No God but All: Eastern Mysticism and the New Age Movement

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

— Dorothy (Judy Garland), in The Wizard of Oz (1939)[1]

 

 

Although atheistic humanism has been and continues to be an influential movement challenging the Christian faith at its core, in terms of sheer numbers atheism has never been able to win a large voluntary following in any society. The defunct Soviet Union and the still-Communist China are examples of nations where atheism was imposed on the people as the official state position (religion?) by ideologues for whom atheism as much a political statement as a spiritual one, if not more so.

A much more successful alternative worldview to atheism is pantheism. Whereas atheism denies that there is any God at all, pantheism (from the Greek pan, "all," and theos, "God") holds that God is in some way the one reality in or underlying or manifested through all things. Pantheism is closely related to the concept of monism (from the Greek monos, "one"), according to which ultimately reality is one, not many. Pantheism has been understood and articulated in many different forms, the main difference being the extent to which the many different things of this world are regarded as real or as illusory.

Pantheism from New Delhi to New York

In the United States it is clear that pantheistic thought is rising. In the survey discussed in the previous chapter, whereas only about 5 percent of Americans did not believe in God or did not know what they believed, some 12 percent of Americans professed to believe in a divine spirit or force rather than in a personal God. [2] Most or all of these Americans evidently hold to a pantheistic worldview rather than a theistic one. Even larger numbers of Americans accept elements of pantheistic religious or philosophical thought. For example, for some time now roughly one in four Americans has believed in reincarnation, and the number may soon be closer to one in three.[3] It is therefore likely that far more than 12 percent of Americans have a worldview that is more pantheistic than theistic.

Worldwide, pantheistic religions have an even stronger hold, especially in the East, where they have dominated for about 2,500 years. Hinduism, which in its early history was crudely polytheistic and which retains polytheistic elements, from about 600 BC developed a more refined pantheistic worldview in which the gods were merely high forms of the one divine reality, Brahman, of which human beings and everything else are a part. There are roughly three-quarters of a billion Hindus in the world, most of whom live in Asia, though well over a million Hindus live in North America. Buddhism, which numbers over 300 million worldwide (almost all in Asia), throughout its history has been interpreted in both atheistic and pantheistic ways. Pantheistic beliefs in the divinity of nature and in spiritual powers latent in physical things have a long history in pre-Christian pagan Europe, beliefs that have enjoyed a revival throughout the West during the past two centuries. All told, about one-fifth of the world's population appears to adhere to a pantheistic worldview, and the number may be considerably higher.

The New Age: From Minor Cults to Cultural Megashift

In the United States, less than two million people are actually members of Eastern pantheistic religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. The vast majority of the roughly 25 to 35 million Americans (at least) who espouse some form of pantheistic religion are either members of Christian denominations (though perhaps only nominally) or have no commitment to any religious institution.

On the cutting edge of the growth of pantheistic religious belief and practice in America is what is commonly known as the New Age movement. Although this label appears to date from the early 1980s, it is not so much a new phenomenon as a further development of America's long history of fascination with pantheistic thought.

The roots of the New Age movement go back to the rise of alternative religions and philosophies in the nineteenth century. Among these were Transcendentalism, a philosophical and cultural movement associated with Ralph Waldo Emerson that emphasized idealist and intuitive thought, and the metaphysical cults, notably New Thought and Unity (a sect with origins in both Christian Science and Hindu thought). The Unity School of Christianity (and the related Unity Church) is essentially a New Age religion utilizing Christian terminology. But the nineteenth-century institution closest to a parent or grandparent of the New Age movement was Theosophy. Building on a growing interest in spiritualism (contacting departed spirits) in America, Helena P. Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society in 1875 (the same year in which Mary Baker Eddy published Science and Health, which would inspire Unity and other metaphysical teachings). Out of the Theosophical Society came such related movements as anthroposophy (Rudolf Steiner) and the Ascended Masters or "I AM" groups. All of these institutions and teachings have remained to this day and have contributed to the stream of mystical, generally pantheistic religious teachings and practices that have flowed together to become the New Age movement.

