Christless Christianity and Christ-Consciousness: Spirituality without Truth
‘The New Age Movement’ as it is introduced in the latter half of the 20th century claims to be a non-religious movement. In the gradual shifting of Christianity in the Western world, they emerged as a new way of life and world view with precepts borrowed from Eastern Spirituality and metaphysics and fluxing them with the Western Spirituality. Thus, it begins with a promise of new spirituality and new identity by radical transformation of an individual or human civilization through mystical union with a dynamic macrocosm. The Movement is gaining momentum in the East as well as in the West, so is succeeding promisingly to infiltrate the Christian minds sharing the hope of false spirituality. The haunting slogan of the sixties, “If it feels good, do it” is revived to entice the present day culture in the New Age movement with a slogan, “If you feel good, believe it.” In the heart of the New Age Movement, there is a yearning to seek the truth and be morally good, so the question really is if truth and morality are relative terms for them, then the struggle is endless, because they have nothing absolute to weigh their goodness with.
Without defining what the good is, it becomes irrelevant to explain how it is attained. Yet, the New Age Movement tends to choose the latter one and explains how it is achieved. They identify the disorderliness or the chaos of the world which they call “in crisis”; however, they deny the fallen state of the world.  And they are crouching at the doorsteps of our churches, Christian institutions, Medias, bookstore and blockbusters, yelling us from the podium that Christians are responsible for the world crisis.
The New Age Movement has long root in the Eastern mysticism and Greek Gnosticism. The term “New Age” itself is vague in its contents of their belief system. They do not have a particular doctrine, principles or rules within the movement, but the New Agers around the world have been faithful to the content. It is the synthesis between eastern mystic mind and western individualism. Apparently, this is the reason why the constructivism and relativism of the multifaceted New Age Movement that denies the objective truth of God, his nature as well as human nature.
The New Agers believe that modern technologies, ideas of materialism and rational scientific ideologies as well as dogmatism, especially Christianity, have overregulated and possibly distorted the potentiality of the “innate human desire for genuine spirituality or religiosity.” The vantage point here is that the New Age Movement stresses in a holistic values of human radical transformation – Enlightenment and emancipated existence through one’s own inner spiritual experience rather than any sort of religious set of belief or catechism.
By so far rejecting both the scientific ideologies and Christianity, the New Agers propose another explanation called the “third option” which is the synchronization of both aspects of the science and rationality or religion and spirituality. They insist that only the “third option,” if allowed to be the dominant wind of new spirituality, can fix the world crisis that dogmatic Christianity and scientific ideologies have produced by their ideological differences.
The world crisis, what they believe, is merely the byproduct of the clashing worldviews between science and religion. Otherwise, the world is good and flawless. As F. LaGard Smith writes that the New Age version of creation story has a god-force who is responsible in creating the whole cosmos. He puts it succinctly:
In the beginning, so it is said, the god-force was a sleeping, slumbering, pulsating ball of energy. When it roused itself, it exploded, in Big Bang fashion, into billions and billions of individualized points of consciousness – each of which became soul. These souls – all of which were God – found their way into the three dimensional earth-plane and soon began to think of themselves as three dimensional as well. When they began to think and act three-dimensionally, they forgot that they were God. Their Higher Selves became only lower selves – humans, with finite human thoughts.
The above passage evidently reflects the lowly standpoint of the New Age on Creator, creation, and human nature. It echoes the voice of secular humanism, typically “Darwinian” view of the creation. With much anticipation from evolutionary model, they champion that the living souls, gods emanated from the cosmic bang or “Big Bang” fashion. It is another way of saying that God is dead. When God is dead, other aspects of God are also buried with him. “By removing the Creator, God of the Bible, explicitly from the scene and applying the cosmic bang theory, they diminish the essence and dignity of humanity in to matter in motion”. The simplified lines would be: no God, no fall, and no sin; therefore, no need of Savior, reconciliation, and judgment.
The god-force is the prime force or the efficient cause from where all entities emanated. The source of all lives or souls – all of which were God – is the cosmos. The cosmos, in this sense, is “pure, undifferentiated, universal, and energy-interconnected” life-driving force. Since the cosmos manifested the lives, they also share the identical form with the god-force. So, there is no clear line between the creator and creation that makes both distinct from each other. And the “apparent opposite disappear,” says John P. Newport “The New Age bottom line can be stated in three words: “all is one (monism).” As a result, no distinction can be made between God and human being in spite of monistic idea.
Another impression of the New Age Movement is its pantheistic notion of God. He is the “Ultimate Unifying Principle” that unifies the whole creation. Since all souls, all gods, all human beings, all things in the universe are emanated from the same energy, they all share the same divine essence. By means of common divine essence, they are one and the same. Everything is God, and he is in all and through all (pantheism). The god-force, the One, or God, you name it, is “an impersonal energy force or consciousness” that is hence beyond personality. So, he or she is not a personal God who interacts and establish a personal relationship with people. Instead, we are told that we are also God because of the divine particles we have in common. Having said this, it is believed that the single reality of the impersonal energy is manifested into different appearances.
