What is behind the conflict of New Age vs Christianity? How does Western religion differ from the Human Potential Movement? Are they as far apart as they have led us to believe?
Let’s start by breaking down some terms. The term “age” is a period of history defined by significant historical markers. For example, the Bronze Age is the period in the 3rd century BC.
The word “age” can also apply to religious or philosophical movements. For example, the dark ages began in the mid-1300s to the mid-1600s. This is the period when the Church exerted its force. It used the Holy Inquisition to solidify its power in society.
The Philosophy of the New Age
The term “new-age” is a term used to describe the human potential movement of the 1970s. It includes all methods from Eastern philosophy.
But is the strategy behind this movement a new idea? No. The design behind this philosophy isn’t new at all. There’s a well-known strategy at its core. It’s combining ideas with a common theme to create something new. You can find evidence of this strategy in several ancient religions. It’s reflected in the stories of Zoroaster (1), Mithra (2), and even Jesus (3), to modern-day Sages like George Gurdjieff (4).
Gurdjieff traveled throughout Europe to research spiritual systems and practices. He created a new system. He combined and renamed these practices to market them as his own creation. Then he set up schools to test and teach his processes. This type of rebranding effort isn’t new. Modern religions use a similar strategy but with a different goal and focus. The human potential movement focuses on self-development, not mythology.
What is Old-Time Religion?
The term comes from a traditional gospel song by the same name dating from 1873. Three religions dominate our cultural narrative. These are the Abrahamic or Semitic religions. These belief systems include Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Together they boast a membership of 4 billion. That’s about half the population of the world. Because they control half of the cultural narrative, they influence the governments where they take root.
The Fundamentalist Christian Church use this term to describe their beliefs. But rejecting old-time religion is not tolerated in some places. It seems the inquisition has not ended. Today, the battlefield is being fought in the courts for the personal autonomy rights of the female gender.
“For nearly a century, the moral relativism of science has given faith-based religion — that great engine of ignorance and bigotry — a nearly uncontested claim to being the only universal framework for moral wisdom. As a result, the most powerful societies on early spend their time debating issues like gay marriage when they should be focused on problems like nuclear proliferation, genocide, energy security, climate change, poverty, and failing schools.” — Sam Harris
“Every religion has demons… Nothing like a real, live demon to give you some of hat old-time religion.” — Laurell K. Hamilton
Judaism is the oldest branch of the Abrahamic tree. It dates back 4000 years to the Mesopotamian sects in Babylon. (5) Specific pages from The Code of Hammurabi or Hammurabi, (1750 BCE) are found in the Tanakh, which became part of the Christian Old Testament. Hammurabi was the sixth and best-known ruler of Babylon’s 1st (Amorite) dynasty. At the core, Judaism is a cult based on ethnic heritage.
Christianity started to compile its own book of inspired texts around 80–100 CE. The New Testament books were revised and edited into 2nd century and included doctrines from a wealth of cults.
Christianity is not a new religion. It results from the first successful large-scale rebranding effort. How did they do it? They used an army to convince these religions in place to join their cause. Then they renamed everything and standardized practices. This rebranding covered all the new Roman territories of the Mediterranean region. The effort created enough cash to create Vatican city state.
Western theology takes doctrine and ritual from all these systems and combines them into one. Here, you can find doctrines and rituals from Egypt, Babylon, Persia, and Assyria. They are all repackaged into a global cash flow machine.
Islam is the latter of the three Abrahamic religions beginning around 600 CE. Here, the prophet Mohammad is to have received divine inspiration for writing the Quran. This text mirrors much of the philosophy of the Tanakh.
The strategy to combine several systems provides the Church with vast cultural reach. It’s an intelligent way to get the greatest return on investment — no need to keep an army in place.
The umbrella of Christianity contains has many variations. Each of the 20,000 sects claims to have the correct interpretation. But more and more people are rejecting old-time religion in the world. This brings the conflict of new age vs Christianity to the surface.
“Religion is like our appendix, a vestigial remnant from a primitive past. Perhaps in a few millennia the god of Abraham will invoke the same curious amusement as rain and sun gods do today. Or perhaps our god will simply be shelved along with Zeus and Jupiter. Some day. But until then, we suffer the consequences of a population that believes in the absence of evidence and, more curiously, rejects an objective reality that conflicts with beliefs easily proven false.” — Jeff Schweitzer
“I think there’s an awful lot of noise about the Church being persecuted, but there is a more real issue that the conventional churches face. The people who are really driving their revival and success believe in an old-time religion which, in my view, is incompatible with a modern, multi-ethnic, multicultural society.” — Trevor Phillips
The focus of Western theology is on selling the afterlife. And it is the perfect intangible product. There are never any unsatisfied customers. You only get the benefits when you are dead. If you can’t sell heaven, then sell afterlife insurance against going to hell. Nobody wants to spend eternity in torment.
