New Age beliefs (Part 3)

Part 3 of this series on the New Age explores the ethical standards of right and wrong.  Because everything is God in New Age thinking, we are part of God.  Therefore, we can determine what is right and wrong. This is also known as moral relativism. This has to be the case, since New Age thought begins with the assumption that God is not a Personal Being, He did not speak the Ten Commandments to Moses, so there is no ultimate, moral standard. And if God didn’t speak to Moses, then He didn’t inspire any biblical book. According to New Age writer David Spangler, the Bible is irrelevant: “We can take all the scriptures…and have a jolly good bonfire and marshmallow roast, because that is all they are worth.”

What’s more, the Bible is not just pointless; it’s the problem, along with the traditional family, church, and state. These hinder our evolution to godhood, since they deny our personal power. As outside authorities, they impose their versions of right and wrong on people. These laws create a barrier to humanity’s experience of enlightenment.

In contrast, divine revelation doesn’t come from the Bible or any outside source; it comes from within us. It stems from our higher consciousness, or the ability to get in touch with the part of us that is God. Noebel summarizes: “Inner soul-searching becomes the only significant means of discovering truth.” God is all things; therefore, we are good. Furthermore, we can tap into “God” within us and determine our own ethical boundaries.

How can we specifically determine right and wrong and evolve spiritually? Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry lists the following: “astral projection which is training your soul to leave your body and travel around; contacting spirits so they may speak through you or guide you; using crystals to purify your body’s and mind’s energy systems; visualization where you use mental imagery to imagine yourself as an animal, in the presence of a divine being, or being healed of sickness, etc.”

But moral relativism, where we each decide right and wrong, has problems. One is with the logic behind it. Saying there is no moral absolute is an absolute statement itself, which is contradictory. Moreover, if each person is the final moral authority, what happens when people disagree? Is adultery sin or not? What if one spouse is faithful and the other is not? According to New Age ethics, honoring another’s rules rather than your own truth sacrifices your godhood. Therefore, “tolerance” is key: do not judge other’s beliefs or actions. While interesting in theory, this doesn’t work in practice!

Yet judgment is inevitable, even in New Age thinking. Adherents will speak of karma, the total effect of one’s actions in his/her lifetime. “The law of karma implies that every thought or deed, whether they are good or bad, will count in determining how an individual will be born in their next life on earth.” The question arises: who is determining the karmic debt? And what standard is used to delineate right and wrong?

Moreover, if everything is God, then good and evil are one! Douglas Groothuis warns, “In the philosophy of the One, ethical distinctions evaporate; supposed opposites—light and dark, good and evil, humans and God—merge and fuse.” To state it even more bluntly, “The ‘God’ of monism is fatally flawed. Since he (or ‘it’ which is more accurate) is the one essence with creation and consciousness, God is thus the origin of the imperfection and evil in our world; the foulest deeds and thoughts of humanity literally become attributes of God.”

Using New Age ethics requires the acceptance of contradictions. Ferguson states it this way: “This wholeness unites opposites…there is neither good nor evil. There is only light and the absence of light…wholeness and brokenness…flow and struggle.” And so what we deem evil—adultery, murder, theft—is simply part of a continual struggle to reach the next level of evolution. Remember that the next time you are the victim of a crime or a sinful act.

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