The preceding basic New Age ideas lead to the other point that claims godhood of each individual. Shirley MacLaine, an American actress and strong proponent of the New Age Movement, is an absolute subjectivist who claims, “I am God.” Furthermore, she exclaims that each individual is a God. The entire universe is absorbed within self. If you know yourselves, you know the entire universe. God is equalized with human beings form and nature. Human persons are, in fact, God but camouflaging their true identity due to ignorance of their own. Newport writes that we are actualized embodiment of gods or goddesses in exile. Yet, we do not realize this ultimate divine reality just because of our ignorance. Thusly, God and man ought to be understood, in terms of relationship, as a union between two. God is within us and in us.
The realization of divine reality illuminates the infinite ingenuity of a man. According to the New Agers, our ignorance has kept us from knowing this reality that we are not finite beings. “We have infinite power over our circumstances, because, after all, we are God.” Each of us can obtain enlightenment and become Christ. Smith quotes from Gina Cerminara, a New Ager, to help us to understand their mind-blowing perspective on Christ:
The Christ-consciousness is not, however, an exclusively Christian attribute. Christ, it must be remembered, is not the name of the man Jesus, but a term whose literal meaning is “the anointed one,” and whose mystic or rather psychological meaning is that of the liberated or spiritual consciousness. Krishna and Buddha were, we may believe, equally the possessors of Christ-consciousness.
Basically, what they are arguing is that only through Christ-consciousness, we will come to know who we really are and what we are. We can reclaim our godhood after knowing that once we were gods. Christ-consciousness takes us beyond “space and time and reconnect us once again with the God we are: infinite, cosmic, and omnipotent.” “We are not depraved or dependent on any outside source for deliverance or strength.” Accordingly, we are a Lord or Master of our own lives. And we need no Savior for our salvation. Salvation outside of Christ is possible, and this is what we find through Christ-consciousness.
Of course, Jesus was attributed with this title but not alike any other mystical or spiritual leaders or gods. But the issue here is not whether Christ means “the anointed one” or not; the concern is the implication of uses of the term if it is employed properly or not. The main concern for us is to know whether there is such a thing as absolute truth or not. We need to know whether there is such a being as Creator God or not. Whether there is such a thing as evil or not in this world! These are the important questions that we posit to the New Agers.
All of the views of the New Agers should be assessed very carefully, as they reveal us what their position on God, universe, human beings and nature etc. When God has no part in creation, it is assumed that there is no God or need of Creator God. Everything came to exist by the matter of chance. Do we really have power or control over the circumstances around us? Are we really good and strong enough not to violate the moral laws? These questions need to be answered.
In addition, we cannot simply ignore the subject matter of the New Age Movement’s philosophical metaphysics, epistemology, anthropology, and ethics when they come to marketplace. Keeping the fact in our mind that the truth is relative for the New Agers, we really need to seek what the Scripture has to say about the topics we raised above regardless of how hard it is.
You and I may find immediately that the New Agers are constructivists, by which means, they construct their own realities on the basis of their self-perception of the world and reflecting on self-experiences in order to find the meanings. They are, in some cases, radical relativists. Everyone has his own truth. Saliba writes, “Underlying the New Age tenet that an individual can create his or her own reality are two principles that derive from the new psychology and the new physics.” People can make their own realities those are suitable for the situations in which they are living. Therefore, they can make a choice to use their ethics in accordance of the situation or context depending upon his understanding of the reality.
Additionally, the tenet of moral and ethical relativism is well nourished in the New Age. If we are to say that there is no absolute truth, or the truth is unknowable, there is no way to differentiate truth from lie. They argue that there is not such a thing as evil. It is only an illusion. They appeal their argument to the idea that everything is God, God is good; therefore, everything is good.
Assuming that there is such a thing as good, is not it affirming that there is such a thing as evil? Otherwise, how do you know that there is such a thing as good? The same logic applies when they say that there is not any absolute truth in the universe or claim that moral is relative. If moral is relative, how do they know that there is such a thing as evil? Some people group still practice infanticide and some people give their lives to preserve these little lives. They might be culturally explained to justify one’s action. Nevertheless, they cannot be justified in light of the absolute truth that God has established from the eternity. If they believe that there are certain moral truths and values, there must a moral law giver. Therefore, the universal truth and moral is not relative.
The denial of Creator God, the underestimation of fall and the effect of the evil as purely ignorance of humankind, salvation out of Jesus Christ, and afterlife without resurrection are the major issues that will be discussed. First, they begin their worldview by discarding God of the Bible as Creator from the picture. As we have already discussed in brief that the New Age Movement begins with creation – a dynamic cosmic force – that caused cosmic explosion and applies back it to God.
First, God the Creator is not a Higher Self that can be attained by human imagination. He is very personal God. He is the Sovereign God who created the heavens and the earth. He is not bound by the time and the space. The New Agers introduce people their Higher Self by telling them to meditate. Whatever pops into our mind is considered as our Higher Self. In this way, “we inevitably end up creating God of our own image.” We can create God of our choice and make him as we want him to be. Is it not possible that our human mind conceives a toilet paper while meditating? Of course, can we now really allow our conscious mind to rely upon god of our imagination? When we remove God from his place, we more can we expect then, except chaos?
