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On the surface New Age Philosophy is popular and appealing. Millions of people are drawn to its message of positivity. And because Love of God and Neighbor are the great commandments of Christianity, many who follow Jesus are attracted to the new-age emphasis on love. The New Age Movement also attracts Christians because of this New Testament teaching:
"Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;
Some Christians are seduced by the praiseworthy and positive appearance of new-age philosophy. But by simply looking below the surface of its pleasant veneer, we find that New Age Philosophy directly contradicts foundational truths of Christianity. For example, the following basic Bible doctrines are undercut by the New Age Movement:
God is our Father in Heaven, and so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son to atone for the sins of the world; and by believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we can be forgiven of our sins, and be redeemed from the consequences of sin — healed and made whole.
By reading direct quotes of New Age Teachers, we will see that New Age Philosophy needs No Savior for Salvation, because there is No Sin from which we must be saved. And there is No Sin, because the apparent Evil in this world is just an illusion. For example, here's how the illusion of evil is expressed in the New-Age Bible called "A Course In Miracles," from page 23 of the Course's Workbook For Students:
"God did not create a meaningless world. ... What God did not create does not exist. ...
God did not create that war, and so it is not real.
To explore New Age Ideas that are contrary to Christianity, the words of prominent new-age pioneers will be quoted: Helen Schucman, author (scribe) of "A Course In Miracles," and Ernest Holmes, founder of a religion called "Science of Mind." I will also cite the words of Marianne Williamson, an acclaimed teacher of "A Course In Miracles," and I will quote the new-age assertions of Louise Hay, a best-selling author and minister for the "Science of Mind" religion.
A Course In Miracles
"A Course In Miracles" (hereafter abbreviated as ACIM) is a combined volume of writings that consists of 669 pages of Main Text, a 488-page Workbook For Students, a 92-page Manual For Teachers, and finally 58 more pages of introductory and supplementary writings — that's an astonishing 1,307 pages of well-written prose that took 7 years to compose.
The writings in ACIM are direct and confident. "The Voice" that inspired the Course has a straight-forward, assertive tone; each sentence communicates with matter-of-fact authority, as if to say — "This is the way the world is, this is the reality of human life!" ACIM is written with an assertiveness that borders on arrogance — a pompous confidence that caught the attention of Marianne Williamson when she first opened ACIM and from page 1 began reading these words:
"This is A Course in Miracles. It is a required course.
The previous quote from ACIM appears in Marianne Williamson's book, "A Return To Love." When she first began reading these words, Marianne remembered thinking: "that sounded rather intriguing, if not arrogant" (ARTL, p. xiv). But there is one more assertive sentence that Marianne did not print in her book, a sentence that comes at the end of the previous paragraph:
"The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite."
This statement subtly suggests a striking doctrine that is cunningly developed within the many pages of ACIM: That there is no force or entity of Evil in the universe! Why? Because Love — which is equal to God — is "all-encompassing" and therefore, God can "have no opposite." A claim reinforced by this assertion from page 606 of ACIM Text:
"There is no time, no place, no state where God is absent."
Though the statement is simple, its implications shake the very foundations of Christian theology. This seductive doctrine suggests two things:
1) There is no Lucifer, no Satan, no force of Evil — contrary to what the Apostle Paul preached (Eph. 6:12) and contrary to what is generally written in the Old Testament (Job 1:6-8) and the New Testament (Rev. 12:9).
2) God is the Universe, and the Universe is God. ACIM asserts a philosophy of pantheism: that God and the Universe are the same — a teaching that contradicts biblical descriptions of a personal God who is "your Father which is in Heaven" (Matt. 5:16), who "created man in his own image" (Gen. 1:26-27), a God who spoke with Moses "face to face, as a man speaks unto his friend" (Exodus 33:11).
The ACIM Volume that I perused was printed on onion-skin paper, similar to the thin paper used for publishing more expensive Bibles. Also, every paragraph and sentence of ACIM is numbered, in the same way Bible chapters and verses are numbered.
Clearly ACIM was intended to be referred to, and followed. From its very pages, an aggressive goal is openly announced: "to bring about thought reversal at which the Course aims" (ACIM, page ix).
But what kind of thought does ACIM intend to reverse?
The answer comes as one simply reads ACIM and observes how it uses Bible terms like, atonement, salvation, resurrection, and Christ — but brings new, non-biblical definitions to each word. As you read these new meanings that re-define biblical terms, it becomes crystal clear that ACIM was written to "bring about thought reversal" of Bible teachings.
