Christianity and the New Age - Toxic Faith?

By Mark A. Kellner

If recent research is to be believed, there’s been a dramatic shift in the way some Americans practice their religious faith. Where believers were once viewed as “solid” members of a given faith, some today are mixing traditional beliefs, such as Christianity, with strikingly different “New Age” practices.

Crystal Energy

According to a Religion News Service (RNS) report, 28-year-old Amanda typifies the trend. Though she once attended church weekly, Amanda has ditched worship for “her own rituals,” the report indicated. “I’ll chant, or I’ll go to Kundalini (yoga) and meditate with a group,” the Los Angeles resident said.

She also keeps crystals on her nightstand and carries some throughout the day. “The energy they hold is this ancient energy,” Amanda explained. “It helps your own energy when you work with them, when you’re near them.”

According to the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life project, Amanda would fit in the “Diversely Devout” category—people who are “are diverse not only demographically, but also in their beliefs. It is the only group in which solid majorities say they believe in God ‘as described in the Bible’ as well as in psychics, reincarnation and spiritual energy located in physical things.”

Tai Chi and Judaism

In Berkeley, California, Jeffrey also blends tai chi with his Jewish practice: “There’s no authority. People can pick and choose and explore. I think of it as a spiritual freeform way of beginning to connect to something other than oneself,” he told RNS.

Interestingly, both Amanda and Jeffrey would be considered by the Pew researchers as being part of the “Diversely Devout,” that group of people who are “highly religious” but whose practice varies. While the diverse group is the lowest percentage in the overall category, they are still considered more “faithful” than those who are “spiritual” but often unaffiliated.

There is a remnant of more traditional believers: Approximately 29 percent of those surveyed by Pew are either “Sunday Stalwarts,” who are “actively involved with their faith and engaged in their congregations” or “God-and-Country Believers” who are “socially and politically conservative.” (Some 12 percent of those surveyed fall at the other end of the spectrum, believing “organized religion does more harm than good” and identify themselves as “politically liberal,” according to Pew.)

But while picking, choosing, and exploring might work well at a buffet restaurant, doing so for one’s spiritual life can have dramatic—and negative—consequences.

Golden Calves

After the Israelites worshiped the golden calf while waiting for Moses to return from his meeting with God on Mount Sinai, the Lord gave Moses specific instructions for what the people should do when they entered the Promised Land: “You shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods” (Exodus 34:13–15).

God expects religious fidelity from His people, and most New Age beliefs and practices contradict basic Bible teachings, from the state of the dead and vital truths about obedience and grace. God puts energy into people, not crystals—nor idols. And He will save those who accept His Son as their Savior: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ ” (John 14:6).

Granted, that doesn’t sound like the squishy-soft, all-roads-lead-to-heaven deity many want to believe in. All the same, all have access to God's salvation; thus, He calls on everyone to come to Him and receive eternal life.

Experimenting with New Age and occult teachings and practices may seem thrilling, but there’s danger ahead for those who do. Pastor Doug Batchelor mentions his brush with the New Age in his testimony, The Richest Caveman.

And if you’re wondering about what happens after death—if people are reincarnated—click here to check out Pastor Doug's Bible answer. It’s an eye-opener!

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