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The New Age Cometh

The New Age Cometh

In this article we are going to examine a "religious belief" which has and is permeating our society at an alarming rate. To paint its identification with a broad brush, it would probably be best called The New Age Movement. This movement has invaded society in a not-so-subtle manner. It permeates education, television, politics, environmental activism, and especially religion. As I heard one pastor say though, "There is nothing new about the New Age." You can find its beliefs and doctrinal assertions throughout pagan religions—primarily Buddhism and Hinduism. It can also be found in modern-day New Age sects such as Scientology, Eckankar, and the writings of New Age false prophet, one Jack Canfield. Beliefs such as these have been around literally for thousands of years.

In this article I will attempt to identify how the New Age has invaded society, the doctrines of this movement, those involved in indoctrinating society with these beliefs, how they indoctrinate, and lastly an evaluation of the fallacies of such views.

In addition this article has two other underlying premises. 1) A Christian apologetic against the New Age. This can in some way be categorized as a disclaimer—being for those who already have put their faith in Christ and may be wondering if there is anything biblical about "The New Age." 2) A logical apologetic against the New Age—for those who may be "sitting on the fence" so to speak, those who are wondering like Pilate, "what is truth?"

Writing about the New Age is a complex issue, one that can hardly be exhaustively examined in this article—primarily because there are no official set of doctrinal beliefs that New Agers prescribe to. The New Age draws from a myriad of sources and brings with it much diversity. Because of this, what is "truth" for one New Ager may not be for another. However, there are some general, fundamental beliefs of every New Ager. I will ignore minor and insignificant differences in New Age "doctrine" and focus on only the major areas of agreement. Without further ado, let’s get down to brass tacks.

What is the New Age?

Douglas Groothuis identifies six (I will add the seventh) "fundamental beliefs" of the New Age crowd (See Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age, Chap. 1, 1986, Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL). We will cover the nuances of these views and then evaluate them from an evidential/Christian viewpoint later.

  1. All is one
  2. All is God (Pantheism)
  3. Humanity is God
  4. A change in consciousness
  5. All religions are one
  6. Cosmic evolutionary optimism
  7. Reincarnation

Before we begin it would be good to point out that the New Age has gained popularity the world over because people are "searching" for something better. People don’t like the prospect of being judged for their sinful lives, so those who are afraid to face the truth will lash out at Christianity in an effort to make an excuse for their ways. On the flip side people also find the atheistic worldview to be unfulfilling as well. They don’t enjoy the prospect of being born (you begin to die at that moment), struggling throughout your pathetic existence just to "make a buck," and then, in the blink of an eye it’s all over and you’re eternal worm burgers. It’s summed up well in the popular song: "It’s a bittersweet symphony—that’s life. You try to make ends meet, get some money then you die." How dreary! People are searching for something. Christ doesn’t appeal to them because He demands a change—atheism won’t fulfill it because it’s a dead horse philosophically, evidentially, and as noted above, it’s a rather pathetic existence. Enter the New Age my friends. You too can be a godless humanist and eat your cake with it! In essence, the rotting corpse of atheism has been replaced with what some have called "the materialist magician." The secular humanism of pseudo-philosophers like Hume, Rand, Sagan, Asimov, Dawkins, and a host of others has lost its zeal. (Evolution is a philosophy—a note for those who will inevitably mail me saying Dawkins is a "scientist") Nihilism and determinism leads one to a depressing, pointless existence. The New Age is taking over in more ways than one. In the New Age one can become a "materialist magician."

The first belief is without a doubt a fundamental tenet of the New Age. We all "evolved from the same pond scum," we are all one. Groothuis observes, "The New Age movement, is radically at odds with a Christian view of reality. A Christian worldview affirms that God’s creation is not an undivided unity but rather a created diversity of objects, events and persons… [God] created humans in his image. Creation is thus not a homogenous soup of undifferentiated reality but a created plurality. Creation is not unified in itself but in the plan and purpose of God—in Christ ‘all things hold together’ (Col. 1:17)." (D. Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age, p. 19-20, emphasis in original) We can easily see right off the bat that the New Age (NA) teaching of "all is one" is unbiblical.

The second NA tenet, which more or less ties into the third tenet—"All is God." This is without a doubt, the most unbiblical aspect of the NA. The Bible is clear in scores of passages 1 that there is only one God and He is not "one" with His creation. This is self-idolatry, self-worship if you will. Some NA believers will sugarcoat this belief and word it in a not-so-offensive manner. However, the majority of them don’t pull any punches and are very up front about it. Swami Muktanada 2 writes: "Kneel to your own self. Honor and worship your own being. God dwells with you as you." (Quoted in Dave Hunt, The Cult Explosion, p. 106, (Irvine, CA: Harvest House, 1980); as cited in Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age, p. 21)

The following statements were brought to you by "Ramtha," the spirit who channels through J.Z. Knight: "God is neither good nor bad… He is entirely without morals and non-judgmental… Is-ness is his only business. Hell and Satan are the ‘vile inventions’ of Christianity, a product of ‘your insidious Book [the Bible],’ which Ramtha advises his listeners not to read. There is no such thing as evil… There is no forgiveness of sins because there are no sins to forgive." (The Utne Reader, "The World According to Ram," July/Aug. 1988, p. 80; as cited in Dave Hunt, Occult Invasion, p. 238, Harvest House: Eugene, OR 1998, emphasis Hunt’s) And "You are God… God the Father is you… The Christian God is an ‘idiotic deity.’" (Douglas Mahr, Ramtha, Voyage to the New World (Ballentine, 1987), p. 61, 136, 219; as cited in Ankerburg and Weldon, The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, p. 99) "Catherine," Dr. Brian Weiss’ star patient states through "the Masters": "They tell me there are many gods, for God is in each of us…’Who’ [Dr. Weiss] sputtered, ‘who is there? Who tells you these things?’ ‘The Masters,’ [Catherine] whispered…" (Brian Weiss, Many Lives, Many Masters, p. 56, 58, Simon & Schuster: New York, 1988) NA promoter Marina Raye believes "everything is god… the pitcher of water, the floor, the fly that buzzes around… it’s all God… [so] we can greet our fellow humans as divine beings, Goddesses and Gods." (Innerself, 11/94, p. 34; as cited in Hunt, Occult Invasion, p. 257) Even Oprah Winfrey gets into the act: "I center myself each morning by trying to touch the God light I believe is in all of us." (As cited in Ibid, p. 258; Examiner, 7/14/87, p. 29)

Not surprisingly, NA promoter Jean Houston, in one of her patented "exercises" instructs the participant to "close your eyes and, continuing to keep your fingertips together, feel the flow of life between you as the circuits of an extended being… You have become together a powerful receiving station, an antenna on reality… Become now receiving stations for the entire neighborhood… Receive now the galaxy, the galaxy passing through you… Receive now the mind of God." (Houston, The Possible Human (2nd ed.), p. 131, Tarcher/Putnam: New York, 1997, emphasis mine) Houston also happily quotes an excerpt from one of Judith Morley’s poems (a student of hers): "The pond stinks. The wind is still. The carcass of a mallard lies rotting on the spillway. The five goslings are all dead. Goldfish gasp for breath in the shallowing water. The pond is dying. If I were God this would not be happening, but I am and it is." (Ibid, p. 56)

Shirley MacLaine proclaims, "We already know everything. The knowingness of our divinity is the highest intelligence. And to be what we already know is the free will. Free will is simply the enactment of the realization that you are God, a realization that you are divine." (Publishers Weekly, 3/18/83, p. 46; as cited in Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age, p. 26)