After the rise of the metaphysical cults, the theosophical groups, and other precursors to the New Age in the 1870s and 1880s, the next major impetus to the New Age movement came in the countercultural occult explosion of the mid to late 1960s and the early 1970s. The increasing secularization of the West in the postwar years created a spiritual vacuum into which rushed an incredible diversity of religious movements emphasizing spiritual experience. On the Christian side, the 1960s was the decade of the outbreak of Pentecostal experiences (speaking in tongues, prophesying, healing ministries, and the like) in the mainline denominations — what became known as the charismatic movement. During the same decade, millions of Americans turned to Eastern religions to find spiritual experiences. The Beatles produced such songs as "My Sweet Lord," a song of devotion to Krishna, a Hindu god proclaimed in the West by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), better known as the Hare Krishnas. Numerous gurus and swamis came to America teaching the message of our oneness with the divine All in a form tailored for the West: Transcendental Meditation (TM), for example, essentially involved chanting to a Hindu god, but it was packaged and promoted as a scientifically proven stress-relieving relaxation technique.

The 60s and early 70s also experienced an explosive growth of interest in the occult. The occult became a multimillion dollar market, seen for example in occult bookstores selling tarot cards and other paraphernalia as well as books, or such occult-theme films as Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Exorcist (1973). Certain new humanistic religions utilized the demonic categories, not so much because they believed in the Devil, but as a symbol of their anti-Christian perspective. These included Satanism (appealing mainly to men) and Wicca (appealing mainly to women). The latter actually has more mystical overtones, and is closely related to neopaganism and goddess worship. By the 1980s some feminist theologians in mainline liberal church settings began taking interest in these alternative religions because their use of feminine images of the divine served the feminist agenda of displacing masculine, supposedly patriarchal or chauvinistic ways of thinking and speaking about God.

The New Age movement is, then, an incredible diffuse and variegated phenomenon in Western society, rooted in both Asian religion and philosophy and Western European paganism. It also makes connections with Native American religion, tribal religions of Africa, and mystical traditions of medieval origin within the monotheistic religions of the West. These mystical traditions include the Kabbalah in Judaism, the Sufis in Islam, and certain Catholic mystics whose thought tended toward pantheism.

Those who are self-consciously part of the New Age movement probably number in the hundred of thousands, but the number of Americans whose worldview is New Age or close to New Age is likely in the tens of millions. The significance of the New Age movement is less a matter of its conscious adherents as it is the fact that the movement represents the tip of the iceberg of a megashift in Western, and especially American, society. Instead of seeing less and less of life in religious or sacred terms, the new direction is to think of all of life, and indeed all of existence, in a sacred or spiritual way. If secularization seemed to be crowding God out of the cosmos, the new sacralization represented by the New Age encourages us to equate God with the cosmos.

What the old materialistic, secular humanism and the new spiritual, religious humanism have in common is the desire to find personal fulfillment and world harmony on our own terms — with God as a source of power or wisdom, perhaps, but not as the standard of truth and values or the ruler of the world. Thus the New Age movement is part of a larger trend in Western culture seeking to find religious meaning and fulfillment apart from submission to the transcendent Creator, Judge, and Savior of biblical Christianity.

There is no one New Age religion or organization to unify the movement. Nor is there any creed or formal principles or scriptures or any other documents that could be regarded as foundational for the New Age. Because of the noncentralized and amorphous nature of the movement, generalizations about what New Agers believe or what they do are notoriously difficult. Still, there are patterns of belief and a basic worldview that can be discerned as common to most of the groups and writings that consider themselves New Age. On the other hand, some Christian publications purporting to expose New Age groups grossly overgeneralize and label groups as New Age that are anything but New Age. An extreme but unfortunately widely available example is Texe Marrs Book of New Age Cults and Religions, which erroneously includes Christian Science, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other unorthodox groups that are not New Age.[4] We will try to avoid such loose use of the term New Age while keeping in mind the bewildering diversity and far-reaching influence of New Age ideas and practices.

The overgeneralization of the New Age label typified by Texe Marrs is actually one aspect of a larger picture in which Marrs and other writers depict the New Age movement as a massive, worldwide conspiracy intent on taking over the world. On their view the New Age movement is preparing the stage for the Antichrist, and therefore every false religion, every cult, every heretical movement, will eventually find their way into the one-world religion whose basic principles are now being enunciated in the New Age movement. Even many Christian experts on the New Age movement who deny that a human conspiracy is at work speak of a demonic or Satanic conspiracy that will culminate in a one-world government which will persecute Christians.[5]

The main problem with such approaches to the New Age movement is that it misunderstands the basic structure and character of the movement. In her 1980 book Marilyn Ferguson called the movement The Aquarian Conspiracy, not because there was any monolithic organization working secretly to take over the world, but because there were so many different people who were working together toward the same goals without their common purpose being publicly known.[6] While Scripture does teach that false teachers and prophets will arise, it is at least highly debatable to claim that the Bible warns us to look for all false religion to merge into a single Satanic system.

