Oprah, New Age, and You

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Over the last week, I have been immersed in the controversy of New Age beliefs, where Oprah is headed and what that means to you and me. All of this started with my original post about Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, and their online “educational” collaboration, which you can read here. One of the observations that I have come to is that anytime someones “Sacred Cow” is tipped, there is the usual rush to defend the “Sacred Cow” without investigating the truth. I don’t claim to be free from that sort of initial bias myself. However, truth must be what guides our actions and our directions. Unfortunately, in today’s world, truth can be an elusive goal. It often takes some determination to find it. Which is why so few of us wind up there, because it takes effort.

We want everything fast today. I’m as guilty as anyone on this count. We want what we want yesterday. Today is not good enough anymore. I can’t even stand waiting for 2-3 minutes in the line at McDonalds anymore. And the the 2:30 wait for a bag of popcorn to pop seems interminable to me at times. We live in a 24 hour news cycle so that we never have to wait to know what’s going on or what the weather is in a part of the country we don’t even live in.

With that cultural template as our guide, we blindly accept most of what we hear and see without ever taking the time to personally dissect and investigate for ourselves. That is a dangerous place for us all to be in. Especially when it comes to questions that impact eternal destinies.

Thanks to the authors of some very helpful websites, I was able to find the following information for your consideration (stick with this to the end and you’ll find where Oprah enters into this discussion):

The New Age Movement is in a class by itself. Unlike most formal religions, it has no holy text, central organization, membership, formal clergy, geographic center, dogma, creed, etc. They often use mutually exclusive definitions for some of their terms. The New Age is in fact a free-flowing spiritual movement; a network of believers and practitioners who share somewhat similar beliefs and practices, which they add on to whichever formal religion that they follow. Their book publishers take the place of a central organization; seminars, conventions, books and informal groups replace of sermons and religious services.

Quoting John Naisbitt:

“In turbulent times, in times of great change, people head for the two extremes: fundamentalism and personal, spiritual experience…With no membership lists or even a coherent philosophy or dogma, it is difficult to define or measure the unorganized New Age movement. But in every major U.S. and European city, thousands who seek insight and personal growth cluster around a metaphysical bookstore, a spiritual teacher, or an education center.” 1

The New Age is definitely a heterogeneous movement of individuals; most graft some new age beliefs onto their regular religious affiliation. Recent surveys of US adults indicate that many Americans hold at least some new age beliefs:

8% believe in astrology as a method of foretelling the future
7% believe that crystals are a source of healing or energizing power
9% believe that Tarot Cards are a reliable base for life decisions
about 1 in 4 believe in a non-traditional concept of the nature of God which are often associated with New Age thinking:

11% believe that God is “a state of higher consciousness that a person may reach”
8% define God as “the total realization of personal, human potential”
3% believe that each person is God.

The group of surveys cited above classify religious beliefs into 7 faith groups. 2Starting with the largest, they are: Cultural (Christmas & Easter) Christianity, Conventional Christianity, New Age Practitioner, Biblical (Fundamentalist, Evangelical) Christianity, Atheist/Agnostic, Other, and Jewish, A longitudinal study from 1991 to 1995 shows that New Agers represent a steady 20% of the population, and are consistently the third largest religious group. 2

New Age beliefs:

A number of fundamental beliefs are held by many New Age followers; individuals are encouraged to “shop” for the beliefs and practices that they feel most comfortable with:

Monism: All that exists is derived from a single source of divine energy.
Pantheism: All that exists is God; God is all that exists. This leads naturally to the concept of the divinity of the individual, that we are all Gods. They do not seek God as revealed in a sacred text or as exists in a remote heaven; they seek God within the self and throughout the entire universe.
Panentheism: God is all that exists. God is at once the entire universe, and transcends the universe as well.
Reincarnation: After death, we are reborn and live another life as a human. This cycle repeats itself many times. This belief is similar to the concept of transmigration of the soul in Hinduism.
Karma: The good and bad deeds that we do adds and subtracts from our accumulated record, our karma. At the end of our life, we are rewarded or punished according to our karma by being reincarnated into either a painful or good new life. This belief is linked to that of reincarnation and is also derived from Hinduism
An Aurais believed to be an energy field radiated by the body. Invisible to most people, it can be detected by some as a shimmering, multi-colored field surrounding the body. Those skilled in detecting and interpreting auras can diagnose an individual’s state of mind, and their spiritual and physical health.
Personal Transformation A profoundly intense mystical experience will lead to the acceptance and use of New Age beliefs and practices. Guided imagery, hypnosis, meditation, and (sometimes) the use of hallucinogenic drugs are useful to bring about and enhance this transformation. Believers hope to develop new potentials within themselves: the ability to heal oneself and others, psychic powers, a new understanding of the workings of the universe, etc. Later, when sufficient numbers of people have achieved these powers, a major spiritual, physical, psychological and cultural planet-wide transformation is expected.
Ecological Responsibility: A belief in the importance of uniting to preserve the health of the earth, which is often looked upon as Gaia, (Mother Earth) a living entity.
Universal Religion: Since all is God, then only one reality exists, and all religions are simply different paths to that ultimate reality. The universal religion can be visualized as a mountain, with many sadhanas (spiritual paths) to the summit. Some are hard; others easy. There is no one correct path. All paths eventually reach the top. They anticipate that a new universal religion which contains elements of all current faiths will evolve and become generally accepted worldwide.
New World Order As the Age of Aquarius unfolds, a New Age will develop. This will be a utopia in which there is world government, and end to wars, disease, hunger, pollution, and poverty. Gender, racial, religious and other forms of discrimination will cease. People’s allegiance to their tribe or nation will be replaced by a concern for the entire world and its people.