Another NA guru, Deborah Rozman urges children to blaspheme biblical passages by saying, "I and my Father are one." (Rozman, Meditation for Children, p. 27, (Aslan Pub. Boulder Creek, CA 1989); as cited in Weldon & Ankerburg, The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, p. 420)

"Seth," channeled through Jane Roberts informs us that God is all that is. Other spirits such as "Lilly," channeled by Ruth Montgomery and "Jesus," channeled by Helen Schucman, (who incidentally helped her pen the infamous A Course in Miracles) echo the same sentiments: "God" and his creation are inseparable, there is no such thing as sin, or evil, you are god, worship yourself! (See Ibid, p. 99-100)

Even Anton LaVey’s greatest venture into sophistry, The Satanic Bible echoes NA teaching: "Say unto thine own heart, ‘I am mine own redeemer.’" (Avon Books, NY, NY), 1969, p. 33) Carl Frederick, a graduate of Werner Erhard’s "Erhard Seminar Training" (EST) believes "You are the Supreme Being." (Frederick, EST: Playing the Game the New Way, p. 171, emphasis his (Delta: NY, 1976)

Lastly, Stewart Brand writes: "We are as Gods and might as well get good at it." (Quoted in Dave Hunt, Peace, Prosperity, and the Coming Holocaust, (Harvest House, Eugene, OR 1983) p. 82; as cited in Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age, p. 22)

We can see the great lie of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-7) replayed in living color. The NA is promoting Satan’s first and greatest lie. This not only led to his expulsion from heaven, but the fall of the human race.

As you may have already surmised, the NA is permeated with pantheism, which we will discuss and critique later. Some NA promoters may opt for panentheism, but most NA supporters would fall under the former category. We will discuss panentheism briefly also.

The fourth NA tenet is a complex and very dangerous one. This "change in consciousness" can and is performed in many different ways. A point that must be made is that the majority of these NA "consciousness changes" are legitimate. While there are some quacks and NA charlatans out there, there are many of these things that have been scientifically verified. For the skeptic who just glibly relies on the "conspiracy" theory nonsense (as if you couldn’t think of a better "response") I invite you to critically examine some of the following evidence.

This NA tenet ties into 2 and 3, it will inevitably follow the previous two. If we were to realize our own "godhood" then that would require a new type of thinking. The New Age proclaims, "We are too bogged down in myths such as sinfulness and evil, we have forgotten who we are, this requires a change in consciousness." We must all become "one." This tenet could also be termed "enlightenment." Although the two are not identical, they have many similarities and inescapably tie into one another.

How does one attain this "altered consciousness"? The most common way it seems is through meditation. (Hypnosis could also be classified as an "altered state" but we will discuss it later) In this process you "empty yourself" so to speak and become "one" with "the One." Practices such as Yoga and Zen Buddhism, as well as the writings of Jean Houston and Jack Canfield are permeated with references to "altered states." Ankerburg & Weldon state that Altered States of Consciousness (ASC):

"Comprise unusual conditions of perception achieved by the deliberate cultivation of often abnormal mental states, states not normally experienced apart from specific religious techniques and/or occult programs… Most New Age practices or techniques (e.g. yoga, meditation, crystal work), and New Age supernatural experiences (e.g. channeling) generally claim to trigger or induce ASCs by stilling the mind, regulating psychic energy, or by voluntary spirit possession. Proponents believe these altered states produce… ‘higher’… state[s] of consciousness… leading to dramatic spiritual revelation and a positive restructuring of the participant’s worldview." (The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, p. 17, emphasis mine)

Our flesh stands in the way of "enlightenment," which is attained via ASC. This would somewhat tie into the Buddhism idea of a spiritual nirvana, where the "self" is stripped away and only a shell of the former self exists. Buddhist monks are well known for their supernatural feats during the meditative process. Many ASC participants in the West are known for great feats as well. This process however, has been repackaged to appear more alluring to Western society. The ills of it are rarely mentioned though. It’s the same old bottle of poison; the only difference is that old label has been covered up by a more appealing one. Jean Houston explains her belief:

"There is an extensive tradition both East and West which holds that each individual possesses a secondary, nonphysical, or ‘subtle’ body… this ‘body’ is composed of more subtle matter than the corporeal body and that its development leads to higher faculties of perception and knowing." (Houston, The Possible Human, p. 13, emphasis mine)

This is what Houston calls the "kinesthetic body." In her section on it, Houston elaborates on several "exercises" composed for her readers and students to perform—these will inevitably increase your "awareness." If you can’t "do [these exercises] with a friend or in a group, you may find it helpful to create an imaginary group of people to do it with you!" (Ibid, p. 15) In one exercise the participant is instructed to "Jump forward with your kinesthetic body and stay there. Now, jumping as high as you can, jump with your real body into your kinesthetic body! Standing still, notice how you feel… Is there greater awareness now in your body?" (Ibid, p. 17, italics added, bold emphases in original)

Houston, in her section entitled "Contacting Your Body Wisdom" elaborates on a rather eerie tale. At the age of 23 she had an acute case of influenza and was "visited" by a group of ladies in flowered hats. These "ladies" urged Houston to tell her mother to get the blood test that is given to alcoholics. She complied with the women and it was revealed that she had acquired hepatitis. Houston asks: "Who were these ladies in their flowered hats, and where did they come from? They were, I am convinced, my collective body wisdom, whimsically decked out bearing the vital information that was unavailable to my merely conscious mind… Thus [Houston] began to work with guided imagery to find those archetypal or wisdom structures that would allow this body wisdom to become accessible to consciousness." (Ibid, p. 27, emphasis mine)

This may all seem harmless, but when we "alter" our state of consciousness, we may allow some outside force to take it over. Nobelist John Eccles used to say that the brain was a machine a ghost could operate. (Spiritual Emergency, Stanislav & Christina Grof (eds.), p. 19 (J.P. Tarcher: LA, CA 1989) In an ASC, another ghost might do the operating for you, whether you like it or not. NA educator Barbara Clark asserts, "guided fantasies and dreams, recognition and use of altered states of consciousness and centering [e.g. meditation] activities will develop more of our intuitive [psychic] abilities." (Clark, Growing Up Gifted, p. 592, (Merrill: Columbus, OH, 1988); as cited in The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, p. 19)

"Orin" and "Daben" who channel through Dr. Duane Packer and Sanaya Roman tell us that a trance state is easier to achieve than you think, it allows you to contact a "guide," and it creates subtle (albeit detrimental) changes in the participant’s perception of reality. In addition, Psychologist Kenneth Ring admits that one of the common occurrences in ASCs is an encounter with "entities." In most cases they are benign (at least in the initial contact) and they seek only to "help" you. Commonly they are bent on gaining control over the participant’s body and consciousness. He laments that claims made by patients in mental wards of being possessed by "alien entities" is an accurate assessment of what really happened. He goes on to say that we shouldn’t dismiss this as hallucination and/or superstition. (See Ibid, "Altered States of Consciousness")

NA books, tapes, and seminars are saturated with allusions to "ascended masters, altered states," and "higher levels of consciousness." Jean Houston writes:

"This ancient technique in modern dress calls for you to gently alter attention on the spectrum of consciousness, to enter into a world of images, and to have a conversation with a personification of your own innate body wisdom, whom we have called ‘The One Who Knows Health.’ If you are not partial to this particular personification, then substitute an image that suits you—the Wise Old Man, the Wise Old Woman…" (Houston, The Possible Human, p. 27)

There are many different names for these ASC phenomena. Some call it "enlightenment," some call it "illumination,"—the Buddhists would call it nirvana. But the results and the process are almost always the same.