Secondly, the god of the New Age turns to be the one who does not know himself or weaker god, if applied the same law of logic that is applied in the previous assessment. He will be no more different than animals, plants, or any kind the least significant things, or the minutest subatomic particles of the world. He could be evil, unholy, or gross human waste. Had Isaiah not talked about this kind of god (40:19-21)? We make a god who is weaker, lesser valuable, and fragile than ourselves! What good of making such a god who cannot deliver us in the days of adversity?
Thirdly, Jesus Christ is neither simply an enlightened man nor the perfect god Idea. He is who he claimed to be – the Son of God, the Word incarnated into flesh, born of a virgin, sinless, and perfect atonement for the sins of the world. He is the mediator between the perfect God, the Father and sinful humans. Having died on the cross for the trespasses of mankind, he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, sitting by the right hand side of the Father, is coming again to judge the world. The consummation of this world is not like the New Agers have thought of evolutionary reign. Jesus will return with his full power and glory to judge the world.
Fourthly, man is neither a sleeping god nor divine being, who out of his own ignorance, lost the ability to realize his divinity and now needs to awake it. Man is the apex of creation of God. He is an image-bearer of God (Genesis 1:27-28). Man is a sinful creature and who has fallen short of glory of God (Romans 3:23). He is rebellious in nature. He is conceived in sin and born with sin (Psalm 51:5). He is destined to damnation because of disobedience against God (Romans 6:23). There is no hope without Jesus. One needs to born of the Spirit in order to be a new creation (John 3:5).
Besides the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and his saving grace, there is no other way to escape this damnation. No man can save himself from the judgment of God. Man is left to live under the total depravity of sin. Only Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life who can deliver a man from his sins, if he accepts Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.
Fifthly, there is a clear distinction between creation and Creator. God, in his Sovereign will and purpose, created the world and said, “good” (Genesis 1). It divides a clear line between the Creator and creation that the created world is not a part of God. Nothing in the world is emanated from him and though him, but, certainly, he made all creations through Jesus Christ and for him (John 1).
Finally, redemption is not earned or merited. It is a free gift from God for his chosen one. This is not something that man can do on his own. The Holy Spirit regenerates the heart of a man and transforms him into a newly creature. The work of the Spirit begins inward and moves to outward as a testimony of God’s faithfulness to those who are called by their names.
For these various reasons, Christianity is, without an ounce of doubt, is not compatible with the New Age. Many people, who they claimed to be Christians, are adapting the New Age theology in the churches. The New Age theology is like spurious glitters that have distorted the fundamental of Christianity, have influenced our churches around the world. Is it ethical for a man to be a follower of Jesus who has a living hope to be resurrected in the Day of Judgment, and at the same time, cling onto the theology of unending cycles of reincarnation? It is possible for a man to be justified by faith in Christ and bound by Karmic law at the same time? No way, I do not believe so. Christian, by definition, is a follower of Jesus who adheres to the teachings of the master, or imitates the master. Is Christ without Christianity is possible? Yes, but not ethical.
If we are to protect our Christians from the evil influence of the New Age, they ought to be informed about the weight the New Agers bear in pursuit of false hope and spirituality. Before violating moral laws and the absolute truths, one should think if it is worth adopting Christ-consciousness over children of God.
Newport, John P. The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, 1998. Print.
Saliba, John A. Christian Responses to the New Age Movement: a Critical Assessment. London ; New York: G. Chapman, 1999. Print.
Smith, F. LaGard. Crystal Lies: Choices in the New Age. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Vine, 1989. Print.
 F. LaGard Smith, Crystal Lies: Choices and the New Age (Ann Arbor: Vine, 1989), 7-8.
 John P. Newport, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue (Grand Rapids: Eerdman, 1998), 1.
 John A. Saliba, Christian Response to the New Age Movement: A Critical Assessment (London: G Chapman, 1999), 3.
 F. LaGard Smith, Crystal Lies: Choices and the New Age (Ann Arbor: Vine, 1989), 19.
 Dr. Felch class-note on Rival Worldviews.
 John P. Newport, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 4.
 Ibid, 4.
 Ibid, 5.
 Ibid, 5.
 Ibid, 6. It is taken from MacLaine’s book Out of a Limb. She makes a infamous exclamation “I am God.” A short video clip from mini-series called “Out on a Limb” which was produced in 1987. With Shirley MacLaine and her mentor, John Heard. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccb2GsnOoBM&feature=related>
 Ibid, 5. Newport quotes from J. Gordon Melton’s New Age Encyclopedia (Detroit: Gale Research, 1990), XVI.
 F. LaGard Smith, Crystal Lies: Choices and the New Age (Ann Arbor: Vine, 1989), 13.
 Ibid, 27.
 Smith, Crystal Lies: Choices and the New Age (Ann Arbor: Vine, 1989), 20.
 Newport, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 8.
 Saliba, Christian Responses to the New Age Movement: A Critical Assessment (London: G Chapman, 1999), 12.
 Smith, Crystal Lies: Choices and the New Age (Ann Arbor: Vine, 1989), 18.
 Ibid, 20.
 Newport, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 13.