Now that’s a lot of info to digest there. But let me highlight the key phrases from that information:

  • Unlike most formal religions, it has no holy text, central organization, membership, formal clergy, geographic center, dogma, creed, etc.
  • most graft some new age beliefs onto their regular religious affiliation
  • individuals are encouraged to “shop” for the beliefs and practices that they feel most comfortable with:
  • A longitudinal study from 1991 to 1995 shows that New Agers represent a steady 20% of the population, and are consistently the third largest religious group

Here’s the essential truth regarding NEW AGE beliefs – There is no ultimate truth. There is no text to read from and follow. Instead, there is an encouragement for you to “find your own way. Make up your own set of beliefs. Keep what you like and throw out what you don’t.” My friends, that is insanity. Truth is not a “pick and choose” sport. But that is exactly what New Age is promoting. So most people are apparently keeping some of their original faith teachings (but only the ones they really personally like) and adding a few others here and there. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of faith. Isn’t it wonderful? That’s certainly what practitioners would want you to believe. But what happens when the ingredients in the smorgasbord are not only tainted, but dangerous? How wonderful is it then? Sadly, according to this information, New Agers now represent approximately 20% of the population. And in today’s cultural climate of instant gratification and lazy approaches toward truth, that number is likely to grow.

And now, enter Oprah. She has become in some ways the worlds leading evangelist. Millions of people love her and trust her. That is a powerful to position to be in. And one of great responsibility. And where has Oprah decided to direct her millions of followers? Into the gumbo stew of pick-and-choose, find your own ingredients, faith. And if you should doubt that her latest venture is not, in fact, a New Age evangelistic outreach, here is the icon found at the bottom of the aforementioned website that provided the New Age information above:

oprah-and-new-age.jpg

Do not simply listen to me and take my word for it. Be a miner of truth. Find out where she is leading. Discern the truth. Take your time. Due your due diligence. She may be leading, but it is up to you to follow or choose a different direction.

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4 Responses

  1. I will not dissuade your stand about Oprah, except to say…perhaps you watch too much TV. On the other hand, as a Pantheist, I would like to point out that the concept of Pantheism pre-dates Christianity. John Naisbitt’s assurtion that “…leads naturally to the concept of the divinity of the individual, that we are all Gods”. This is a missconception. Pantheist believe in only one “God” (a term which I dislike using, how ever I will here for simplicity), that “God” being all that exists. Of which humans are a very, very small part of. I would direct you to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantheism for a more extended definition of Pantheism.

  2. sounds like you still need to search (research) a bit more. what you have said here is nothing short of ignorant. only religious people would turn this into another religion. you have been had by the religious nonsense. perhaps if you studied world religion, its history and read pre-christian texts you could educate yourself a bit. here are some facts for your amazement: there are over 10,000 practicing religions in the world. a 150 main religions with over a million adherents. the christian church has 33,380 distinct denominations each with slightly different beliefs. that gives christianity a 0.002% chance. 2000 years and not one christian has ever moved mountains, heal the sick, give the blind sight, uproot a tree even-though jesus said that everything he did you can do and more. not one person with enough faith the size of the muster-seed. if oprah’s trying to wake people up from the deep coma the church enforced for 2000 years bothers you, then obviously you have zero faith in your dogmatic nonsensical fear based religion. have a nice day!

  3. Huzonian,

    If you saw Jesus walking on the water, you would report to the world that Jesus couldn’t swim! Your post is an offense. God DOES heal. You are reading the post of a man whose son was healed by God from an incurable brain injury. I am sorry you were not there. A Christian can to the intensive care unit and prayed for him. So, that’s at least one that I know of.

    Regardless of your rambling, opinions, and the perceived substance in your warbling words, you are going to die…period. Is that hate speech to say that? Is that a fear based statement? Or is it just…true?

    No matter what you say or do, you will meet Him, eventually. And even though you may be skeptical about Him, of totally disbelieve Him, He loves you. He became a man to suffer your pain and take the penalty for your sins. The only thing that will ever separate you from Him is your own, personal unbelief. The ball is in your court, buddy. Have a nice day.

    One more thing — Throughout history, people have done horrific things in the name of God. But, none of those things could ever be so horrific as to subvert the truth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. You are still responsible for your actions, under God. I’ll see you soon, prayerfully.

  4. Anyone know any other instant hypnosis tricks explained here

    thanks

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