For example, Shirley MacLaine testifies that an E.T. named "the Mayan" assisted her in penning Out on a Limb. (See Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age, p. 24) Noted occultist and New Ager Jeane Dixon had a rather unusual experience when a serpent crawled up on her bed and wrapped itself around her. During this event the serpent’s eyes looked "toward the east" several times as if to tell her that we must look east for wisdom and understanding. This "prophecy" is all too true. (Dave Hunt, Occult Invasion, p. 239; Dixon and Noorbergen, Jeane Dixon, My Life and Prophecies, Her Own Story as Told to Rene Noorbergen, p. 160-161, (William Morrow and Co: 1969)

Swami Muktanada had probably the eeriest experience of them all. He relates in his Play of Consciousness (p. 75-79, 88-89) some of the events that occurred one day in his spiritual journey. The details of this event were totally horrifying for him. He lamented to one of his friends (Babu Rao) that he believed that he wasn’t going to live through that night. If he did live, it would be to go insane. He believed that he was going insane and had no perception of reality. In addition to this, he saw "creatures from six to fifty feet tall… dancing naked" outside of his hut. He felt that "[he] was being controlled by some power which made [him] do all these things. [He] no longer had a will of [his] own." This was all amplified by "perverse and defiling emotions" that dominated his psyche. (See also, Ankerburg & Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, p. 234, 393) He also testifies that this is "normal" for those on the path to enlightenment.

In similar fashion, Swami Rudrananda had his master, Swami Nityananda come toward him in spirit form and enter into his body. For three hours he "felt nothing of himself, but that [Nityananda] had possessed [him]." (Ibid, p. 234; Rudi, Spiritual Cannibalism, p. 13, (Overlook Press: Woodstock, NY, 1978)

Houston’s writings are saturated with allusions to altered states, meditation (centering), contacting your body wisdom, and enlightenment.

"[I]magine and experience as vividly as you can that you are on a mountaintop looking for a way down. You see a rocky stairwell… and you begin to descend it… When at last you reach the bottom, you discover a door leading inside the mountain. You open that door, enter, and find yourself in a long and pleasant corridor… At the end of the corridor is a door. It bears a sign: The One Who Knows Health. Open the door and walk into a most interesting room to meet this being… Sit down in the chair across from this being and ask both general and specific questions about yourself… Some people will be able to contact this wise being right away, while others will have to practice the exercise a number of times before they are able to successfully communicate with their hitherto ignored body wisdom… And if in the room in the mountain you find a dog or a serpent or a child, as some have, do not reject this being but find out the message they carry for you. You may be surprised. Once you have established contact with this wise being, he or she can become a powerful ally to you… One person who was always willing to listen to the advice of others, and often courted it, went to the room only to find a scowling old man who barked at her: ‘What the hell do you want! You know what to do. Get out of here and do it!’ He unceremoniously ushered her out of the room and slammed the door behind her." (Houston, The Possible Human, p. 28-29, emphasis in original)

Just an overactive imagination? Perhaps for some, but for others, the results were devastating—so much so that The New Age Journal stated:

"Traditionally, spiritual teachers have warned their students of the dangers and possible side effects of meditative techniques and helped practitioners deal with those difficulties as they arose. Now that meditation is being marketed as a mass commodity, the information concerning the dangers and the necessary help is often not part of the package. Moreover, certain [meditative procedures]… appear to be triggering off the Kundalini syndrome completely outside the context of spiritual training, and often the therapists themselves have no idea what this energy is, let alone how to deal with it. (As cited in Ankerburg & Weldon, The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, p. 387-388; The New Age Journal, "Kundalini Casualties," 3/78, emphasis mine)

Even Harvard professor Herbert Benson was amazed at the feats of Buddhist monks—who meditated, barely clothed, for 8 hours on the edge of a rocky cliff in sub-zero temperatures. At the sound of a horn the monks stood up, put their sandals on and descended down the mountain back to the monastery. (Benson and Proctor, Your Maximum Mind, p. 16-22, (Random House, 1987); see also Hunt, Occult Invasion, p. 231) Evidently this stuff is not a bunch of hocus-pocus, it works. How on earth were these Buddhist monks able to perform such a feat? If I went outside with light clothing in sub-zero temps I would be running back inside within a few minutes. There is obviously some kind of "power" these monks are tapping into. A "normal" human being would have died, at the very least would have had to make a trip to the hospital for an acute case of hypothermia. These guys just "shook it off" and went on their way. All too often the question is: "How do they do this," when it should be—"What is allowing them to do this and is it safe?"

In another experiment, this time with an Ouija board, the two participants were blindfolded, the numbers and letters on the board were scrambled, and there was an opaque screen held between them. In spite of all this, the planchette moved faster than ever, spelling out long intelligible messages—often information that would have not been known by the participants. The conductor of the experiment, William Barrett concluded that it was some "discarnate agency" that was guiding the participants. It was also an Ouija board that put Pearl Curran of St. Louis in contact with "Patience Worth." This spirit claimed to have lived in 17th century England. Patience inspired Pearl to pen a plethora of books, one 17,000-word composition critically analyzed by C.H.S Schiller of London University. He concluded that there was NOT ONE word in that particular work that originated after 1600. In addition: "When we consider that the authorized version of the Bible has only 70 % Anglo Saxon, and it is necessary to go back to Lyomen in 1205 to equal Patience’s percentage… we realize that we are facing a philological miracle." Keep in mind that Pearl never got past 8th grade. This would be an incredible feat for even an educated person, let alone an ordinary housewife (No, I don’t think housewives are stupid) that never entered High School. (Proceedings of the American Society for Physical Research, 9/14, p. 381-394; Gnosis, No. 5, Fall 1987, p. 11; Hunt, Occult Invasion, p. 159-160) It’s hard to imagine that Pearl would have been able to pull this off herself.

I for one can personally attest to the authenticity of the Ouija board when I used one as a teen. There is some "power" operating it and since your brain is a machine that a ghost can operate, the "ghost" operating the Ouija board might invite itself into yours.

There is also a plethora of literature on the dangers of Ouija board use. The ironic thing is that most of it is written by the spiritualists (not by pastors or scientists) who are concerned about the safety of those using it. The detrimental results of Ouija board use have been documented in numerous cases by psychiatrists and occult experts. People have gone insane, begun to hear voices, and committed suicide, all because of Ouija board use. For a brief but eye-opening documentation of some of these cases see The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, p. 152-154.