Gods Are Us?

The basic worldview of the New Age movement is pantheism, the belief that in some sense all of reality is ultimately One and Divine. Although the simplest definition of pantheism is that God is all and all is God, pantheism is actually understood and articulated in a variety of ways, most of which allow for some recognition or differentiation of the world and the multiplicity of things in the world. What is essential to pantheism is the idea that underlying the manyness which we perceive through our senses is a divine oneness that unifies all things and that can be accessed through religious or spiritual means.

In Eastern religion, pantheism has usually been understood in a life-negating way. The goal of religious practice in Hinduism, for example, is to escape the wheel of reincarnation which repeatedly traps our spirits in this inglorious life and to achieve freedom in perfect oneness with Brahman (God). Likewise, in Buddhism life is characterized as suffering (the first of the Four Noble Truths) and the goal of Buddhist discipline is to escape the suffering by achieving oblivion to the cares of this world. In Hinduism, and even more so in Buddhism, strict disciplines of self-denial are indispensable to the spiritual life.

By contrast, pantheism in the Western, New Age setting has been interpreted in a life-affirming way. The world is divine, the earth and its many living things are divine, and human beings themselves are divine. Every aspect of life is to be enjoyed. The difference is at its startlingly clearest in the matter of sexuality. Whereas sexual activity even in marriage is viewed in Hinduism and Buddhism as an impediment to spiritual progress, in New Age thought the divinity of all life is understood to encourage sexuality and even sexual freedom. Whereas Eastern religion endorses the same traditional morality found in Western culture (sex is for marriage only), New Agers view sex in extremely permissive ways and are almost universally supportive of the gay and lesbian "alternative lifestyle." New Age art and literature often views God and the world in sensual, even erotic, terms.

The penetration of pantheistic thought in Western culture has been pervasive. One recent example comes from the autobiography of Brett Butler, the star of the ABC sitcom Grace Under Fire:

Once, when I was about ten, I asked my mother what religion she was. After pausing a moment, she said, "I'm a pantheist. That means that God is in everything." I liked that idea. It cleared things up for me.[7]

It is evident from this passage that despite the enormous philosophical difficulties besetting any form of pantheism — and despite its clear contradiction of the Bible — many people simply find it easier to believe pantheism than monotheism. It is not that pantheism is more rational — many pantheists themselves would insist that rationality is misleading in matters of ultimate reality — but that pantheism is more comfortable. Many of us in the West simply find it more to our liking.

Another point that Butler's statement illustrates is that there is really not much difference in the popular mind between pantheism and what more technically would be called panentheism (the belief that God is "in" all things). Panentheism recognizes God and the world as distinct concepts, but then holds that God is the spirit or soul or divine energy or mind that fills and pervades and expresses itself in the world. On this view God and the world are interdependent, needing each other to form a complete reality. Thus the standard analogy for panentheism is the idea that a human being is both a spirit (or mind) and a body, with neither doing anything without the other. God is not a personal Creator of the world, but the divine potential of the world and of each one of us. Most people in the popular culture could not clearly distinguish pantheism from panentheism, and in most contexts the difference is of little practical significance. This is why the former Catholic priest, Matthew Fox, can be an advocate of New Age thinking while technically holding to panentheism rather than pantheism.[8]

One of the most famous examples of pantheism in the popular culture is the religious philosophy of "the Force" in George Lucas's Star Wars trilogy, originally released from 1977 to 1983 and re-released with enhanced sound and visual effects in early 1997. Although the Force is never called God, those who believe in it and seek to use it are said to be followers of a "religion," and the teacher of "the ways of the Force" is a 900-year-old "Jedi Master" called Yoda who functions much as a Zen Buddhist master. At one point in the second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Yoda explains to the hero Luke Skywalker how the Force works:

For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter! You must feel the Force around you — here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere — yes, even between the land and the ship.