It is both fascinating and frightening that ACIM was not actually authored by Helen Schucman; instead, Helen herself says she was the "scribe," and that the Course came to her through "a kind of rapid, inner dictation" from "the Voice" (ACIM, p. viii). It's also eerie that Helen Schucman describes herself as a psychologist who is "atheistic in belief" (ACIM, p vii). Thus "the Voice" chose an atheist to record 1,307 pages of prose intended to rebut and replace the Bible. Now ask yourself: What kind of god would ever choose an atheist to be a mouthpiece?
Helen Schucman admits that she felt "very uncomfortable" while receiving and transcribing what the Voice dictated, but "it never seriously occurred to me to stop" (ACIM, p viii). Among dozens of doctrines that diverge from Bible teachings, ACIM teaches a doctrine of moral relativism, that all roads lead to Heaven:
"[The Course] emphasizes that it is but one version of the universal curriculum.
Of course, the Bible describes a different and exclusive pathway to God:
"Strait is the gate, and narrow the way, which leads unto life."
"I am the way, the truth, and the life:
In addition to ACIM's appeal, based upon positivity and love, another reason why some Christians are drawn to New Age Ideas, is because prominent new-age teachers use biblical terms like Atonement, Salvation, Resurrection, and Christ in their writings — again, these Bible terms have very different definitions.
For example, ACIM gives the following meaning to the word Atonement = "cancelling out errors that you could not otherwise correct" (ACIM, p. 9)
This definition draws a vague parallel to biblical Atonement, but instead of "at-one-ment" occurring
through a person's faith in Christ and His sacrifice, the ACIM version of at-one-ment involves a cancelling out of a thinking error, due to a mis-perception of mind — as opposed to repenting of a mis-behavior or sin. Remember, in the new-age paradigm "there is no sin," so the act of repenting is meaningless:
"This is a key idea in understanding what salvation means. You still believe it asks
God's Will for me is perfect happiness.
Give these five minutes gladly, to remove the heavy load
God's Will for me is perfect happiness.
Marianne Williamson reinforces the teaching that "there is no sin." Note Williamson's words in the above picture-quote: A person is limited only by thoughts, fears, and beliefs — which are all controlled by one's mind. So Marianne is saying that "sin" is not limiting, for sin is an illusion created by "feverish imaginations." Again, the aim of ACIM is to bring about "thought reversal" from a biblical view, to a new-age outlook.
While the new-age version of Atonement is about "cancelling out errors" in your mind, in contrast, the Bible teaches that Atonement is accomplished exclusively through Christ and our Faith in this sole Savior who suffered for our sins. The Atonement is something only the Son of God could do. But in New Age Philosophy, Jesus is reduced to being just a wise teacher. Instead of Jesus being the Christ, the Savior of the world, new-agers see Jesus as a mere mortal who became "self-actualized" through his own corrected thinking; in the same way all human beings can become self-actualized through their corrected thinking.
From a new-age outlook, this mortal world needs No Savior because there is No Sin from which we must be saved. Now note how the following ACIM passage cleverly couples "attack" with "sin," then labels them both "one illusion."
"The state of sinlessness is merely this: The whole desire to attack is gone, ...
In this next ACIM passage, observe how "pleasure" and "pain" are also "unreal," thus illusions. This passage is important to new-age believers because typically Sin is tied to experiences of "pleasure" and "pain" — but these two, along with Sin, are only illusions created by incorrect thinking:
"What shares a common purpose is the same. This is the law of purpose. ... Pleasure and pain
I have to admit, Marianne Williamson offers many practical and poetic insights, such as:
"We are not held back by the love we didn't receive in the past,
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
While I can praise and support certain ideas that Marianne has expressed, I cannot support the larger paradigm that she is preaching; and in fact, I am rejecting and warning against her New Age Paradigm for reasons that come clear as we continue our inquiry.
Marianne comes from a Jewish upbringing and sees Jesus as the highest example of a "self-actualized" human being. She accepts many truths that Jesus taught, especially on the topic of Love. And because her teachings sometimes reflect the teachings of Jesus, some of her messages will have superficial appeal to Christians. However, beneath appearances, Marianne simply does not accept Christ's own description of Himself (John 15:1-5). In an interview with psychotherapist, Bill Elliot, Marianne responded as follows:
Bill Elliott: "Who was Jesus ?"
Marianne Williamson: "Jesus was a human being who while on earth completely self-actualized and fulfilled in all ways the potential glory that lies within us all. ... He demonstrated our destiny. He displayed for all to see the destination of this journey that we are on. ... He was sent down by God — as we all are. We are all extensions of the mind of God."
Bill Elliott: "Was Jesus the only Son of God?"
Marianne Williamson: "Hogwash! First, I believe we are all Sons of God, and it is our destiny to be as Jesus. ... Second, there is only one soul. To say that there is 'only one begotten son' doesn't mean that someone else was it, and we're not. It means we're all it. There's only one of us here."