In TM (Transcendental Meditation) participants are urged to cultivate altered states, hypnotic states, via meditation, etc. This "stuff works" too. R.D. Scott, a former TM instructor was familiar with eerie manifestations during various TM training sessions and seminars. Appearances of floating green eyes, creatures of light hovering above the TM initiation alter and other various creatures materializing for brief periods, only to stare at the TMers with terrifying expressions. Other TMers have complained of murderous impulses, flying into uncontrollable rages in the midst of meditation, amongst a plethora of other eerie events. (See Hunt, Occult Invasion, p. 225; R.D. Scott, Transcendental Misconceptions, p. 37-38, 115-129 (San Diego, 1978)

A scientist with a degree from Harvard, one Wade Davis has been "fortunate" enough to venture deep into various voodoo cultures of Haiti—places where very few white men have gone before. Terrorizing manifestations of NA nuances and though at first a "non-believer"—convinced Davis. For example, every night he would watch a woman carry a burning coal in her mouth for three minutes and people would put their hands in boiling water. Davis remarks that skeptical objections to events such as these, that he has witnessed first-hand—simply ring hollow. (Wade Davis, Serpent and Rainbow, p. 47-48, 214-215; Hunt, Occult Invasion, p. 167-168)

Another interesting case concerns one, Eileen Garrett who gave herself up to just about every scientific test possible. Garrett exhibited phenomena that would probably be deemed as MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) by a typical psychologist (psychology and its nuances will be examined later). During these scientific tests done on Garrett her blood count, bleeding time, pulse, heart pressure, and cardiac reaction were monitored closely. The results were of these experiments showed that Garrett had exhibited a stark contrast in those areas that she was monitored in. So large in fact, it was like she was another person. No human heart could show results in such diversity. When different "entities" were speaking through Garrett, it was like she had become another person! (See Ibid, p. 168-169; Allen Spragett, The Unexplained, p. 68-71, (New York, 1967); Noetic Sciences newsletter, Autumn 1987, p. 24)

This is where the "materialist magician" comes in. This "materialist magician" shuns traditional Christianity as a myth or fable, but on the flip side spurns traditional humanism as so much hogwash. This "magician" believes in "god," but this god is a manifestation that suits him. He himself takes the place of god and believes in this mystical force—a force similar to the kind that Luke Skywalker uses in Star Wars. (It shouldn’t surprise anyone that George Lucas is an ultra-pantheist) This "force" is within you, to be tapped into at any time. This is the dogma of the materialist magician. Those who wish to refute the NA with the typical "that’s a miracle so it’s not true" just won’t cut it. Too much has been documented in laboratory tests and evidence accumulated by unbiased parties to allow such a listless objection any sort of credence.

Jean Houston summarizes the importance of this new "consciousness": "We find ourselves in a time in which extremely limited consciousness has the powers once accorded to the gods. Extremely limited consciousness can launce a nuclear holocaust with the single push of a button. Extremely limited consciousness can and does intervene directly into the genetic code, interferes with the complex patterns of life in the sea, and pours its wastes into the protective ozone layers that encircle the earth." (Houston, The Possible Human, p. 213) Apparently the lack of "consciousness" amongst the human race is the reason for every ill in society, including the myth of ozone-depletion.

Even Anton LaVey gets into the act proclaiming:

"The adolescent boy who takes great care in carving, on a tree a heart containing his and his love’s initials; the little chap who sits by the hour drawing his conception of a sleek automobile; the tiny girl who rocks a scuffed ad ragged doll in her arms, and thinks of it as her beautiful little baby—these capable witches and warlocks, these natural magicians, are employing the magical ingredient known as imagery, and the success of any ritual depends on it… Imagery is a constant reminder, an intellect-saving device, a working substitute for the real thing. Imagery can be manipulated, set up, modified, and created, all according to the will of the magician, and the very blueprint that is created by imagery becomes the formula with leads to reality… If you have material desires, you must gaze upon images of them—surround yourself with the smells and sounds conducive to them—create a lodestone which will attract the situation or thing that you wish!" (LaVey, The Satanic Bible, p. 124-125, emphasis mine)

The similarities with Houston, et al., are uncanny. Whether it’s "The One Who Knows Health, The Wise Old Woman, Ramtha, Seth," or an "’imaginary’ meeting with ‘Abraham Lincoln,’ one thing is clear—you create your own reality, all you have to do is imagine it!

While most NA advocates aren’t quite as cavalier as Mr. LaVey, one fact remains—Imagery can be effectively used (in their opinion) to create a different "reality." Who’s to stop someone for using it for "evil" purposes as Anton happily advocated?

Paul Andrews, former director of the Whole Life Expo exclaims: "I think man is evolving into a state of higher awareness, higher consciousness, higher vibration. And I think that the best representation that we have of man’s movement in that direction is what’s going on in the consciousness movement, New Age movement." (Videotape, The Evolution Conspiracy, Jeremiah Films)

It is through this "change in consciousness" that the human race will finally realize its ultimate destiny and more importantly, its identity—godhood.

Now to our fifth NA tenet, all religions are one. This one seems rather ridiculous, namely because of the "exclusivity" of numerous religions. As far as the Christian is concerned, all who do not accept Christ as Lord and Saviour are destined to spend eternity without God. Muslims believe (albeit incorrectly) that Christians are polytheists—committing shirk, and thus being destined for hell. Catholicism relies on indulgences and what not, in order for one to "gain" their salvation—other cults espouse a belief that one must partake in a water baptism to be saved. While this was not an exhaustive analysis of the differences amongst religions, it should suffice to drive the point home. All religions could be wrong, but they all cannot be right. I think this statement is obviously a stupid one, ignorant of any critical thinking and/or analysis.

This belief is found throughout the teachings of Scientology, Eckankar, Bahai, and a host of other NA branches. This belief lumps Christ with sophists like Buddha, Krishna, Mohammad, the Dalai Lama, and a plethora of other "sages." This teaching would be just fine with followers of Krishna and the Dalai Lama—however, if you’re a Christian that should be enough to let you know that you’re dealing with the teaching of the Devil himself (John 14:6).

The Jesus of the Gospels would never have espoused such a belief. Christ did, and would have separated Himself from all those other "sages" and "prophets."

The sixth tenet of NA teaching is dubbed cosmic evolutionary optimism. This tenet ties indirectly into the fifth one—this tenet priming society for a one-world religion, the "global village" of Hilary Rodham Clinton. In this we realize our potential and unite (or evolve) into one unstoppable force. We all evolved from the same "warm little pond," and we now must make our way back and become one. Not surprisingly, evolution is a key factor here. After all, if there is a transcendent God that created us, He is separate from us and "above us," and we cannot be God. This is where evolution comes into the picture. Scientology (albeit indirectly) advocates biological evolution. Jean Houston does the same in her writings. 3

This view has also been tossed around the political arena quite a bit. While world peace and the brotherhood of common man seems like a nice little thought, the NA version of this has an underlying purpose, which we will discuss shortly.

"It is a big idea: a new world order, where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause… only the United States has both the moral standing and the means to back it up." (Former President George Bush in his State of the Union Address, as quoted in the L.A. Times, 2/18/91, emphasis mine)

The NA cosmic evolutionary consciousness ties into other NA tenets directly. By realizing our godhood, the "oneness" of humankind, the "oneness" of human consciousness, and uniting in peace where all religious views are "one," in this humanity will reach its climax, a "cosmic oneness." Some even believe that man will "evolve" to a much higher level, not something in the flesh, but something spiritual. Robert Jastrow alluded to this when he said: "Life that is a billion years beyond us may be far beyond the flesh-and-blood form that we would recognize. [Maybe it]… escaped its mortal flesh to become something that old-fashioned people would call spirits… Maybe it can materialize and then dematerialize. I’m sure it has magical powers by our standards…" (Geo, 2/82, p. 14, emphasis mine)

Many NA advocates speak of gaining a "Christ-consciousness." Could these "magical powers" reside within us? Was Christ only here to teach us what he learned? The ability to harness everyone’s innate ability to gain a "Christ-consciousness." According to the NA, this is the truth.

Richard Greene, founder of the Mind Expansion Institute believes "evolution is going on all the time, many people believe and I believe that the purpose of life is to grow and you grow as much as you can in each lifetime, and of course we believe in reincarnation." (Videotape, The Evolution Conspiracy, Jeremiah Films) Greene doesn’t allude directly to Darwinian evolution, opting for a "spiritual" or "cosmic" evolution. He, of course believes in Darwinian evolution, but the evolution that he speaks of is more of a spiritual one. This brings us to our next point.