The idea that we are really "luminous beings," that is, beings of light, is a common New Age theme. The all-pervasive energy of the Force is evidently the same energy that powers the luminosity of our real selves. Here again a common New Age idea is suggested: not only is the cosmos God, human beings are Gods. Such language sounds contradictory from a Christian perspective (is God one or many?), but this paradox is common to Eastern philosophy and is carried enthusiastically in New Age thought. To say that all is God and that we are Gods really means the same thing in New Age thinking, because each of us is one with the All and is therefore God. This is what Swami Muktananda meant when he said, "Kneel to your own self. Honor and worship your own being. God dwells within you as You!"[9]

If we are Gods, the question naturally arises as to why most of us are unaware of our divinity. In New Age thinking the answer is that we have forgotten who we are. How this divine amnesia occurred is explained in a variety of ways, though usually it is thought that living in these material bodies itself induces the forgetfulness. For some New Agers, living without the conscious recollection of our Godhood is part of the experience of this life which we chose. Many New Agers believe that we are reincarnated many times in order to gain a diversity of experience that will enrich us even though we live each life one at a time. The variations are potentially endless, and New Agers generally don't argue these questions with one another. Diverse and even contradictory beliefs are for them part of the mosaic, a testimony to the fact that each of us creates his or her own reality, that we are indeed our own God. The only view that New Agers find offensive is the monotheistic claim that God is a transcendent, person being external to (or distinct from) our world and ourselves.

Why do New Agers take offense at monotheism? On one level, of course, anyone who thinks of himself or herself as God is likely to be annoyed at those who deny them this status. Christians are quite right to see the New Age worldview as inherently idolatrous. But New Agers also reject monotheism because they associate it with beliefs and values that they believe are destructive to our world and human life. One very important area in which New Agers press this claim is their concern for the environment.

The Greening of God

The New Age movement is a major religious expression of the countercultural trend the bloomed in the 1960s and which at its core represented a radical rejection of the materialistic culture of the West. Crucial to this counterculture was a concern for the environment — what was known as ecology. Environmentalists have been warning for decades that we are polluting our water, air, and soil, destroying our ozone layer, destroying habitats for wildlife species in rain forests and other places, hunting whales and other species to extinction, and in general rushing headlong toward the destruction of our own world.

Beginning with a 1967 article in Science by Lynn White,[10] many environmentalists have argued that the Christian belief in a sovereign Creator God who authorized the human race to exercise dominion over nature (cf. Gen. 1:26-29) is responsible for the West's "rape" of the global environment. If this is so, it follows that a key to saving the planet is to abandon the biblical view of God for an ecologically sensitive one — a view that regards the earth itself as alive, as divine, and all living things as manifestations of God. Tom Hayden, a famous California environmentalist, has recently stated the matter quite plainly. Under the heading, "Tenets to Be Overcome," the first is monotheism.

The doctrine of an external, original creator, who set the universe in motion at a certain time in the past, creates a consistent dualism between creation/mind and nature/matter throughout Western culture. . . . Ecology would suggest, in contrast, that spirit, soul, consciousness, and creativity are part of the mystery of evolution, not outside the process, and that creation is ongoing, not simply an epic event in our past.[11]

Much of the New Age critique of the West's anti-environmental theology has been shaped through interaction with Native American religions. In Native American thought the Earth is commonly regarded as sacred or even divine, and American use of the land is criticized not merely for threatening our own ecosystem but for violating sacred places and sacred things, and for failing to respect the rights of the animals, all of whom are regarded as sacred as well. A not so subtle example of this message occurred in Disney's animated feature Pocahontas (1995). In the Academy Award-winning song "Colors of the Wind," Pocahontas chides the Englishman John Smith for his materialistic view of the earth:

You think you own whatever land you land on;

the earth is just a dead thing you can claim;

But I know every rock and tree and creature

has a life, has a spirit, has a name.

Technically, this view of all things as possessing their own spirits is known as animism. Attributing life to rocks as well as trees and animals may seem extreme, but in much Native American thought, and now in New Age belief, the Earth itself is viewed as a living organism and as divine. This view of the Earth as divine is closely related to the popular idea of Mother Nature. The choice of "Mother" rather than Father is deliberate and important: in New Age religion feminine images of the divine are preferred over masculine images. New Agers prefer to think of us as birthed by God, not made by God. The Earth as "Gaia" is regarded as a divine mother, sustaining our life, but requiring our love and affection and respect (or worship) in return.

