Thursday, July 24, 2008

Going deeper into the New Age - Part 1

Now, I thought it was time I delved more deeply into defining what is New Age and it's doctrines. In contrast to Christianity there is no single defining text (such as the Bible) or list of beliefs (such as the Nicene Creed) to define what it is. Despite this, there are many common elements which describe this worldview. So, what are they?

Well, the first and foremost principle is the rejection of exclusivity of Religion. This is in stark contrast to conservative Christian denominations which claim that they are the only valid spiritual path (it is not only Christian groups that take an exclusive approach. Islam and Judaism are very exclusive, some Eastern sects are too (ISKON - The Hare Krishna's for example). Some modern "cults" are exclusive, however it would be wrong to label every religious group to crop up in recent times as New Age (ie for example Raelians or Scientology)).

Taken to extremes this can mean total Relativism, ie the idea that all truth is relative to a range of variables and circumstances. In contrast, the exclusive Religions have a dualistic Absolute view of truth ie It's either their truth or its false. Certainly many people accuse New Age of being Relativistic, and in fact many people who follow a loose New Age approach are. I have met many people that don't believe in any sort of Absolutes. However, I think you will find that most of the serious researches & teachers do not advocate absolute relativism.

What I personally think is the solution is the concept of an Absolute truth, with a descending scale of Relative truths, some closer to being an Absolute truth, and some further down the scale. Specifically in relation to Spiritual/Religious concepts it means that there is Absolute truth that can be found non-exclusively in different cultures and religions, but at the same time not all Religious doctrines are equal. So, my conception of New Age will probably be different to others in that I believe in the importance of being firmly established in a traditional Mysticism, thus having an Absolute from which to ground beliefs, and than allow for the range of Relative experiences to have their place.

Probably one of the most important application of this is in relation to beliefs about an afterlife. Conservative Christianity has maintained that there are only two places one can go after death, Heaven or Hell, and that you must belong to a particular denomination and follow all their teachings in order to teach Heaven after you die (however, these teachings emphasise that Salvation is given by grace from God through Jesus Christ. However, this still implies that you authorize a specific group to dictate what is orthodoxy and what is heresy), (Jehovas Witnesses (JW's) and Seventh Day Adventists (SDA's) both believe in annilhation for unbeliever rather than eternal torment in Hell. However both JW's and SDA's are considered fringe groups by most denominations, despite the fact that they see themselves as Restorationists). Strictly, Christians maintain that the only possible method of Salvation is through Jesus. In contrast, New Age proposes that it is not so significant what title you use to describe your Religious beliefs, or what doctrines and dogmas you follow as much as how you live the Spiritual principles, or in strictly Eastern terms, how you realize the higher truths (Dharma) in your life. Specifically, what this means is that whilst doctrines can be significant in determining what one considers important and worth striving for, it is not our intellectual ideals and concepts that are important as much as how we treat others, how we speak, think and act. The perfect example of this is NDE's where many people have been told that the religious denomination is not important, the extent to which they allow love to be the driving force in their life is.

New Age does not believe in the traditional Dualistic doctrine of Heaven and Hell. Instead you have a more complex concept of varying planes or Dimensions. There are variations on these beliefs amongst different groups, however there are common elements. Many different sources describe an Astral cosmos, a universe comprised of less dense elements than our material world which exists both inside and outside our own. Within this Astral world there are considered to be many different levels to correspond with varying levels of Spiritual/Psychological development.Some of the lower levels might be considered "Hellish" prisons for corrupt Souls, however their is a major difference between this concept and the traditional one of Hell. The traditional model of Hell proposes that all those who reject Christianity (or any other exclusive Religion) will find themselves eternally seperated from God, in a realm of hate & torture, not just those who could be considered as sinners, immoral & evil. (To me this produces a major grey area in the doctrines of Christianity which I will address one day soon.) In the New Age conception, people who lived life selfishly, showing anger and hate to others, often find themselves after death in a dark world filled with torment and pain, surrounded by others of a similar inclanation. However, in contrast to the Christian view of Hell as eternal, this New Age version presents such nightmarish experiences as simply temporary, from which a Soul can escape by calling out to God. There are many NDE's where this kind of scenario has been reported.