The seventh tenet of the NA is reincarnation. This could tie into tenet number six, but I thought it good to examine and include it separately, mainly because of the myriad of information out there on it. This is not limited to bozos sitting around the local bar drinking their lives away talking about it—a great many "intellectuals" and those of high rank in the academic community espouse a belief in reincarnation.

There are literally hundreds of books out focusing on reincarnation 4 and other NA doctrines. All one has to do is go to your local bookstore and you will see. Some bookstores put these in the "religion" or "spiritual" section, however a number of them are opting for the "New Age" category—probably because of the sheer volume of literary works on it.

The NA has become a religion in itself! Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism are three major religious worldviews that espouse a belief in reincarnation. With reincarnation we’re given a second chance to "atone" for the "mistakes" made in our previous life. There is no judgment bar of God, no sins to answer for, just reincarnation. Some Westerners scoff at the idea of being reincarnated as a snail, so even this NA doctrine has been "westernized" to make it appeasing for others. With the law of karma, one is given a second chance. Your karma (actions or deeds) from your previous life will determine your spiritual and physical condition in this life. For example, Hitler would probably be reincarnated as a child who gets abused and would lead a dreadful life after all he did to those innocent Jews. Hopefully, at some point all the bad karma will be paid off and the subject will reach a state of Buddhist nirvana, a state where the "self" has been vanquished—a state of sheer spirituality. At this point the subject has evolved spiritually enough that they will no longer reincarnate, and as some NA advocates believe, they will become ascended masters.

These ascended masters such as the "entities" that spoke through one of Dr. Weiss’ patients, Ramtha, Seth, "Jesus," et al., are only here to teach us. After all, they care enough to help us get where they are. But exactly where are they? Are they really ascended masters from another dimension helping humanity reach nirvana, or are they Satan’s minions spewing forth the poison that Adam and Eve swallowed in the Garden? You’ve come a long way mankind, but you have much to learn, let us teach you. "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:12)

An Evaluation of New Age Doctrines

We have basically summarized the key tenets of the NA crowd, now it’s time to critically evaluate them? How do they stand up to logical evaluation?

The first two NA doctrines (All is one and all is god—we have already evaluated them from a biblical perspective, all that’s left is a philosophical perspective) basically tie together and we will evaluate them separately in the section on Pantheism. I will also lump the third tenet in the section on Pantheism. Ultimately, if "All is god" and "god is all," that means humanity is "god," and thus a pantheistic worldview inevitably follows.

Let’s begin then with tenet number four. We have already documented specific cases pertaining to the dangers 5 of these "altered states," and the damage that they cause. TM, altered states, imagery, Ouija boards, and meditation are not harmless fun. When does the Ouija board cross the line of being a harmless "parlor game" and enter the occult realm? (Hypnosis could also be considered an "altered state" but because of its implications concerning reincarnation it will be evaluated in that section) All too often people assume this and even some professing Christians have gone down the same path.

I fully believe from the evidence at hand, the Bible forbids 6 all of these things—not because they’re a waste of time, but because they "work" and you can put yourself at serious risk. Going back to John Eccles, if the brain is a machine that a ghost could operate—perhaps another "ghost" will do the operating for you—whether you like it or not. Now some will glibly state that "demons" and "spirits" are just so much gibberish. Serpent worship and what not was widely known in the ancient world. 7 Unless one invokes the worn-out "ancient people are retarded" theory, they really don’t have much to say. When one endeavors to "contact the dead," they’ll contact "someone" for sure. However, it won’t be Uncle Fred or Aunt Marian, it will be a satanic entity posing for them. God knows that when a person opens the door by "altering" their consciousness, or playing with Ouija boards—they are readily susceptible to demonic influence.

It also seems that these "entities" that are channeled by various people all have the same message—there is no such thing as sin, you’re god, we all evolved from the same pond and we must all become "one" for humankind to reach its pinnacle. It’s the Tower of Babel all over again, just no tower this time. The lie of reincarnation is another typical dogma of these channeled entities.

If you’re god, you’re not much of a god as far as I can see. You cannot control your own life; you are at the mercy of time and chance. What a pathetic god you are, such a small world you live in. Death will strike you down and there’s nothing you can do about it. According to the NA, we have over 5 billion gods living on this mud ball, they’re all struggling through this existence, wondering if they’ve paid off their bad karma—with all the immorality throughout the human race, if we’re gods then I wouldn’t want to be one!

According to the fifth NA tenet, all religions are one. We have already glossed briefly the ridiculousness of this statement—they could all be wrong, but they all cannot be right. This doctrine teaches that the teachings of all great religious leaders and sages of the past are of some substance (i.e. Eckankar & Scientology). Jesus, Moses, Mohammad, Buddha, Zoroaster, Krishna, et al.—all of them are lumped together. Any cursory evaluation of the statements of Jesus reveals that He would spit on the doctrine of people such as Mohammad and Buddha. But like Islam, the Watchtower, Bahai, and other such cults, the NA casts Jesus in its own light. The "Jesus" of these cults, just like the "Jesus" that dictated A Course in Miracles to Helen Schucman is a false Christ. (Matthew 7:15-23, 24:4-11) This is what Dr. Phil Arms likes to call "The Baskin Robbins Jesus." There’s a flavor, or in this case, a "Jesus" for everyone. Just bring your Jesus and worship him. This brings us to another section of NA doctrine number five.

Jesus the New Age Guru?

Several graduates of the Wal-Mart History Department have averred that Jesus spent a large portion of His life in the East learning. This is where he attained the ability to perform miracles and the like. The customary set of passages that’s used to "prove" this is Luke 2:42-52 (esp. 42 & 52). Luke’s Gospel then jumps right to the subject of John the Baptist being Jesus’ forerunner. Here we have a gap of approximately 18 years where not a word is spoken of Christ and His whereabouts. In that time Jesus, "increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." This time was allegedly spent in the East learning from New Age gurus and attaining this "Christ consciousness."

To be honest this is a bad joke at best. For example, when Jesus was traveling around Palestine preaching the good news of the kingdom—the people knew who he was. He wasn’t some "foreigner" from a strange land, nor was He a wandering nomad from the East. The people knew Jesus as well as His immediate family (Mark 3:31-32), when Jesus claimed to fulfill Scripture the people wondered aloud, "Is this Joseph’s son?" (Luke 4:14-22) They knew who his daddy was. When Christ declared that He was the bread of life the people thought he was crazy: "Is this not Jesus, son of Joseph, whose mother and father we know." (John 6:42) Again, they knew Jesus personally and they knew his parents. If Jesus just disappeared to India (as many NA advocates proclaim) for 18 years and then returned out of the blue this would not be the case. What’s more, there is not even a hint of any such trip by Jesus to any nation in the East. Jesus also declares, "no prophet is accepted in his own country." (Luke 4:24) If he studied in India from the ages of 12-30 then Galilee could not be considered His "own country."

If the NA advocate declares that the Bible is corrupt as their "trap-door" out of a listless argument I would respond in kind by saying: "That’s a whole other ballgame, with plenty of supporting evidence and secondly all you need now is some evidence to back up your point." "But there is evidence" the NA advocate proclaims. This "evidence" however, is scanty at best. 8

Books such as Levi Downing’s The Aquarian Gospel and other NA writings portray this as a fact. One widely circulated report (Washington Times, 11/27/87, p. E6) claimed that in a Himalayan monastery there was a written record of Christ visiting. Two separate visitors to Tibet were told this, however no "written record" was ever produced (even if it was it would still be subject to paleography to determine authenticity and date) and the story now is that these "records" have been destroyed. Yes folks, this is that great mound of evidence the NA crowd has been crowing about. As far as I know (any NA supporters are challenged to provide any) this is the best "evidence" to be produced.

