The New Age Movement is in a class by itself. Unlike most formal religions,
it has no specific holy text, central organization, membership, formal
clergy, geographic center, dogma, creed, etc. Although many New Agers
bring their religions to the movement. Even given the diversity and
transitory nature of the New Age Movement, there are still a number
of major tenets generally held in common by most groups within this
movement. Below are
the major common beliefs:
in monism. Generally New Agers believe that "all is one."
Everything and everyone is interrelated and interdependent. The
cosmos is pure, undifferentiated energy - a consciousness or life
force. Everything is a different form of that essence (energy, consciousness,
power, love, force).
This idea of God being
in everything, the belief that God is one in essence with the created
world is fundamental to New Age thought. They view God as an impersonal
life force, conscious-ness, or energy rather than a Person. They
believe that every person and thing is "intertwined" with
God and is evolving spiritually to the state of "the Christ"
being. They believe every human has a divine spark within him because
of being part of the divine essence. The state of God is called
by various terms among different New Age groups, i.e., God-consciousness,
Universal Love, Self-Realization, the I AM, Higher Self, Brahman,
New Agers believe just
as different parts of the body are needed to make the whole function
and the ability of the whole body to function properly is weakened
when one part is hurt or damaged, so the various parts of the ecosystem
- air, water, plants, animals, human beings, etc - need to work
together to make the whole function as a healthy living body.
Belief in pantheism.
Since most New Agers believe that "all is one," the next
belief naturally follows–that "all is God." All
creation partakes of the divine essence. All of life has a spark
of divinity within.
The next major tenet
of the New Age follows as a logical conclusion from the other two.
If "all is one" and "all is God," then the conclusion
is that "we are Gods." Most people, according to New Agers,
have forgotten their divinity, their source. The goal, therefore,
of the New Age Movement is to discover our own divinity.
The belief that in order
to discover our own divinity, we need to experience a change in
consciousness. We have forgotten that our true identity is divine
and thus must undergo a change of consciousness to achieve our true
The belief in reincarnation. New Agers believe in the ancient [Hindu] Eastern
religious concept of reincarnation–that through a long process
of rebirths, man can eventually reach spiritual perfection. They
also teach the Hindu principle of "karma"–that what
a person sows in this life, he will reap in this life or the next.
The Western concepet of reincarnation held by many New Agers places
emphasis on working towards perfection through reincarnation rather
than sinful nature. The belief in reincarnation has led to believing
in the power of "spirit guides" or "masters"–those
who have transcended time and space and reached a state of immortality–who
one may "channel" or raise their consciousness to the
higher realms and communicate with them.
Belief of moral relativism.
They teach that "all religions are true" and "there
are many paths to God."
Jesus Christ. A major
belief in New Age thinking is that of the "Christ Consciousness."
In other words, Christ is an office rather than an individual, and
the office was held and filled by Jesus, whom Christians know to
be "the Christ." This idea of "Christ Consciousness"
asserts that Jesus was not the only Christ, but that he embodied
the "Christ Consciousness." That he was a great "spiritual
master" who attained Christ Consciousness, as did Buddha, Krishna,
and Mohammed. Some New Agers believe that the historical Jesus spent
18 years in India (before the age of 33) absorbing Hinduism and
the teachings of the Buddha before he began his three year mission.
Belief that the
destiny of the world depends upon human beings. When enough people
harmonize their positive energy and turn their thoughts to peace,
the world will be cleansed of negative elements and New Age ideals
will be realized in an era of spiritual enlightenment. Since man
is intrinsically divine and perfect, his only real problem is ignorance
of that fact. Salvation in the New Age is for man to become enlightened
through experiential knowledge (gnosis). New Age groups offer various
occult techniques to enable individuals, and ultimately the world,
to evolve into this oneness of consciousness.