Reflections on Evil and the New Age Movement …

Devil and Nun carving at Chartres Cathedral. Courtesy Walwyn by Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

I will soon return to my very personal musings on Global Warming, Law, Valentin Tomberg and what the Holy Father has recently been saying relating to all that …

But first, an interlude.

I have been very moved by the dialogue going on at my wife Kim´s weblog, concerning the New Age Denial of the Fall. (That dialogue started there and then continued here). I felt real value there in the comments left by Aaron and Edwin and am grateful indeed for them.

In addition to the intelligence of these comments, it is also just good to get a sense of who is ‘out there’. We are grateful to see – via the wonders of internet technology – that an increasing number of folk follow this site, but we are especially grateful to those of you who venture forth to comment.

Now, most recently Edwin, you have emphasisied the need for dialogue with the New Age movement. Amen. And at the same time, you wrote:

Seeing the pervasiveness of New Age ideology and how it really holds people back from authentic spiritual relationships that can only be found in the great Traditions I’ve begun to wonder if indeed there is something evil about it.

Now, many a Catholic traditionalist might simply say the New Age movement self-evidently involves Luciferic or Satanic work to lead people away from Christ.

However, I concur when Edwin writes “New Age types tend to be very sensitive spiritually” and I find significant sincerity and conscientiousness amongst such folk.

At the same time I would be lying, if I were to say that I simply discarded the statement that there are demonic attempts to obscure Christ manifesting in the New Age. I will be frank about my view: such a position is not without truth. The problem is, that it is very hard to have a dialogue starting with language such as this.

But what to do?

Protection - Evil and New Age
Let not the dragon be my guide. With gratitude to BellatorDei for graphic.

The deeper I go into Christianity, the deeper my heart opens, it seems to me. And it opens ever more to the fact that people are being robbed and deprived of Christianity.

Secularisation and the New Age movement leave people, good people, with NO IDEA what Christianity is …

And I join with traditional Christianity in seeing that dark forces are undoubtedly mixed up in this.

That is to say, I can no longer side with those who, in the interests of ecumenism and tolerance, simply want to shy away from such notions.

Evil exists. And although many Catholics of the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II” persuasion would like to shy away from emphasising evil, in the end Christianity is all to do with understanding the struggle of Good and Evil. This is what Christianity has been speaking about from the beginning and this is what traditional Catholics see …

They see evil, they see the Fall, and thus, as I come to below, they also see the Redemption …

No, I will not renounce talk of evil and the devil, simply for the sake of dialogue. But again, what to do …?

What is helpful to me is to recall – as constantly as I can – that dark forces are mixed up in everything, certainly including Christianity and Catholicism.

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One of the many very moving aspects of the pontificate of the great John Paul II was for me, his continued requests for the forgiveness for the sins of Christianity.

New Agers tend to find fault with Christianity for being “judgmental”. Ironically, they judge Christianity as being judgmental.

But their judgment is not without truth either.

Christianity has often been and often continues to be triumphalist: There is an attitude all-too-common which has gone like this: We the Christians are right on all counts and the Church is the Pure, White Triumpher over the Black Forces …

In aspiring to dialogue with the New Age movement, I suggest an approach like this might be more helpful:

“My friends, brothers, sisters in the New Age, who like me, seem to be seeking something higher, more profound, more good than the so-called “goods” of this materialistic civilisation, I join with you in your idealism, in your quest for the beautiful and true, beyond the crassness of this world …

At the same time, the more I have studied the New Age movement, the more I have reflected on my own twenty years of identification with it, the more troubled I become. My heart becomes ever more solemn.

I do not wish to point a finger at you, and say: New Age, bad, dark, much less Satanic …

For I feel the grip of darkness clutching at my own heart. And I see the darkness within Christianity, too.

In this Fallen World, there is no one great whiter-than-white shining knight on a pristine horse.

The Church, although Holy and Wondrous, has often been let down, even been betrayed by the all-too-human members of the Church. It began with Judas and continued with Peter denying Christ. And it is the same, even today …

Still, in all my years, I never found any agent in this Fallen World that would bring healing and purification to my heart like the Catholic Church …

And so what I can claim is that the more my heart opens, the more I need to take seriously the problem of evil.

You New Agers see Christianity as judgmental. You judge it. And often in my experience, you do not judge the New Age movement. In my experience, it so often becomes for you, triumphalist too. A shining White Knight, who is going to save us from the centuries of Christian judgmentalism and oppression.

Dear New Age friends, dear Christian friends, let us not be afraid to look into the darkness of our own hearts . . .”

Friends, known and unknown, reading this weblog. My heart, my experiences, my prayers, my dreams point ever more in this direction: The World is being ROBBED of Christianity.

People are being deprived – nay starved. The Denial of the Fall that Kim has spoken of IS a serious global problem.

Without understanding the Fall, there is no need of Redemption. And there is no need to pour out our hearts in gratitude, in reverence, in love to our Redeemer. To pour out our hearts. I know indeed that my gratitude, my reverence, my love for Christ our Lord, is paltry indeed.