In addition, had Christ really visited India we would see some inkling of the gurus’ teachings in His. Every guru had his guru and made several allusions to this. Jesus spoke of the authority given to Him by His Father, not some brainless twit in India sniffing incense until his eyes bulged out. The teachings of these Eastern gurus are peppered with pantheism, something that was foreign to Christ. The gurus also believed in reincarnation—Christ spoke of the resurrection of the dead on the "last day." In John 14:6 Christ closed the door on all those sophists by claiming that through Him alone one can attain salvation.

Elaine Pagels’ The Gnostic Gospels is a book that many NAers lean upon heavily to distort the truth about Christ. This work has been hammered into oblivion by several editorial reviews. As I found out (especially from those who use Pagels as a primary source) Pagels’ information mostly concerns the Church Fathers and other personages in the second century on. Joseph Fitzmeyer (among others) has also criticized Pagels for the same grievous error (See America, 2/16/80, p. 123; Commonweal, 11/9/79, p. 535; Theology Today, 1/81, p. 498-501). Although the writings of the Church Fathers are helpful in a variety of ways, their writings are not divinely inspired. The crux of the issue is the evidence from the first century and the message conveyed by the biblical authors. "[The Gnostic Gospels] might lead us to anticipate new knowledge about the historical Jesus… we learn not a single verifiable fact about Jesus’ ministry." (Raymond Brown in New York Times Book Review, 1/20/80, p. 3)

Furthermore, Edwin Yamauchi has demolished the idea of pre-Christian Gnosticism. He states in part:

"Now that the entire Nag Hammadi corpus has been translated, we can be sure that there are no unexploded bombshells. That is, the vast majority of the fifty-two tractates are Christian Gnostic compositions from the second and third centuries. The case for pre-Christian Gnosticism can be argued from only a handful of the ‘non-Christian tractates’ which had been known before, the most important of which are The Apocalypse of Adam and The Paraphrase of Shem." (Yamauchi, Pre-Christian Gnosticism, p. 130; as cited in Nash, The Gospel and the Greeks, p. 253, bold emphasis mine)

Yamauchi’s book deals with this skeptical axiom effectively and tears the foundation out from under it. So, in conclusion, what evidence does the NA have to support the idea of a "guru" Jesus—notta! But that usually doesn’t stop my NA friends from declaring that Jesus was a guru. There are a handful of biblical "proof-texts" that they’ll pull out of their hat to bolster their point.

For example, they’ll cite Luke 17:21 where Christ declares, "The Kingdom of God is within you." Now, to the modern 21st century buffoon this sounds New Age-ish. This is a case where someone reads and interprets a first century document like they would yesterday’s newspaper. This is a rather common error amongst the skeptical crowd, for we mustn’t forget the social and literary background of this statement. Groothuis states that the NA interpretation of Luke 17:21 "is unfaithful to the text. The context shows Jesus answering a question asked by the Pharisees, members of the religious orthodoxy of [that] day. They wanted to know when the kingdom would come. Jesus answers that it is already here; that is ‘within’ you… Jesus constantly criticized the Pharisees for hypocrisy and spiritual blindness, and so he could not have been affirming that the kingdom was inherently or latently within them personally." (Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age, p. 147, emphasis mine)

Joel B. Green, professor of NT interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary agrees: "Attempts to read Luke’s [entos humon] as a reference to the inward, spiritual dynamic of the kingdom of God… find ready adherents in this age of psychology and individualism here in the West. But they falter especially on the grounds that (1) nowhere else in Luke-Acts is the dominion of God regarded as an inner, spiritual reality; and (2) the notion that the Pharisees contain within themselves the kingdom of God is inconsistent with the Lukan portrayal of persons from the Jewish group." (Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke, p. 630, footnote 54, emphasis mine (Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1997) Again we have the grievous error of failing to note social and literary context.

It must also be noted that Christ was speaking of the kingdom NOT divinity. In no way, shape, or form was He alluding to a "divine within" at all.

The next focus of the NA arsenal will be John 10:22-42—where Christ quotes Psalm 82:6 in a long dialogue with the Pharisees. The NA advocate proclaims (making the same error again), "’Ye are Gods,’ it doesn’t get any plainer than that!" A simple reading of Psalm 82 will convey the fact that Christ was referring to the rulers of Israel who were (by divine decree) given the power to render righteous judgment in accordance with God’s Law. Furthermore, the text also states that these Jewish rulers will still die like mere men, because that’s all they are! Jesus is simply alluding to the fact that He, like the rulers of Israel has authority to render righteous judgment and He shouldn’t be criticized for it, which is exactly what the Pharisees were doing.

Professor Leon Morris, author of numerous NT commentaries agrees: "Jesus’ answer is to direct [the Pharisees] to Scripture. He uses the term ‘Law,’ which strictly applied only to the Pentateuch but which was extended in meaning to embrace the whole Old Testament, and this is the use here where the passage cited is from the Psalms… Jesus points out that in Psalm 82:6 it stands written, ‘you are ‘gods’ (the citation is exact, agreeing both with the Hebrew and LXX). The passage refers to the judges of Israel, and the expression ‘gods’ is applied to them in the exercise of their high and God-given office." (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John (rev. ed.), p. 467 (Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995)

Another verse that the NA writer might bring up is Philippians 2:12 (See Gordon D. Fee, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, p. 230-237, (Wm. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1995) where Paul says, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." This is a NA attempt to prove that Paul believed in many paths to God, since we’re to work it out ourselves.

This verse has been somewhat controversial in many theological circles, but our focus is its implication pertaining to the NA. It should be noted that Paul states earlier in v. 12, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed." The implications of this passage are to obedience as Paul alludes to. If you decide to "work out" your own salvation in a pantheistic motif you wouldn’t be obeying God. You would be casting God in your image rather than being created in His. Earlier (1:28) Paul alluded to the fact that salvation is "from God." This is critical because we can see that Paul certainly isn’t asserting that salvation is relative. The obedience factor that he mentions in 2:12a is an ethical text, focusing on how a believer lives out their salvation—not how they attain it. In conclusion, the believer is able to work out their salvation with "fear and trembling." This phrase [phobos kai tromos] occurs in 1 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 7:15; Ephesians 6:5 and in the LXX (Exodus 15:16, Isaiah 19:16) and it is used to denote the dread that pagans experience when they stand before the judgment bar of God.

"What people see in one who lives ‘in fear and trembling’ is not self-assurance, but defenselessness. But for that very reason it seems quite wrong, as some have done, to suggest that ‘fear and trembling’ is therefore an attitude that believers have toward one another. On the contrary, while the vulnerability of each will be apparent to the others, the OT background of this language calls for an understanding that has to do with existence vis-B-vis God… If the whole universe of created beings is someday (soon, from their perspective) to pay homage to their Lord, then they themselves need to be getting on with obedience (= working out their salvation) as those who know proper awe in the presence of God." (Ibid)

We don’t "work out" or "live out" our salvation in a nonchalant manner, but like one who knows what it’s like to stand in the awe-inspiring glory of God Himself. As one can readily see, the NA apologist—when they suggest that there are biblical passages to support their position fail to answer several critical caveats in their reasoning. More often than not they are guilty of reading information into the text and not practicing simple exegesis. (NOTE: We will cover verses that allegedly support reincarnation later) In conclusion it is obvious that all religions cannot be one, for the Bible has nothing in common with pagan religions of the Ancient Near East, nor does it have anything in common with its NA spin-offs. This brings us to NA tenet number six, "Cosmic evolutionary optimism."

