25. How does New Age spirituality differ from that of Eastern mysticism?
Although the New Age readily embraces Eastern mysticism, it diverges from the old Eastern traditions because the New Age is more of a "hybrid spirituality," (131). The New Age combines Eastern and Western mystical beliefs. Eastern religions are not tailored for the modern world so the New Age mutates Eastern traditions to best suit the needs of the modern lifestyle.
26. How is paganism related to the New Age movement?
Paganism is integrally related to the New Age movement. Evidence of this can be found on any New Age bookstore shelf. The New Age movement is not necessarily demonic, as many modern witches do not believe in Satan, but neo-pagans assert a belief in a Goddess. Many New Agers support pre-Christian pagan beliefs and shamanism as well.
27. How does the eastern element of New Age spirituality contrast with Western Christianity's form of spirituality?
Eastern religions differ greatly from Christianity. First, many Eastern religions like Hinduism are polytheistic, whereas Christianity is monotheistic. Second, Eastern religions support a vision of oneness which includes the individual; Christianity believes in a distinction between the Creator and the creation. Eastern religions support belief in reincarnation, which also runs counter to Western Christian thought. Eastern spiritual practices like meditation differ from their Christian counterparts. Furthermore, Christianity and other Western religions are dualistic, whereas Eastern religions are more monistic.
28. How do the New Agers distort Biblical passages such as John 10:22-42 and Luke 17:21?
The New Agers distort Biblical passages, according to the author. For example, John 10:22-42 is often quoted as being supportive of pantheism. Here, Jesus encounters some hostile Jews. In his defense Jesus refers to one of the Pslams: "You are gods." New Agers read into this passage that Jesus "asserted the divinity of all people," (147). Also frequently cited by New Agers is the passage in Luke 17:21 which states, "The Kingdom of God is within you," (147). New Agers read into this that human beings are gods and that the divine resides in each of us. Sire claims that this distortion teaches pantheism and removes the quotes from their Biblical context. The solution to the problem is to re-read the passages within their proper context and respect the historical credibility of the Bible.
29. What problems does the author find with the concept of New Age reincarnation?
The concept of reincarnation is problematic and against the fundamental tenets of Christianity, according to the author. "Christ taught redemption, not reincarnation," he states on page 151. Groothuis debunks the possibility of reincarnation. He states that most Westerners assume that reincarnation means simply transmigration, when in actuality the Eastern concept of reincarnation permits one to return as an animal. Second, Groothuis states that reincarnation does not insure cosmic justice as many New Agers believe, because we do not remember our past lives or the lessons we supposedly learn from them. Third, the Eastern view of reincarnation is inherently contradictory, simultaneously preaching that there is no soul and that that soul can be reincarnated. Finally, there is no evidence for reincarnation and hypnosis accounts cannot be trusted.
30. What is the deficiency of the New Age in regards to evil and sin?
For the author, the deficiency of the New Age regarding sin and evil evokes Charles Manson. The New Age promotes moral relativism. Charles Manson supported the belief that "all is One." Thus the "distinction between good and evil is blurred," (155). By denying the existence of sin and evil, the New Age movement denies the moral tenets of Christianity.
31. How, according to the author, is Christianity's concept of God superior to the New Age view?
According to the author, Christianity's concept of good is superior to the New Age view. God's commands are codified in the Bible, and clearly set forth for humanity. Thus the Christian concept of good permits the person to know God's will rather than transcend it.
32. What is the New Age movement's main appeal?
The New Age movement's main appeal is its packaging. As Groothuis states on page 160: "It enlists the respectability of science, psychology, medicine, and established culture in general." The New Age uses language that appeals to the masses. The New Age also appeals to the corporate world, as it purports to help people increase their productivity and success.
33. What are the main problems with the New Age movement?
The three main problems with the New Age movement according to Groothuis are the reality of finiteness; the problem of goodness; and the loss of objectivity. Combined, these three things comprise a doctrine of deception central to the New Age movement.
34. What, according to the author, are the essentials of a Christian worldview?
The essentials of a Christian worldview according to the author include cosmic personalism; the transcendent, supernatural nature of God; ethics; rationality; the importance of experience; holism; objectivity; and historical necessity. These worldviews are presented in more detail in the chart on page 167. God is personal and moral. The Bible contains the truth. Ethics are rooted in God's law and are absolute. Human beings are fallen creatures originally made in the image of God. The main problem with humanity is rebellion against God's will, which is sin. The answer to human problems consists of faith and obedience to the Lord Christ. History is both linear and providential. Death means entry into either heaven or hell, both of which are eternal. All religions are not one; they are not all from God. Finally, Jesus Christ is the only incarnation of the Lord.
35. What is John Calvin's warning to Christians about reading works of non-Christians? How does this relate to the New Age?
John Calvin warns Christians about the dangers inherent in non-Christian writing, stating that the insights they display might indeed contain spiritual truths. Calvin advises Christians to openly accept non-Christian gifts from God. Although they stem from a "fallen and perverted" mind they might still reflect God's word (173). Therefore, readers must use discrimination and discernment when reading non-Christian texts Christians must learn to understand the difference between Christian…