Likewise, the view of Heaven is also remarkably different. Specifically the Christian conception of Heaven presents it as an eternal abode where one enters due to the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus. Alternatively, the New Age conception of Heaven is one of many temporary abodes in the Astral cosmos, where one enters for a continuation of experience, this time however free from the miseries and troubles of the material world. Descriptions from NDE and OBE reports as well as those from traditional mystical texts and information produced through mediumship presents a picture of many Heavens, of differing levels of density, leading up towards a realm of the Absolute. Sometimes, Eastern views are misrepresented in this regard, whilst the ultimate aim of Eastern Mysticism is to reach a realm beyond the transitory cycles of birth and death (ie Nirvana, Moksha, Liberation), this does not mean that they do not have a concept of Heaven & Hell. For example, look up the meaning of the Sanskrit word Loka. Also, for example the Hindu texts frequently refer to the "three worlds" physical, astral & causal (mental), whilst mainting that the ultimate goal is beyond all these.Ok, I will leave it here for today.

More detail later.


GraceHead said...


at the risk of sounding nit-picky...

Hell (as an eternal dwelling of the damned) is a teaching, like purgatory, that has no basis in scripture. It is a tradition that has become orthodox, but scripture as in most cases runs contrary to traditional viewpoints.
Consider John 3:16 ... "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that as many as believe in Him may not PERISH but have Eternal Life."

Life is a gift ... we are not owed life, but we each have it for a time. But it is inherently TEMPORARY ... having a beginning and an end. The doctrine of hell depicts no end ... no "PERISHING" ... but continued and unending conscious torment.

In reality, to accept the very Life of God is to be made alive by His life ... a Life that is unending and unbeginning .. .ETERNAL. To reject that Life is to remain temporal ... having no Eternal destiny.

To perish is to be UNFORMED to nothing .. and those that receive the second death to be made no more will have no thoughts to realize they have received it or not. Thoughts perish with the perishing

The serpent said: "You shall surely not die." ... and the church has been repeating the refrain, even when such teaching goes against the most popular verse ... John 3:16.

Perish means perish.

Consider this:
1/14/06 - From God the Father
...Shall I, even I, torment My beloved, they who are tormented continually by he who is, and has, torment in his vesture? Satan is the tormentor. ... Become, again, a child of God, and learn to walk uprightly, leading others into love, by love, not fear.MORE of this letter about unbiblical "hell" HERE

18 reasons why in a single verse

Theological Myth - Unending conscious torture

Jim Clark said...

Hi Gracehead. Congratulations on being the first person ever to respond on my Blog. You win the Grand Prize of uh... um... well... you should just feel good about yourself. No need to apologise for being nit-picky. I did mention that Seventh Day Adventist and Jehova's Witnesses believe that the unsaved will cease to exist rather than suffer an eternity in Hell. I wonder, are you a member of one of these churches, or are you theologically independent, or a member of an independent church?

I gather you consider the "red letter" teachings in the Gospel's to be the most signifanct part of Christianity (hence the Gracehead title). I agree, as the "red letter" writings are the parts which are in my mind cohesive with "Perennial Philosophy" such as Hindu Yoga, Vedanta, Buddhism, Taosim, Spiritualism and here comes the dirty word, Gnosticism (Both Christian & Hermetic).

The idea of Hell as an eternal place of torture is a sadistic doctrine, completely incompatible with the concept of a benevolent God of Unconditional Love.

I am aware of the arguments for non-existence of unsaved souls as being "Biblical", and also that the words used in the New Testament to refer to Hell (Gehenna) refers to a place where the bodies of the dead were taken. However, I do believe there are verses to the contrary, (ie Luke 16:19, the parable of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus), and also some parts of Revelations (depending on interpretation).

Personally, I don't see the Bible as being the infallable Word of God, so for me it is not the last word on Doctrine, particularly in this case to the nature of the afterlife. There are many sources of information for this topic. I will go into the Bible, Jesus and Apologetics later on in this Blog.

Now, you obviously don't except the concept of the immortality of the Soul, and you present the Genesis verse as a reference to that doctrine. Personally, I am of the opinion that Genesis is highly allegorical, and has been mistranslated by most theologians (I will go into this at a later date as well).

In my opinion the idea of annihalation for the "unsaved" does not satisfy the concept of Unconditional Love, or Grace. Surely God desires all His children to come back to Him eventually, even if this does require more than one life (I believe in Reincarnation). I feel that properly understood, Reincarnation is the only theory to truly allow Justice & Mercy to be fully balanced (However I understand that this is a big statement, I will be posting on this at a later date).