Groothuis gives us some insight:

"Over twenty-five years ago, Julian Huxley, avowed secular humanist and defender of rational science as the interpreter of all of life, laid the motivational groundwork for the New Age. He said, ‘Man is that part of reality in which and through which the cosmic process has become conscious and has begun to comprehend itself. His supreme task is to increase that conscious comprehension and to apply it as fully as possible to guide the course of events…’ As this philosophy gains ground and infiltrates all of life with the gospel of cosmic unity, it is predicted that humanity will be ready to take over the reins of evolution." (Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age, p. 29; Huxley quote from Huxley, Religion Without Revelation, p. 236 (Max Parrish: London, 1959)

This view inevitably ties into several of the previous NA doctrines so there is not a whole lot more that needs to be said. One thing that should be point out is that this "cosmic unity" seeks to unite all of mankind in peace and harmony. While that is a noble idea and on the surface looks commendable, the question I would have is: At what cost will we arrive at this unity? How can Christians and Muslims or Christians and Orthodox Catholics unite? How can secular humanists and Christians unite? Somebody will inevitably get the short end of the stick. One group or another is going to have to compromise—there’s that dirty word again. For "what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-16a)

I used to sit there and rack my brain about the one-world religion that is spoken of in Revelation. Would it be atheism? —Probably not because the majority of people in the world believe in some deity or another. Additionally, the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet pull off some wild miracles in the midst of their reign, so atheism can be cast aside. Islam can be discarded because it is (rightfully) being branded as a violent religion in some circles and Mohammad’s treatment of women turns many people off to it. However, the New Age fits this perfectly. 9 The Pope 10 would fall head over heels for this. The Roman Catholic Empire is notorious for compromise, what better vehicle for the Devil to use than that to implement the one-world religion under the Anti-Christ. People who are more interested in being politically correct will fit right in. The "materialist magician" will reign supreme in this day. The NA will be the one-world religion spoken of in Revelation.

The only time that mankind will be in perfect harmony is when Christ returns to restore order. During Noah’s day the world waxed wicked and God saved the human race from self-destruction by annihilating all life, save Noah, his family, and two of each kind. Man then decided to build a monument to his "perfection," a tribute to the wonderful accomplishments of humankind—The Tower of Babel. God confounded the languages of all humans and thwarted man’s attempt to come together in a NA fashion.

This time around however, Christ will have to come back personally to restore order amid all the chaos. The New Age is indeed the Tower of Babel reincarnated.


This brings us to the last of the key NA doctrines: Reincarnation. Read any book promoting the NA and you will certainly encounter a reference to reincarnation. The Bible teaches, "absent from the body, present with the Lord… And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." (2 Corinthians 5:8, Hebrews 9:27)

Man dies once and then he is judged, versus man dies literally dozens of times and there is no judgment, just karma. Somebody is obviously wrong here. Either Paul and the other biblical writers were lying and/or misinformed or the NA is just espousing more pseudo-philosophy.

With reincarnation the "materialist magician" can escape from God’s judgment. A sociopath will reap no ill effects from his life of tyranny; he’ll only be faced with some "bad" karma. This way you can live any way you want, the worst that can happen is you come back as a tomato or something like that. With reincarnation you have an amoral philosophy (this will be covered later) and only "mistakes," no such thing as sin, that’s only for rigid absolutists.

I’m not going to focus on scientific evidence for reincarnation because it is by definition, a metaphysical concept, finding verifiable scientific evidence in support of it would be rather tricky. What I am going to focus on is the evidence used to support the idea of reincarnation. Most NA works take reincarnation as a given and simply cite Buddhist and Hindu dogma as factual without any reason(s) given to whether it is true. There are however, some works that do intend to support it from a quasi-evidential viewpoint.

The "people" that are channeled by mediums constantly proclaim the truth of reincarnation. Other than that, the majority of the information allegedly supporting reincarnation comes from hypnosis. This may or may not surprise you, but it is a fact. Dozens of people have been "hypnotically regressed" and discover that they have "lived before."

Dr. Brian Weiss was one academic who doubted the veracity of anything outside of empirical science, but his worldview was dramatically altered during the hypnotic sessions of one of his patients.

As Dr. Weiss began to "counsel" Catherine she

"Recalled ‘past-life’ memories that proved to be the causative factors of her symptoms. She also was able to act as a conduit for information from highly evolved ‘spirit entities,’ and through them she revealed many of the secrets of life and of death. In just a few short months, her symptoms disappeared, and she resumed her life, happier and more at peace than ever before." (Weiss, Many Lives, Many Masters, p. 10, emphasis mine)

Oh, what a tangled web we weave! Again we see the interludes with "ascended masters" or "spirit entities" which tell us the secrets of life and death.

"Slowly, [Dr. Weiss] took Catherine back to the age of two, but she recalled no significant memories. I instructed her [to]… ‘Go back to the time from which your symptoms arise.’ I was totally unprepared for what came next. [Catherine says] ‘I see white steps leading up to a building, a big white building with pillars, open in front…’ [Her name was] ‘Aronda… we live in a valley… There is no water. The year is 1863 B.C.’" (Ibid, 27, emphasis mine)

Catherine was a troubled girl, suffering from a number of anxieties and phobias, and in a Scientology-like fashion, Dr. Weiss helped her discover the origin of these anxieties. Catherine was also engaged in extra-marital acts with a married man—whom she identified as one of her murderers in a past life. In another "life" he was her father. (Ibid, 18-19, 42-43, 126-127) This man (Stuart) treated her like trash and she just couldn’t figure out why. Perhaps Catherine is stupid, or just too naVve to realize that a married person is like a car—if it’s not yours keep your hands off! This alleged "past-life" experience with Stuart was diagnosed as the possible origin of their sinful and tumultuous present day relationship. Then

"Suddenly [Catherine] spoke, but not in the slow whisper she had always used previously. Her voice became husky and loud, without hesitation. ‘Our task is to learn, to become God-like through knowledge. We know so little. You [referring to Weiss] are here to be [Catherine’s] teacher. I have so much to learn. By knowledge we approach God, and then we can rest. [Satan’s Garden lie duplicated] Then we come back to teach and help others.’ [Dr. Weiss] was speechless. Here was a lesson from after her death, from the in-between state. What was the source of this material? This did not sound at all like Catherine. She had never spoken like this, using these words, this phraseology. Even the tone of her voice was totally different… She later identified the Masters, highly evolved souls not presently in body, as the source… she could channel knowledge from the beyond. Beautiful knowledge. I struggled to retain my objectivity." (Ibid, 46-47, italics in original, bold emphases mine)

While Dr. Weiss struggled to keep his brains from oozing out of his ears, Catherine continued to spout more NA mumbo jumbo. The lie of the Serpent repeated, reincarnation championed as the truth. Many people gullibly accept this as a fact without doing any diligent research pertaining to hypnosis. Catherine also talked to Dr. Weiss’ deceased father and son, relaying details that she could not have known. (Ibid, 54-56) and it was also stated that she had lived 86 times (Ibid, 56). Catherine also babbled about "different planes of consciousness" that "there are many dimensions" and "what plane we go to depends on upon how far we’ve progressed." (Ibid, 68)

One of the Masters explains, "Everything must be balanced. Nature is balanced… Humans have not learned to do that. They continue to destroy themselves." (Ibid, 159) Again we have an allusion to this "cosmic consciousness," we must put off this destructive behaviour and live in "harmony." "When they shall say, ‘Peace and safety,’ then sudden destruction cometh upon them." (I Thessalonians 5:3a) To reiterate, humankind living in peace and harmony is a wonderful idea, but at what cost? The Bible is clear that the only time humankind will live in peace and harmony is after the return of Christ. God opposes man’s futile attempts to unite (as the case of the Tower of Babel) because it will only end in destruction. Satan has his agenda also and he usually doesn’t ask permission to "help us." For God has "made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." (Acts 17:26) God opposes a one-world government because He knows full well what’s going to happen. This one-world government, or "global village" is allowed to go on for a time (Revelation) and the only remedy is the return of Christ to restore order amidst the chaos.