Hayden recognizes that orthodox Christians have responded to the concerns of environmentalists (and even admits to the existence of what he calls "green fundamentalists,"[12] that is, environmentally responsible evangelical Christians), but judges their response inadequate and essentially supportive of the status quo. In his view there are only three positions possible on the human race's relationship to the environment. First, we may view ourselves as "lords of the universe," exercising "lordly dominion" over nature and using and disposing of whatever we find in nature as it suits our purpose. Second, we may view ourselves as "stewards of nature," responsible to make the best use of nature we can without destroying it. This may sound better, and Hayden agrees it is better than the lordly stance, but he argues that it assumes a "paternalistic" superiority of humanity over nature that is arrogant and scientifically untenable. A stewardship model still allows human beings to regard nature as something to be used. The third approach, which Hayden champions, is to view human beings as having "kinship with nature," a model that sees humanity and the rest of the species of life in the earth as "interdependent." If on the view of the Lords and Stewards of nature we may do what we want with the salmon, for instance, on the interdependency model "we are kin to salmon."[13]

As Christians we may respond to Hayden by simply arguing that he has stacked the deck in his analysis of the options. Stewardship in Christian usage makes human beings servants of God and therefore does not permit them to do with creation what they will. Genesis does not authorize human beings to destroy the environment or annihilate species of life. "Dominion" does imply that human beings have a priority or unique place in the created order, but that need not be applied in the abusive way it undoubtedly has been.

Think No Evil, Be No Evil

There is something strangely inconsistent about the New Age mystical, romantic view of nature. On the one hand, we are told that human beings should think of themselves as part of nature, interdependent with the rest of living things and the earth itself. On the evolutionary view of earth life accepted by New Agers as a given (even if they see some immanent divine principle guiding the process), human beings are no less a part of nature than the salmon, who are our kin (if not exactly our brothers). Every part of nature helps every other part of nature, and together the whole is rich and beautiful and good. This romantic view of nature as inherently good and self-sustaining is eloquently expressed in the animated Disney film The Lion King (1994). In this film the lion Mufasa instructs his cub Simba about the importance of respect for all living things, and answers the obvious objection that lions eat some of those living things:

Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope. . . . When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so, we are all connected in the great circle of life.

Yet, at the same time, we are warned that the human race is in danger of becoming the species that actually destroys its own world. We are warned that alone among all the living things in the universe, human beings exhibit a wanton disregard for their habitat and for other living things. This concern is expressed in The Lion King in parable form, with lions, as the strongest animal in the wild, representing the human race. When Scar, a self-centered lion with no respect for other life (he is seen playing with a mouse before eating it, for example), manages to become king, he temporarily upsets the circle of life by allowing the hyenas unrestricted access to the pride lands. The message is clear enough: Human beings who exploit the earth with no regard for the ecological consequences are no better than a pack of hyenas.

But another obvious question, if a more difficult one, then arises: Aren't hyenas part of the circle of life? Or, to put the matter in a non-metaphorical way, aren't the selfish, greedy Western capitalists who are accused of seeking to exploit the land (and who are, we would agree, at least partly guilty as charged) part of the circle of life? How, in the romantic picture of all living things from the grass to the antelope to the lion as part of a lush and self-sustaining interdependent ecosystem, directed if at all by an immanent living force of harmony and love, does part of that system rebel and threaten the destruction of the whole?

The idea of the human race as a threat to weaker animals is expressed in yet another animated Disney film, this one the much earlier Bambi (1942). In the chilling words of Bambi's mother explaining to her young son the reason for the animals' fear: "Man was in the forest." While the film Bambi cannot be described as "New Age," the ominous view of what "Man" has become in relation to nature is one that strikes a chord with New Agers. But again, why is the human race — or at least the greater part of it — like this? Why does every other animal take its place without resistance in the circle of life except humanity?

This is a question to which no sensible answer seems possible in the context of the New Age worldview. If all is God, and we are God, then why would we choose to threaten our own environment? Why would God threaten the life of God? In short, if all is God, why is there evil? Pantheism may seem comforting to some, but it has no reasonable or even plausible answer to this question. Only if the world is not God, but is a realm created by God in which creatures are free to rebel, can the stark reality of evil be explained.

New Age attempts to explain evil are generally far-fetched and often are nothing short of ludicrous. On New Age premises we all choose our physical life; we create our own reality, and each of us makes choices that will contribute to the whole. But why would anyone who is God choose to become Adolf Hitler, or Jeffrey Dahmer? And how can we say that the terribly destructive acts of such persons are anything but evil? Yet one of the principal answers of New Agers to the problem of evil is to deny that it exists. Since we create our own reality, nothing will be evil for us unless we believe it to be evil. This is the message of such New Age books as A Course in Miracles, a book of New Age psychobabble purporting to have been "channeled" to its author, Helen Schuchman, by Jesus himself. How strangely inconsistent with the teaching of the real Jesus, who could say plainly, for example, that "a good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things" (Matt. 12:35).

