Eccles 3:20; Job 10:9), given the task to care for the earth (Gen 1:26,2:15); and it was humanity’s fall that resulted in the cursing of the earth (Gen 3:17); we have the task of taking the gospel of reconciliation to all the earth (Mk 16:15); and it is our liberation as sons of God, at the return of Jesus, that will release the earth from its frustration (Rom 8:21).


Constance Cumbey said...

With good friends like you, God hardly needs enemies. I suggest you read WITH UNDERSTANDING what probably an "intellectual" ally of yours, Martin Palmer, calls "the most dangerous book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation." In it, chapter 14, you will read: "Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of his judgment is come. Worship God who created the heavens, the earth, and the fountains of water . . ."

The folks you make common cause with (Jeremy Rifkin, Karl Popper)worship just about everything and everybody but the good Lord who created all. Last I saw with my own eyes on Karl Popper, he was building his retirement home on the mountain owned in Virginia by another staunch esotericist, Robert Monroe. Overreaction? If anything, I understated the case. If you are innocent, which I sincerely doubt, you have adopted the false gospel of those influenced by Jeremy Rifkin, who most clearly was a self-conscious New Ager fully dedicated to the eventual destruction of Christianity and enthronment of Lucifer. Think I am kidding. Read his books, THE EMERGING ORDER (most mild of the bunch but still revelatory as he told Christians how to rewrite their theology and too many like you dutifully complied); ENTROPY; and most telling of all: DECLARATION OF A HERETIC (most appropriately named as shown from the contents where he tells people to go to Blavatsky, David Spangler, Alice Bailey, etc., ad nauseum for further light.)

May God have mercy on your soul!

Bruce C Wearne said...

Dear Steve and Constance:
Well where's the conversation here?
Constance, Steve may have over-stated your "over-reaction to the New Age" but your reply is merely a confirmation of his view of your view. Moreover, as a lawyer you don't even try to consider his "evidence" (from his viewpoint)but appear to take the Judgement seat and pronounce him guilty of association with a whole range of convicted criminals. Steve, like most bloggers blogging into the aether, will have been glad for a reply - but saddened by this reply by someone who professionally should engaged in a better cross-examination.
Steve, I suggest, that your worthy blogs henceforth be fenced with greater care about alleged over-reactors.
Constance, elsewhere on Steve's ll of Life Redeemed site you will find the works of a Christian economist Bob Goudzwaard. Bob once had a book published for which the foreword was written by Maurice F Strong. Are you now going to use that as evidence to confirm your hasty conviction of Steve and dismiss this appeal? I have a good friend who is an Anthroposophist. I find his views worth considering although I've told him that I think his religion is just plain wrong. C S Lewis became a theist through a disciple of Rudolph Steiner. So is Lewis also to be bagged with all other New Agers too?
This kind of legalistic labelling of others doesn't help me see your position. And I would like to see your contribution to some genuine discussion here.

Constance Cumbey said...

Hey, thanks for the Maurice Strong lead. He was successfully, at least since 1972, telling Christians how to rewrite their theology. Sure helps with my latest research.

You guys do stick together, don't you? Fancy that a girl graduating from a rural Indiana high school with only 37 students in the class can go BOO and make so many jump!

Sorry, but it is called APOSTASY, at least this side of the Atlantic, that is!