Bill Elliot could have worded the second question more directly. He might have asked, "Was Jesus the only begotten Son of God in the flesh, where his mortal mother was Mary and his immortal Father was God, not Joseph?" Still, Marianne could have taken the opportunity to clarify and affirm what the Bible teaches, but she did not. Instead, Marianne expressed a belief typical of New Age Philosophy: "There's only one of us here ... We are all extensions of the mind of God."
In her book, "Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course In Miracles," Marianne expands on the idea that "there is only one soul. ... There's only one of us here."
"We're like the spokes on a wheel, all radiating out from the same center. If you
That "There's only one of us here" is a conclusion that contradicts the Bible. The following prophecy by Ezekiel affirms that every human being is an individual, and "resurrection" means that sinews, skin, and flesh will rejoin the bones of each soul, and every particular person will be raised from the grave, to live again!
"The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit,
If reality is as Marianne Williamson describes it — that all humanity are literally one with the Mind of God — then there would be no need for Ezekiel to prophesy of sinews, skin, and flesh being rejoined to dry bones! If Marianne's New Age Paradigm were true, then Ezekiel would not have written the words he wrote, as the "hand of the Lord was upon" him and he was "carried out in the spirit ... down in a valley full of dry bones."
From 900 B.C., the essential choice has not changed:
"And Elijah came unto all the people, and said,
So we all must choose: Believe in the Bible and in the Words of Christ, the Son of God, or believe in the writings of Marianne Williamson and other New-Age Teachers. But we cannot believe both, for New-Age Ideas contradict Bible teachings. Again, New Age Philosophy maintains that Jesus was just a great moral teacher, but Jesus Himself excluded that possibility with stunning statements that no mere mortal could make:
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me,
"I am the true vine, . . . abide in me, and I in you.
People who think that Jesus was a mere mortal, are ignoring His astonishing statements, and denying His many miracles, like raising Lazarus back to life (John 11:21-44), after he had been dead four days. For those souls who see Jesus as just a great teacher," C.S. Lewis explains why this postion is logically indefensible.
"I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing:
Science of Mind
Ernest Holmes (1887-1960), is the founder of Religious Science, or "Science of Mind." In his 669-page book entitled "The Science of Mind," Earnest Holmes writes a chapter called "Finding the Christ," wherein he redefines Jesus as "not the only begotten Son of God," but is "The Son, begotten of the only Father. ... Christ means the Universality Sonship, embodied in any individual who recognizes this Sonship." Holmes continues from page 359 of his book:
"We do believe that in the unique personage of Jesus, this Christ was more fully orbed than in
On this vital point, "Science of Mind" Religion diverts from foundational Bible doctrine. In contrast to the philosophy and religion that Ernest Holmes contrived out of his mind, the Apostle John, as "moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21), declared this sure way of knowing whether an Idea is from God, or not:
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because
Echoing the assertions of other New-Age Paradigms and Preachers, the Religion that Ernest Holmes created needs no Savior, no Messiah or Christ to save the world. Why? From pages 335-337 of "The Science of Mind," Holmes maintains that there is no entity of evil, "NO DEVIL." He writes the following, with the added emphasis via italics and CAPITALS supplied by Holmes himself:
"One of the most illuminating things which mysticism has
What is a Mystic? Ernest explains:
"A mystic is one who
"Further, the mystics have taught the ultimate salvation
Earlier, I spoke of "The Voice" that dictated the revelations of ACIM to Helen Schucman. It's clear that some "mystics" who perceive "truth" without mental process, are receiving revelation indeed, but not from the God who created Heaven and Earth. Why?
When mystics contradict the doctrines of the real God of Heaven and Earth, they expose themselves! So, exactly who are they receiving revelation from? I suggest that they are receiving imitation truth from the same fallen angel described in the book of Revelation:
"And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, ...
Isaiah writes of this fallen angel, who was cast out of heaven:
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!"
With Earnest Holmes' statement in mind about "the ultimate salvation of all people," now consider the thematic similarity to this account recorded by Moses:
"I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, ... is the same
Louise Hay was a student of Earnest Holmes, and eventually became one of the "ministers" for the Religion he founded, "Science of Mind" also called "Religious Science." Louise is very popular among people committed to being positive; programming your mind with positive affirmations is a technique central to her self-fulfillment paradigm.
In her book, "You Can Heal Your Life," hereafter abbreviated as YCHYL, Louise presents points that undercut Christianity. Here are some of those points, followed by Bible principles that express the opposite position:
Louise Hay says:
Louise Hay embraces the new-age assumption that the "Universe" and God are the same. So Louise is saying that God will totally support you and I in every thought we choose to think and believe. Really? Regardless of whether the thought is good, bad, or ugly?