I know that it never suffices enough. But the more I confront the Fall and the Dark Powers at work in the New Age, in the World and yea in the Church and in my own heart, the more I can at least come to my own paltry estimation of the Sacrifice on Calvary.

But without seeing the Fall, there is no hope for that at all. And yes, Edwin, I believe evil is at work, no more invested in this. And I want to echo you again, when you write: “The hold of New Age beliefs [is] so strong.”

Yes, the hold is very strong indeed. Hold – it is a good word, with all it implies concerning the deprivation of freedom.

This hold is a serious world problem.

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2 responses to “Reflections on Evil and the New Age Movement …”

  1. Edwin Shendelman Avatar
    Edwin Shendelman

    Part of the problem with classifying certain things like New Age as evil is there may be some very legitimate things that can get caught up in it. For example, on more than one occasion I have heard or been presented with the idea by traditionalist Catholic or Orthdox types that work with Chakras is “New Age” and therefore evil. Based on my esoteric studies and experiences I told these people that being against Chakras was like being against one’s liver, heart or kidneys as they are simply a part of one’s inner anatomy. All humans and even animals have an inner anatomy of Centers (Chakras), Channels, Gates and Fields (auras). But my words fell on deaf ears. This reflects another thing which I have observed amongst traditionalist types. If you taint something with the name of “New Age” their eyes and ears get plugged up, even to the truth! In other words, their attitudes border on the superstitious. I believe there is a legitimate Christian inner work that involves the subtle, inner anatomy. But these people will never know about it because they been told and hastily accepted that this is “evil.”

    This leads to another point. Spiritual knowledge exists that is not part of Dogma in a formal way. If this is so the question becomes what is the relation of this knowledge to the truths enshrined in Dogma? We can be a little inclined to brand evil that which we don’t find in dogma. On the other shoe, we might be to accepting of everything we hear.
    Some spiritual or esoteric knowledge may lead one to evil, some may be neutral or irrelevant, some may lead one to the Good. Also, certain things may be neutral in themselves and it depends what one does with it. The subtle, inner anatomy is case in point. Some people report that certain practices led to an infestation of evil through the inner anatomy. But it is also true, that the inner anatomy can be irradiated by the True Sun, of the highest energy and light of the Holy Trinity, the Fruit of the Tree of Life, the Bread of Heaven.

    1. roger Avatar

      Thank you for your as ever complex and thoughtful comment here, Edwin.

      Many, many issues emerge for me as I read you, including ones to do with my own autobiography.

      As someone who participated in the New Age movement intensively, it is hardly surprising that over the years I received certain kinds of work – intended as healing – on my “subtle, inner anatomy” as you put it.

      While I would agree with you that the fact of such an inner anatomy is not one precluded by the dogmas of the Church, my own autobiography – too extensive for a comment box! – suggests to me that the Church is not without legitimate intent in the kind of caution it generates around these issues in the faithful.

      I do feel my “inner anatomy” was manipulated by people who did not know what they were doing and that real danger exists here. I have in fact come to suspect that some of the de-christianisation we see in the West today – particularly in the New Age movement – is being aided and abetted by manipulations of “inner anatomy”, again as you put it.

      I feel there is something we must take very seriously and gravely in your own words:

      “Some people report that certain practices led to an infestation of evil through the inner anatomy.”

      I have a sense of people playing with a fire that is very rarely if ever sufficiently understood …

      I want to stress that I use the words and phrases above like “feel” and “suspect” “have a sense” very advisedly. I am well aware that many will accuse me of becoming paranoid and polarising – “branding” evil, projecting my own darkness onto things and more.

      These things are not easy. I just try to be as prudent as I can, examining and re-examining …

      As for superstition in traditionalists. Well, yes. Superstition it seems to me is everywhere. The New Age is very superstitious. The scientism of people like Richard Dawkins is filled with superstition. (I trust for example that epiphenomenalism will one day be seen as the height of superstition i.e. a hasty conclusion based on self-protectiveness against perceived threat …)

      Few if any of us, escape superstition. The only means of escape I see is through prayer and rigourous examination in light of minds – and ultimately saints – far greater than oneself. A true traditionalism orients oneself I think to such effort in the presence of the geniuses of the tradition – which geniuses are not simply intellectual, but geniuses of holiness, as well.

      But undoubtedly, traditionalism frequently degenerates into less than such a lofty goal. Where as you say, things are often too “hastily accepted” without such rigour and prayer. We are all very, very fallen and given to being very limited and prejudiced.

      Still in light of the darkness I intimate above – whether I am paranoid or prudent only God knows – I join with the cautiousness of traditionalists regarding “inner anatomy”. Although at the same time, this is hardly the same as advocating a simplistic tarring with the same brush a whole cluster of things as evil – simply because they sometimes appear in association with the term “New Age”.

      Having read your comment several times, I am aware of much else in it, as well. And it will continue in my thoughts and prayers …