I need a definition of “New Age”. I am talking with a fellow Catholic while our daughters are in ballet class and we are stumped to come up with a good definition. The topic came up when I found out she attended a supposed Catholic retreat when in fact the sister has been influenced by and is presenting a new age philosphy.
Can any one help? My brain struggles to remember the definition and I haven’t found anything when I do a search.
“new age” = “whatever I want to believe”
[quote=DavidFilmer]“new age” = “whatever I want to believe”
Here’s a dictionary answer:
*]Of or relating to a complex of spiritual and consciousness-raising movements originating in the 1980s and covering a range of themes from a belief in spiritualism and reincarnation to advocacy of holistic approaches to health and ecology.
[/list]Although I have to admit David’s definition hit the mark with most people I know involved. Thanks and God Bless.
The link below is to a Vatican document from 2003 about Catholicism and New Age. It is an excellent resource that you should read and share with your friend. It clearly explains that Catholicism and the New Age Movement are not compatible, and that the retreat she attended was not “Catholic” (regardless of the fact that it was run by a nun).
New Age is a catch-all term for an “All religions are One” philosophy, supposedly based on the coming of the Astrological “Age of Aquarius”, which replaces the current “Age of Pisces” (the Fish - Christianity).
New Age binds together Hinduism, Shamanism, Wicca, Neo-paganism, Goddess Worship and other things into one whole. It tries to entice Cristians in by saying Jesus was one aspect of God, just as the other “great teachers” were.
In fact it takes nothing from Christianity but the idea of an over-all God. It is really a cover-all for paganism and witchcraft. some of thise who want Catholicism to “open-up” to other religions, and promote “multifaith” worship, are really advocates of “New Age spirituality”
“New Age” puts you on a steep alope to worshipping other gods, and diluting Christianity into a basically pagan religious system.
New agers who I’ve encountered generally pursue new age philosophy out of an honest pursuit (of truth). We must keep in mind that people do not wake up one day and decide “Gee, I’m going to be a heretic.” With that in mind, we should remember to explain our faith (and problems with other belief systems) with gentleness and reverence (1 Pet 3:16).
Notwithstanding that, new age is a very dangerous belief system. The article noted above from the Vatican points out many of the incompatibilities between Christianity and new age thought.
Many of principles in new age are not technically “new” but its popularity today has grown, particularly in the U.S., based on what I perceive as cultural reasons. Many of the “middle age” (late thirties, early forties) new agers that I encounter generally have some nominal exposure to Christianity in their upbringing. New age has the particular appeal that it allows someone to claim to be “spiritual” yet not have to account to any authority. This combination is appealing because the spiritual aspect gives someone the moral basis for the activity (I’m doing something good), and at the same time dictate the mores of that activity because it is entirely self-governing. The flaws of such as system should be self-evident.
Another aspect that draws some folks to new age is the emphasis on “feeling” and “experience.” Some describe the so-called spiritual experience as “euphoric” - drug like - which is why it appeals to many who grew up in the sixties and seventies. It is in these altered states of consciousness which is most troubling (from a Christian perspective) because one is not only physically susceptible, but spiritually susceptible to evils since both the intellect and the will are dulled, and therefore judgement is clouded.
Common among new agers who have had some exposure to Christianity is a sense that new age thought is superior to Christianity in (at least) one of two ways. First, some hold that the biblical account is mere fiction and that even if the account is accurate, that the text is riddled with so many contradictions, rendering belief in Christianity intellectually unpalatable. In any case, the notion of an authoritative church is counter to a self-governing worldview. Others hold that the bible may be historical, but the Catholic church has “twisted” its teaching and message (or at a minimum, does not carry the true message today). This latter group are not unlike the early Church Gnostics claiming to have the true understanding of Christ’s message. Conceding that I’m not doing justice to their entire thought system, I would summarize their basic message as “all is one and one is all.” Some may even quote John 17:20-23. Hence, everything and everyone should be respected equally; all things and all people have equal dignity (note the half truths). From this, the only moral law is “love” (quoting the Golden rule).
From this last point, another appeal is the simplicity of new age. No complicated rules or codes to follow, just love.
While the above observations provides the emotional and intellectual appeal of new age, the question still remains “what is truth?” and how does one come to know it? Such an explanation is beyond this medium, but what we can say is that a system which bases its ascertaining of truth strictly on self-governing feelings does not seem to do justice to Jesus’ salvific act on the cross. Ultimately, the reality of Jesus death and resurrection must be confronted, and the notion of “love all because all is one” is insufficient to deal with the reality of (and not the mere concept of) sin and evil.
It is important to caveat the above observations with the understanding that not all new agers fall into new age for the above reasons, just as not all Christians follow Christ for the same reasons. Nevertheless, understanding some of the attractions to new age thought is helpful for us to dialogue charitably with our friends, and also as a good check to make sure we don’t fall into the lure presented by new age philosophy.
Finally, I would stress reviewing the Vatican document cited above by thann from 2003 about Catholicism and New Age for a fuller understanding of the difference between the two approaches.
The best definition of “New Age” I’ve heard is, “A box of Corn Flakes without the corn.”
Go to the website on my sig.
With its emphasis on paganism and witchcraft, there isn’t much new about it. I suggest we call it what it is… “Old Age”.
[quote=Writer]With its emphasis on paganism and witchcraft, there isn’t much new about it. I suggest we call it what it is… “Old Age”.
As a matter of fact, it is quite old. Many aspects of the “new age” movement are simply the resurgence of many ancient gnostic practices.
[quote=Mickey]As a matter of fact, it is quite old. Many aspects of the “new age” movement are simply the resurgence of many ancient gnostic practices.
Whenever you meet someone who claims to be a Gnostic, ask him two questions:
Who created Heaven and Earth?
What is necessary for salvation?http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon12.gif
[quote=Axion]New Age is a catch-all term for an “All religions are One” philosophy, supposedly based on the coming of the Astrological “Age of Aquarius”, which replaces the current “Age of Pisces” (the Fish - Christianity).
Hmmm…Pisces, as everybody knows, is the last sign in the Zodiac year. Aquarius is the sign that immediately preceeds it, so, in essence, one who goes to New Age is moving backwards? Seems logical …Of course, I don’t know what to make of a Zodiac sign representing Christianity. OOOH!!! Aquarius is the water bearer, can it be Baptism instead? I’m thinking too much about this, aren’t I?
While attending the dispensationalist school, I recall, in Science class, listening to a tape called, “New Age or Old Lie” about how, like, in the New Age movement, basically the whole philosopy is that each one of us is a God who can control our own future and such and gets reincarnated until we get it right…best Dana Carvey Church Lady Hmmmmm…Telling us that we will not die and that we will be like God(s) if we just do something, now who could possibly be repeating this nonsense, I just don’t know. Could it be SATAN???