In contrast the God of the Bible will not support "Every Thought We Choose to Think and Believe" — instead, when we choose ideas and actions contrary to His wisdom and way, we will experience consequences that provide a clear clue that we have not be True to His Truth.
A good man obtains favour of the Lord: but he that is of a perverse heart
Louise Hay says:
Differently, the Bible teaches:
"For whom the Lord
Louise Hay says:
This belief reflects Louise Hay's assumption that "our experiences are just outer effects of inner thoughts." The problem with this idea is that other people are reduced to being mere "inner thoughts" in your head.
In contrast, the Bible would have us respond to others as real, and treat them with genuine respect and love unfeigned, and not see others as a just a product of our thinking:
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another;
In response to Louise Hay's picture-quote above, let's imagine that you were a parent of a child who was making the self-destructive choice to take illegal drugs, this would be a problem, right? Now would Louise Hay really say, "You need to fix your thinking about your child, and 'the problem' will fix itself?"
Instead of seeing problems in terms of fixing one's thinking, a process of ever-making Head Corrections, a parent might sense the situation at the level of Heart, and with genuine empathy, see a son or daughter as a real person; one who needs love and support, and who may need some straight-talk about the harmful consequences tied to taking drugs.
Louise Hay says:
According to Louise Hay, because there is no entity of Evil, or real being named "Satan," your thoughts are always a function of what you choose to think. She expands upon this premise as follows:
"Do not think your mind is in control. You are in control of your mind. You use your mind." (YCHYL, p. 66)
Before I show how this premise contradicts Bible doctrine, first consider the circular dilemma created by Louise Hay's assertion: IF "You are in control of your mind" then exactly what "mind" are you using as "You" take control of your . . . mind? Albert Einstein recognized this contradictory conundrum when he said:
"You can't use the same mind that created
I call this conundrum, "Einstein's Mind Bind," and explain it here: "You Can't Train Your Brain Using the Same Brain that Needs Training."
Now in terms of Bible Doctrine, Louise Hay's assumption that "You are in control of your mind" is not totally true. In this human world we continually "wrestle ... against the rulers of the darkness of this world" (Eph. 6:12); which means that we cannot control every thought that comes to Mind. This is so, because God has cast out Satan from His presence and has allowed Lucifer, for a wise purpose, to tempt and try all humanity.
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan,
Because Satan and his influence are very real, again, some of the thoughts that we think are not created by us at all; instead, certain thoughts are initiated by Satan. For instance, have you ever had a completely bizarre thought enter your mind? Something extremely irrational like "jump off this cliff" or "steer your car into traffic" or "get a gun and and harm others." Such are examples of the kind of destructive thoughts that Satan inspires. And while we cannot always control whether these thoughts will enter our minds, we do have God's promise that He will "make a way of escape" (1 Cor. 10:13) from every temptation.
Louise Hay's belief that "The Only thing We Are Ever Dealing With Is a Thought" is an assumption complementary to the idea that one's body is an illusion. As ACIM teaches:
"There is nothing outside of you ... The body is outside you. ...
And why is it important for Satan and New-Agers to conclude that the body is an illusion?
Because it is through the body, that human beings enact sin; therefore, if the body is an illusion, then sin is an illusion, and the ideas of Satan and Evil are also illusions. A very bizarre doctrine indeed, but one that was predicted about 2,560 years ago:
"For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts, of the
The New Age Movement reduces Jesus the Christ to just a great moral teacher, and in doing so it attacks the very heart of Christianity. Further, because all roads supposedly lead to Heaven, and Salvation is allegedly extended to all — regardless of choices made in mortality — this means New Age Philosophy advocates Moral Relativism. Therefore, people are free to pursue all manner of hedonistic indulgence, because "there is no sin" and all apparent consequences of sin are an illusion. So whatever you choose to do, Christ is OK with it! Because Jesus is your Buddy and not your Judge — even though the Bible says otherwise (2 Tim. 4:1).
In contrast to the new-age "Christ" that is merely a Principle, the "Christ" of the Bible was and is a real Person born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father. The word "Christ" is the Greek translation for the Hebrew word "Messiah" (John 1:41; John 4:25). The Messiah prophesied in the Bible would be a Savior through whom we might receive "forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5:30-31).
The title of "Christ" includes being "the Son of God" (John 20:31), and those who believe in the "only begotten Son" (1 John 4:9-10) will have "everlasting life" (John 3:16). Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, is not only the very Person through which all humanity is saved from sin, but also the very Power by which all humanity is saved from the grave (John 11:25) — resurrected from mortal death to immortal life.
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
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