GraceHead said...

Hi Jim,

I am honored to he the first at something ... finally.

Sounds like you draw inspiration from alot of places. I tend to be like that as well. After all, Truth is not taught but demonstrated ... and the demonstration of Truth bombards the cosmos and manifests in manifold witness to the Word of God ... creating, revealing and redeeming.

I can gain insight apart from the Bible, but I cannot gain the insight apart from the Source of Truth ... that same loving Father, who preserved revelation in His excellent Bible.

So, I love the scriptures but love God infinitely more as the indespensible
Source of Light and Life.

I haven't been a "church-goer" in longer than I can remember. Yet I can say that I belong to God's church and together with all those that belong to Him is the church in which I dwell.

If you like red-letters ... you are going to FLIP to read this:


GraceHead said...

oops ... HERE is a live link ...

Jim Clark said...

Hi Trent,

It sounds as if you have a very unique brand of Christianity, defying definitions or denominations, perhaps the term Theologically Independent is a appropriate one. I have breifly looked at that website you mentioned with the "letters from God and His Christ". I am intrigued that as a Christian you except information that has been "channeled" through Automatic Writing. Would I be right in assuming because the person (Timothy) who was the vehicle for these teachings is a highly committed Christian and that the teachings seem to be in harmony with Christian Orthodoxy that this is the distinguishing factor from other Channelled writings?

Keep in touch.
God Bless,


GraceHead said...


You asked: """Would I be right in assuming because the person (Timothy) who was the vehicle for these teachings is a highly committed Christian and that the teachings seem to be in harmony with Christian Orthodoxy that this is the distinguishing factor from other Channeled writings?"""


What is astounding about these writings, (which for a myriad of reasons could not have come from Timothy, but through Timothy,) is that they reflect and expound upon scripture over and against orthodox theology. In some sense they are a fulfillment and validation of ancient text, though they are hated by nearly all church-goers that read them.

The reason they are despised is because the "prophesies" (a more descriptive word than "channeling") specifically correct unbiblical theologies that are entrenched in the modern churches, and thus restore and affirm pure revelation from the corruptive influence of pagan and Catholic notions.

They are written down by a fella that has very little education (initially no knowledge or study of scripture) and he has never been inside of a church building or any other worship center.

Oh, and did I mention that no money has ever changed hands or wound up in Timothy's pocket from the letters?


Jim Clark said...

Hi Trent,

Very interesting. So you definately follow restorationist ideas, but you do not affiliate directly with either SDA's or JW's.

One of the most ubiquitous elements of "channelled" writings is that they often display information above and beyond the intellectual capacity of the "author". So the distinction between "channellings" and "prophecy" is one of which Spiritual Paradigm is supported by the information.

Certainly the early / medieval Church did assimilate much from "Pagan" sources. Interestingly though, there are some elements within the Gospels themselves which point to "Pagan" origions.

I'm not sure if you've seen the "Conspiracy Doccumentary" Zeitgeist, certainly I'm not going to portray it as being absolutely straight up and true in every respect. They did make huge jumps between facts and conclusions throughout, particularly in the first section on Religion. There was much information which was left out of this section, and some of there arguments were clearly deceitfull (arguing the common elements of Gods Sun / Son).

However, that said, they did point out some very clear astrological allegories within the Gospel narratives. Obviously, Orthodox Christianity is opposed to Astrology as it is "Occult", yet the story of the three wise kings following the star in the east to the place of the birth of Jesus clearly corresponds with Astrological / Astronomical (there was no seperation between these two "Sciences" until recently in history) facts. And there was more. This seem impossible to be purely coincidence, it must have been deliberate. Please, check it out.

Later on I will be posting on the historical facts regarding Christianity, and debate between Christian Apologist's and those writers that considers Jesus to be either a Myth or a Gnostic teacher, or a Kabbilist Initiate, or a 9th Dimensional Being, etc etc (I think I even read a book that claimed Jesus was a Freemason! (The Hiram Key) That's bound to get some blood boiling!)

Anyways take care, thank you for taking the time to post here. Please continue to do so, I enjoy open discussion.

GraceHead said...


