Be sure to see our Recommended Resource!
The Roots of the New Age
Hinduism is a pantheistic religion which teaches, despite its plurality
of gods, that all beings have within them the atman, or universal soul.
The atman can merge with Brahma, the impersonal absolute that is the infinite
of which all are a part.
Life is governed by the law of karma, the law of cause-and-effect which
holds that all negative actions must be remedied through subsequent good
actions. Because one lifetime is never sufficient for eradicating the residual
bad karma that remains at death, beings are reincarnated until they achieve
moksa and are released from the cycles of karma and rebirth.
Buddhism is a pantheistic religion that developed as a reform of Hinduism.
While maintaining teachings that are similar to the Hindu understanding
of Brahma, karma, and rebirth or reincarnation, Buddhism emphasizes a very
different type of mysticism.
Buddhists believe that life consists of suffering brought on by selfish
desire. Selfish desire is overcome by following the Eightfold Path, which
includes correct mindfulness (an awareness that all is one) and correct
Taoism teaches that the tao, a life-giving energy that exists in all things.
Part of the tao are the yin and yang, elements of light and dark (or good
and evil) that are present in all beings. These elements, rather than existing
as opposites or absolutes, exist in a universal harmony. Furthermore, because
all things continually change, yin can become yang, and vice versa. Thus,
the central focus of life is to recognize the continually evolving harmony
of the universe.
The Gnostics were a heretical offshoot of Christianity in the first and
second centuries who taught that humans have a divine spark within them
that, when properly nourished through increased knowledge or gnosis, can
be ignited and leads the individual into union with the divine.
The New Age typically follows those Gnostics who believed that Jesus,
rather than being the unique Messiah and God, was a normal man who became
a Christ and taught his disciples the esoteric knowledge needed to unite
with the divine (it should be noted that many Gnostics believed that Jesus
was a god, but not the God of the Old Testament).
Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs
John Ankerberg and John Weldon
Over two dozen chapters on major New Age beliefs including: A Course
in Miracles, Angels, est and related Neopaganism, Mantras, Martial arts,
New Age education, Medicine, Scientology and a comprehensive New Age Health
Listing. A standard for any New Age library, 670 pgs., Index, Bib. $20.
here to order from our secure server.