And so it was I related that great transformation in my life: from growing up in ‘White Anglo-Saxon Protestant’ America and England and drifting into the New Age movement – to confessing the Catholic faith.
Because, by the grace of God, I was freed from the New Age, when I realised that God was not simply a transcendent spirit, but also Jesus Christ.
For New Agers, like I myself was for nearly twenty years, lack this realisation – almost without exception. Generally speaking, they believe in some kind of transcendent spiritual force, which they usually give vague, abstract names to – often things like ‘the Universe’, ‘Life’, ‘the Light’ and so forth.
But they do not believe in the non-abstract personal God, who became so personal as to incarnate as Immanuel – or ‘God with us’.
This means their lives are not consciously committed to that very non-abstract but rather particular and personal historical human being with a human heart – who still lives with us today – called Jesus.
At least, the Lord of my own former New Age existence was certainly not Jesus Christ! And I am hardly alone in this experience.
These days, many, many, many people growing up in America and Britain drift into New Age concepts and ideology.
Or to it put another way, the Anglosphere is very rapidly becoming pagan at best (and agnostic-atheistic at worst).
For New Age ideas command an ever-greater hold over the English-speaking world, in particular, and New Age-ism is a clear resurgence of paganism.
Yes, it is this spirituality which now dominates the Anglosphere – that which denies the Incarnation (and naturally thus denies the Church as anything beyond a human institution or human organised ‘belief-system’.)
And so the Holy Church, as I said last time, is not seen as a Sacramental Connection to the Heart of Christ.
Indeed, as I also said, I spent thirty-four years of my life with no idea what a Sacrament even was! Again, I am hardly alone: The same is undoubtedly true for the vast mass of my fellow Americans and fellow British.
Regarding Catholic Ireland
And now I write these words from Ireland.
Ireland is different.
It is the one place in the Anglosphere where this kind of cultural ignorance has not been the norm – at least until very, very recently.
And of course, this is because Ireland is also the one place in the Anglosphere that never took on a dominant Protestant culture as did Britain, America, (Anglo-) Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc …
It is no coincidence that in Ireland the drift towards New Age neo-paganism has been slower than in those countries. At least, from long familiarity with both America and Britain, I can attest that New Age neo-paganism remains much, much stronger in these nations.
Having also lived in Spain and France, I can likewise attest how relatively weak New Age neo-paganism still remains in those countries of Catholic heritage.
No, as I have argued many times elsewhere at this site, the New Age movement is hardly as ‘universalist’ as it likes to claim.
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And now I must warn Protestants that the following statement will be contentious and may even seem condemning:
Protestantism cannot be exonerated from the collapse of Christianity into New Age neo-paganism.
For it has played a most significant role in the historical transition from pre-Reformation Catholic Christendom to secularisation to the present withering of Christianity in which the new paganism thrives.
For New Age-ism thrives, above all, in those formerly Protestant nations: Britain, America, but also Germany and the other northern European countries. It is far less apparent in Southern Latin Catholic Europe, for example.
And my life-experience has taught me this. Growing up in a world, as I did, wherein people no longer have any idea as to what a Sacrament is, nor what the true nature of the Church is (again as something beyond a denomination or a ‘belief-system’ or an institution) leads, naturally and inevitably, to the pagan spirituality of which the New Age movement is the latest recrudescence.
And I believe the reason that Catholic cultures are still far less New Age than the Anglosphere, in general, is that the Holy Sacramental Church still protects them.
Ireland may be the weakest link in the chain, however. For in our new globalised world, my own Anglo-American culture floods into Ireland like never before – through the common language she shares with the other Anglophone cultures.
Again, France and Spain, for example, are not nearly so inundated by an English-speaking culture, Protestant in origin, but increasingly New Age neo-pagan in practice.
We will pause shortly. In my last post, I said I would write a little series of entries addressing some of the key themes of this website – which, as I explained, also grew from my own life experience (as well as that of Kim, my beloved wife and fellow blogger).
It was fitting, then, that we started this series with the Sacred Heart.
And today, we have continued with themes like the Anglosphere resurgence of New Age neo-paganism and the protection against it offered by Catholic countries like Ireland and France.
For Catholic Ireland, as well as also France, are very important to Kim and myself at this website. They are, I think, the two countries which became most associated with Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And there is much, much more to say on that score …
But whilst we pause for now, we will most definitely be continuing. Indeed, this entire website is, as I have said, dedicated to exploring these very ideas.