If New Agers naively view themselves as God and blindly deny the obvious reality of evil in the human heart and the human race, then it is not surprising to find them completely distorting the teachings and significance of Jesus Christ. For them he is an example of how to live like a God, not our sovereign God come down to redeem us from our pretensions to Godhood. The New Age movement gladly confesses Jesus to be God, but then goes on to explain that, of course, so am I and so are you! What is most shocking is that this way of looking at Jesus is gaining a foothold in Christian churches, particularly in the mainline denominations where the desire for unity with people of all religions and an antipathy to the exclusive and sovereign claims of the biblical Christ are leading more and more liberal churchgoers to heed the siren call of the New Age.

While no one strategy provides a foolproof response to this New Age heresy, perhaps one of the most important ways of answering such errors is to use a kind of "intellectual shock therapy." Every horrific tragedy in the news is another graphic illustration of the reality of evil. Every time a child is killed by a stray bullet or a drunk driver, we should ask if that child chose to die that way. Every New Ager with children (there are a few) should be asked why they try to protect their children from a world which the children are creating for themselves. Every New Ager outraged at the intolerance of the so-called Religious Right should be asked why they virtually demonize a whole religious and cultural community if we are all God and we all create our own truth. C. S. Lewis once wrote that our world is "incorrigibly plural,"[14] a truth that flies in the face of the monistic, pantheistic world view of the New Age. He might also have added that our world is incorrigibly other. It refuses to be what we expect, confronts us with sometimes unpleasant realities, and simply does not conform to our will.

Someone once said that the two most important truths are that there is a God and that we are not him. To these we may add a third: There is a world, and it operates by God's rules, not ours. To confess these fundamental truths is the beginning of wisdom, and this is what the New Ager and so many others in our society desperately need to hear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes to Chapter 5: No God But All



[1]Quoted by New Age scholar Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher, 1980), 85. Cf. also Timothy R. Phillips and Dennis L. Ockholm, eds., Christian Apologetics in the Postmodern World (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995), 15.

[2]George H. Gallup, Jr., Religion in America 1996 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Religion Research Center, 1996), 24.

[3]Norman L. Geisler and J. Yutaka Amano, The Reincarnation Sensation (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1986), 7-8.

[4]Texe Marrs, Texe Marrs Book of New Age Cults and Religions (Austin, TX: Living Truth Publishers, 1990).

[5]The two trendsetting works of this genre were both released in 1983: Constance Cumbey, The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow (Shreveport, LA: Huntington House, 1983); Dave Hunt, Peace, Prosperity, and the Coming Holocaust (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1983). Since then Texe Marrs has emerged as the most prolific and visible proponent of this approach to the New Age movement. The best critique of this approach from an evangelical Christian perspective is found in Elliot Miller, A Crash Course on the New Age Movement: Describing and Evaluating a Growing Social Force (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989).

[6]Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy , especially 19-21.

[7]Brett Butler, Knee Deep in Paradise (New York: Hyperion, 1996), 12.

[8]E.g., Matthew Fox, Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality (Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Company, 1983); The Coming of the Cosmic Christ (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988).

[9]Quoted in Douglas R. Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 21.

[10]Lynn White, "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis," Science 155 (March 10, 1967):1203-7, reprinted in Ecology and Religion in History, ed. David and Eileen Spring (New York: Harper & Row, 1974).

[11]Tom Hayden, The Lost Gospel of the Earth: A Call for Renewing Nature, Spirit, and Politics (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1996), 50. The Sierra Club, it should be noted, is one of the leading environmental organizations in the United States.

[12]He notes Calvin De Witt, ed., The Environment and the Christian (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991), as presenting this viewpoint well, though he does not seem to interact with it.

[13]Hayden, The Lost Gospel of the Earth, xxi-xxii, 97-99.

[14]C. S. Lewis, Miracles: A Preliminary Study, 2d ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1947), 169, as cited in Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age, 20.

 

God, I Don't Understand

This book explores the mysteries of the Bible: The God-Man, the Trinity, divine sovereignty versus human responsibility, the resurrection body, time, space (the creation and omnipresence versus localization), the transcendent-immanent God, positional versus experiential truth, and the Word of God. 237 pages.