Aisle 19—The Easternisation of the West

We are greatly concerned by the essentially Eastern spirituality commonly regarded as the “universal” New Age Movement.

We concur with Fr. Mich Pacwa who has called the movement a highly Americanised form of Hinduism. That is only an approximation or nutshell, I (Roger) would say— but as nutshells go, it is not bad!

The truth of course is more nuanced and complex. Still, my experience as New Age activist over many years confirms that all kinds of New Agers believe they stand for a timeless, universal spirituality transcending all religions, never realising how Eastern (or indeed American!) their beliefs really are.

Alas, far too few Catholics are really aware of this phenomenon. Besides my own two main books on the subject (Cor Jesu Sacratissimum and The Gentle Traditionalist Returns) there are few Catholic books I can recommend here. Lee Penn’s False Dawn however is truly superb and there are worthwhile efforts below from Fr. Pacwa and Stratford Caldecott. The remaining titles are mainly secular. I highlight Colin Campbell’s stunning Easternisation of the West. American Veda is an outright celebration of Americanised Easternism—but one may learn much from it! And other non-Catholic books here are recommended for similar reasons.

Catholic Books on the New Age
The Easternisation of the West . . .
Catholic (1) Secular (1) Protestant (2)

That is it! Truly, I wish there better Christian books on the New Age Movement. However, too many are either simplistic or sensational, though they often mean well. I will just point out that one of my two books on the New Age, The Gentle Traditionalist Returns is meant to be a simple guide to the New Age without being simplistic. It is a more popular version of the ideas about the New Age in my large Cor Jesu book.

In it, the Gentle Traditionalist confronts the New Age. We close this page with a few words from the Gentle Traditionalist himself:

GT: Part of the problem is people don’t see the essence here. They think Eastern means practicing yoga or Zen. But we’re talking about something more subtle.

Today, for instance, the Christian quest for salvation is increasingly replaced by the quest for enlightenment, mindfulness or self-knowledge. Christian understanding of evil and sin is replaced by the Eastern notion of error and ignorance. And Christian love is replaced by monism, oneness . . .

There’s also a growing belief reality is illusory, like the Eastern concept of Maya. Syncretism is likewise more Eastern than Western. It’s these ideas, non-Christian ideas, indeed pre-Christian ideas, that most concern me. The practices are less common. Most Westerners aren’t about to start chanting the likes of Hare Krishna! Little do they realise the spirituality they subscribe to increasingly resembles the Orient’s . . .

Really, I ask myself if it’s 1517 all over again!

Roger Buck, The Gentle Traditionalist Returns, p. 176-177

Visit More Aisles in Our Book Shop

Buying Books at Amazon Through These Links Gives Us a Commission. This Supports Our Apostolate. Thank You if You Can Help Us Like This!