It’s a pity that Christians and New Agers are irreconcilably divided on matters of doctrine. In truth, we are more alike than is apparent. Indeed, we could be the very closest of allies.
Consider our shared antipathy to – and persecution by – the current world religion and its priesthood. What Christians identify as “secular humanism” New Agers term “rationalistic materialism”: the scientists, academics, government officials, and media which run our society and ridicule anything which counters contemporary stereotypes. A few decades ago it was not considered impolite or impolitic to publicly deride Jews and Blacks; however today an anti-Semitic or anti-Black remark brings swift rebuke. But still fair game are Christians, New Agers, Shiite Muslims – anybody, in fact, whose beliefs are a little different.
We shouldn’t have to stand for that crap, any more than the Jews and Blacks should. But they changed it, and the way they did so was by standing up, shaking their fists, and telling mainstream society to get off their cases. But we Christians and New Agers can hardly tell society to get off our backs if we’re still at each others’ throats; else we show ourselves to be hypocrites and justly deserve the opprobrium which society dishes us.
Christians and New Agers are also united by our deep respect for life. For many Christians this is symbolized by the Right to Life movement, and for New Agers by environmental activism. Note that the impulse is basically the same; we’re just patrolling different sectors. And that impulse is one of saying, “STOP a minute! We’re chewing up lives here, we’re mindlessly destroying life in our mad rush to gobble-gobble-gobble.” Christians and New Agers are the conscience of this age, we are the ones who are pointing out that love, joy, and compassion are somehow getting lost in this shuffle.
And so we come to another similarity: our shared esteem for moral and spiritual over material values. Both Christians and New Agers are acutely aware that our leaders are lying through their teeth at us, that the whole social / political set-up is a sham. Christians tend to view the scenario as the work of Satan, whereas New Agers view it as the work of cupidity and stupidity. Although actively striving to reform society, both recognize that the real battle is within: the chief goal in life for those in both camps is to master Satan’s temptations or the ego’s bullheadedness within ourselves. Turning away from society’s definition of what is desirable, Christians and New Agers alike are tuning in to spiritual solutions to life’s problems. Society says to us, “More and more and more!” Both Christians and New Agers reply, “Enough already!”
So here we are together, and more similar than different within a society that spurns our values and mocks our presence. Still, we continue to act as if we were better off divided. And if separatism and elitism is where we’re at, then perhaps I’d best close with a different thought, tailored to each in turn.
A WORD TO CHRISTIANS: We New Agers don’t particularly care to be characterized as flaky airheads, or inspired by the devil. You’ll recall that the latter charge has also been leveled at your own predecessors at various times and places, and we New Agers don’t like being thrown to the lions any more than you do.
A WORD TO NEW AGERS: If we offer ourselves as clearsighted, then let’s trash our easy assent to the media’s distortions and give a better eye to the Christian viewpoint. Take, for example, the creationist versus evolutionist argument. Whether we agree with creationism or not, it is certainly a valid belief, no less valid in any ultimate sense than the evolutionary belief. It can’t be impeached by ridicule, and there’s no way it can be disproven – or the evolution theory verified – in an apodictic, mathematical sense. The Christians are quite correct in insisting that if the evolutionary theory is going to be taught in the public schools, then it ought to be taught as a theory, not as a fact. Indeed, this is the only valid way to teach evolution, since science is merely a body of current opinion. After all, is it inconceivable that evolution may someday go the way of phlogiston and ether? It’s just plain, good science to teach evolution as a theory, and the Christians are performing a valuable service to the scientific community in reminding them of this.
Similarly, we must not fall for ploys like the media’s savage pillorying of Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and other “fallen angels” in its efforts to discredit their beliefs. In fact the behavior of these two men may be seen as a credit to their faith: each had the courage to confess his sins publicly and face humiliation openly. Precisely because of their Christian beliefs – their faith in the power of forgiveness – Bakker and Swaggart exemplify a courage few are able to gainsay.
Although many Christian doctrines are as unpalatable to me as New Age doctrines are to most Christians, I respect Christians for their sincerity, their idealism, and their dedication to something beyond immediate gratification and personal glory. At their best, both Christians and New Agers are delivering the same message: it’s time to cut across society’s empty chatter and rise up to a meaningful process of healing
Bob Makransky’s Astrology Corner © 2001