You would think they would be happy to talk about the origins of these doctrines, but they do not. They don’t want the public to know theses doctrines come from the mystery religions. They document the origins in some of their internal documents. The 1907 version of the Catholic Encyclopedia provides such an admission. Notice the content hidden within the following poetic language.
“Symbolism in a greater or lesser degree is essential to every kind of external worship, and we need not shrink from the conclusion that in the matter of baptisms and washings, of genuflection’s and other acts of reverence, of lights and sweet-smelling incense, of flowers and white vestitures, of spiritual unction’s and the imposing of hands, of sacrifice and the rite of the Communion banquet, the Church has borrowed without hesitation from the common stock of significant actions known to all periods and all nations. In such matters as these, Christianity claims no monopoly or originality.” — The Catholic Encyclopedia and International Work, Vol. 14 (1907) (6)
What is “old-time religion?” It is nothing more than the ancient mystery religions under a new name. An ingenious cash-flow system. The clash of New Age Vs Christianity is about two different goals. The focus of Western religion is on cash flow. The focus of the human potential movement is on self-development. They use the same strategy of combining systems, but with different goals and focus.
You don’t want to threaten the customer based of a major religion. The result can be undesirable, like what happened during the dark ages. The Church went on a campaign we know as the Inquisition. This questioning included the use of public torture and execution. Then the Chuch confiscated their land.
New Age Vs Christianity
The human potential movement of the 1970s was a threat to the control of all the Abrahamic religions. They could not use tactics like the Inquisition in most modern cultures. So they resorted to less violent means. Demonization still works well. It makes your competition undesirable.
Rejecting old-time religion is a crime against the Church. Islam and Judaism have similar views on those challenge their customer base.
Kersey Graves was a researcher of the 18th century (7). He thought by exposing the truth of origins of the Abrahamic, it would end the control of these religions. But he underestimated the power of religious indoctrination.
“The present custom of orthodox Christendom, in packing their sins upon the back of a God, is just the same substantially as that of various heathen nations who were in the habit of packing them upon the backs of various dumb animals.” — Kersey Graves
Rejecting Old-Time Religion in The World
The religions of Abraham are the most influential institutions on the planet. Their values and beliefs dominate the cultural narrative. They control governments directly or indirectly. Sharia law of Islam controls Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and Indonesia.
The laws of Christianity still dominate the West. Judaism is the state religion of Israel. The conflict of New Age vs Christianity is becoming more prominent in the USA. Here laws are being enacted which erase many of the gains in human rights for women.
We can measure spiritual ideologies. They run along a continuum from healthy to unhealthy. On the healthy side, we find those which promote harmony, equality and freethinking. Buddhism and most pagan belief systems are on this side.
On the unhealthy side, we find those which promote sectarian ideologies. Their systems prohibit freethinking while promoting favoritism and inequality. You can spot them easily. Western organized religion falls on the unhealthy side of the continuum. The Abrahamic religions are significant for their promotion of harmful values. They sponsor racial, ethnic and gender discrimination. These religions want to return humanity back to iron-age beliefs.
The ancient philosophies which promote human development pre-date organized religion. They have no imaginary friends or enemies, just processes for exploring consciousness. You do not need a religion to engage in spiritual exploration. All you need are processes which expand your awareness.
The strategy of combining and rebranding practices to create a new system isn’t new. It is the tactic used by the Abrahamic religions and the human potential movement. In this respect, they are the same.
It is important to note that the philosophy of the new age movement is about developing human potential. Let this be your focus. Many people are awakening and rejecting old-time religion in the world.
Do you have a different view of the subject? Please send us your comments and recommendations for further research.
(1) Zoroaster, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroaster
(2) Mithra, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithra
(3) Jesus, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus
(4) George Gurdjieff: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/george_gurdjieff
(5) Judaism: www.history.com/topics/religion/judaism
(6) The Catholic Encyclopedia and International Work, Vol. 14 (1907)
(7) Kersey Graves, The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors 1881: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World%27s_Sixteen_Crucified_Saviors
(8) Joseph Campbell; Joseph Campbell’s book: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell#The_Hero_with_a_Thousand_Faces