To me, JW and SDA are denominations that mirror alot of cult behavior, and as organizations are corrupt and tend to corrupt pure doctrine. I have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water and say that any criticism that I have for an organization is not directed toward the members as much as the leadership or the faceless institution.

"""Certainly the early / medieval Church did assimilate much from "Pagan" sources. Interestingly though, there are some elements within the Gospels themselves which point to "Pagan" origions."""

It is possible, or rather probable that revelation of pure truth has come to seekers beyond Judeo/Christian sources, and influenced pagan (which basically is a word for any religion that is not Jewish, Christian, or Muslim) theology and practice.

Even Paul repeatedly writes that Truth bombards the cosmos such that nobody is without excuse whether they interfaced with a missionary or not. Provided, that is true (and I believe that it is) than why wouldn't all truth seekers be able to latch onto something authentic even though they may keep the form of a pagan worship.

When Paul went into a Pagan temple in Acts and noticed that they did not know the name of the God they worshiped, Paul just said that he knew the name and then preached the Gospel.

"""I'm not sure if you've seen the "Conspiracy Doccumentary" Zeitgeist, certainly I'm not going to portray it as being absolutely straight up and true in every respect"""

Fascinating documentary / mockumentary. ... It is basically a rip-off of gnostic-media's video that came out several years prior ... though that video by gnosticmedia was more or less a recorded slide-show that some mushroom-junkies made in their garage. Nevertheless, the material is the same in Zeitgeist, albeit presented in a much more professional way in Zeitgeist.

However, I must say that it ties together traditional understanding from organized religion more so than scriptural revelation. For example, they draw comparisons with the three kings that followed a star to see the birth of the "Sun" of God ... etc. However, that is the traditional understanding not the scriptural revelation. The Bible has no record of "three wisemen/ astrologers" attending the birth, or even going to Bethleham. Rather we don't know how many there are. There might have been three, but the Bible doesn't say. Also, the time of birth was not anywhere near the winter soloist, as the weather would have been too cold for shepherds to watch their sheep at night in a desert environment. It would need to be sometime in a non-cold month. Also, they weren't even there at the birth ... they showed up when he was a lad, according to scripture. I could go on, but you probably get the point. The traditions of Christmas are basically a pagan witches-sabbath and astrotheology given a radical facelift to be consumed by church-goers ... and the mess/mass is basically more pagan than Christian. So the criticism should be a wake up call to church-goers that are trying to celebrate the birthday of Jesus on December 25 in a pagan festival.

The Bible clearly is against birthday celebrations in-general, much less morphing a pagan sun-worship into a tradition for believers ... and then justifying it with something already as pagan as a birthday celebration.

Only two people in the Bible celebrated their own birthday ... Harod and a wicked Amelkite King. There is nobody of any virtue that celebrates their birthday in scripture ... and thus, I wish more believers were like me and forego any such nonsense, and stick only to the Hebrew holy-days that God set forth ... not this horrible Christmas tradition which is only a witches-sabbath of Yule.


Jim Clark said...

Hello Trent, nice to hear back from you again.

I must concede, my mistake. Indeed you are correct, the account in Matthew does not specify "three" wise men, it actually say Magi. The only indication of there being three is in the giving of the gifts (ie the Frankincense, Gold & Myrth), the assumption being that there was one gift per person. Also the verse about following the star in the East is ambigous.

Obviously, as you state "I must say that it ties together traditional understanding from organized religion more so than scriptural revelation", the modern version of the story is Astrotheology, however as you have pointed out, the account in Matthew is different to the current understanding. I think you could argue either way, given that the information in Matthew is similar but different to the modern Astrotheological story, it is not explicit either way. I would like to see more information.

The verses in Luke clearly point to a birth in the middle of the year, during the warmer months in the Northen Hemisphere, as the Shepards are presented in the stable with the new-born. The story in Matthew presents the Magi as being present some time after the birth.

I would be interested to find out more about this. I wonder when the first Historical documenations record the current version of the birth of Jesus story with it's explicit Astrotheology. I have also seen the GnosticMedia film, and yes overall I have to agree that both films were dishonest and decieving in selective presentation of information.

In relation to Truth, there are clear teachings relating to morality and ethics, personal psychological development, worship of God and the entering of altered states of consciousness which are shared within different Religions, with most differences of being related to theological doctrines and mythology.

Thank you for continuing to take the time to stay in contact.
God Bless,