Weiss goes on to wonder about "the hierarchy of spirits" those who become "Masters" and "guardians," levels based upon "wisdom and knowledge" where we eventually become "God-like [and eventually] merg[e] somehow, with God." (Ibid, 161) "We are the gods, and they are us." (Ibid, 173) Jean Houston would be tickled pink to read such trash.

In summary, reincarnation and resurrection stand against each other in stark contrast. On the one hand there is no judgment, just being "recycled" to live another life and to "learn" from your past "mistakes." On the other hand you only live once, then you will stand before Christ and give a full account. In reincarnation one can escape any moral accountability. In the NA, one can thumb their nose at God and be "captain of their own ship."

Hypnosis or "trance states" similar to it were in use long before the "science" of psychology came along, 11 but the practice of psychology employs it often and this is where these "past-life" encounters occur. Weiss glibly states: "Hypnosis is an excellent tool to help a patient remember long-forgotten incidents. There is nothing mysterious about it. It is just a state of focused concentration. Under the instruction of a trained hypnotist, the patient’s body relaxes, causing the memory to sharpen… I felt confident that hypnosis would help Catherine." (Ibid, 24-25, emphasis mine) But is this true? Not everyone in the psychological field shares Dr. Weiss’ arrogant opinion. 12

Daniel Goldman, a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Harvard states, "After 200 years of use, we still cannot say with certainty what hypnosis is nor exactly how it works. But somehow it does." (Psychology Today, 2/77, p. 60) Renowned psychologist Charles Tart states that about 10 % of people fail to react to any attempt to be hypnotized, 20 % are highly susceptible to almost any attempt, and the residual 70% vary in the degree that they can be hypnotized. (Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1970, p. 30) Another psychologist gives similar figures: Only 5 % can be deeply hypnotized, 20 % can hardly be hypnotized to any degree and everyone else is in the middle ground. (Elizabeth Hillstrom, Testing the Spirits, p. 64 (Intervarsity: Downers Grove, IL, 1995) Donald Hebb goes so far as to state that, "hypnosis has persistently lacked satisfactory explanation." Another psychologist calls hypnosis "a fake science." (Martin & Deidre Bobgan, Hypnosis and the Christian, p. 42-43 (Bethany House: Minneapolis, MN, 1984)

Another common (yet errant) assumption about hypnosis is the objectivity of the therapist and the patient during the process. In addition, the assumption is made that everything the patient says is true and based in reality. Lastly, is it always that case that the therapist (whether intentional or not) never influences the "memories" of his/her patients? A good number of people are adamant in their proclamations that this is true. This however, is far from the truth. Michael Orne concludes, "Hypnotic memory is clearly less accurate than normal waking recall." (Psychology Today, 2/84, p. 35; as cited in Ankerburg & Weldon, 315)

Bernard Diamond, a professor of law and a clinical professor of psychiatry commented that court witnesses that have been hypnotized often demonstrate a certainty about their recall that ordinary witnesses rarely portray. He goes on to show that witnesses can and have lied under hypnosis. (Ibid, p. 315-316; Martin & Deidre Bobgan, Hypnosis and the Christian, p. 24-25)

Lastly, Tart laments, "You can have people hallucinate… You can tamper with their memory… so they do not remember what went on in a hypnotic session… you can induce false memories [intentionally or unintentionally] of one sort or another." (Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1970, p. 27-28; Ankerburg & Weldon, 319) Hypnotists can influence their patients just by tone of voice and the subjects are very sensitive to subtle clues given. The hypnotist can inadvertently express their expectations to the patient and in return the subject will give them the desired results. (See Ibid, 316, 334; Handbook of States of Consciousness, p. 135, Wolman & Ullman (eds.), (Van Nostrand Reinhold: New York, 1986); Elizabeth Loftus, The Myth of Repressed Memory, p. 85-86 (St. Martin’s Press: New York, 1994)

False memory syndrome 13 has become such a serious phenomenon that an institution has been formed entirely to focus on such gibberish as "past-life memories." The False Memory Syndrome Foundation has documented numerous cases of alleged sexual abuse and what not. These "memories" for some time were usually taken for granted, but as further research shows, this is often not the case. One reviewer, who sought to give a balanced view of false memory (and instead made his bias all too clear) said in part,

"The [False Memory Syndrome] foundation is an aggressive, well-financed p.r. machine adept at manipulating the press, harassing its critics, and mobilizing a diverse army of psychiatrists, outspoken academics, expert defense witnesses, litigious lawyers, Freud bashers, critics of psychotherapy, and devastated parents. With a budget of $750,000 a year from members and outside supporters, the foundation's reach far exceeds its actual membership of about 3,000."

Forgetting the fact that there is no such reference to the foundation’s membership exceeding 3,000, the author seems to (chuckle chuckle) back Freudian psychology! The foundation (remember to sift things critically people, I don’t necessarily believe everything that comes from the FMSF) is painted as a "propaganda machine" that just harasses all of its opponents into submission. Other than this biased rant intended to make an emotional appeal to the reader, the article totally lacks any substance. Evidently, if you contact Newsweek and voice your opposition to some garbage they’re going to print you’re painted as a "harasser." Also, you must label all academics who oppose your position as "outspoken" and all lawyers who oppose your position as "litigious." This guy should write for Scientific American!

While the author does rightly suggest that some cases of "recovered memory" are ridiculous (citing cases of a person "remembering" that they were stuck in the fallopian tube and alleged past lives). He however, takes a moment to dub those as "fringe therapists." It seems he is very adept at doing the very same things he accuses the FMSF of doing!

"Sherry Quirk, president of the American Coalition for Abuse Awareness, wrote to Frontline to express outrage ‘at the heavily weighted slant you have given a subject which is already sinking under the weight of confusion and misinformation.’ A Harvard psychiatrist, Bessel A. van der Kolk, a leading memory expert interviewed by Bikel, wrote to accuse her of glossing over the intricacies of trauma and memory and ignoring national figures documenting the magnitude of sexual abuse. The U.S. Department of Justice's bureau of justice statistics estimates that 250,000 children a year are sexually molested."

Just because there are 250,000 cases of sexual molestation in the U.S. every year doesn’t a priori mean that cases of "recovered memory" pertaining to sexual molestation are true. I would surmise that in more than 99 % of those cases there is solid visual evidence, forensic evidence or something of that nature, not the testimony of some quack that "brought out" these testimonies via hypnosis. Here Stanton takes a giant leap of logic. We conclude with Stanton’s allusion to Harvard psychologist Daniel L. Schachter’s book Searching for Memory. Schacter concludes that there "is no conclusive scientific evidence that false memories can be created." Despite the spin-doctoring that takes place on a regular basis, hypnosis and the "memories" from the research documented by Ankerburg & Weldon one can only wonder how Stanton can quote Schacter with such confidence and conclude, "you’re wrong because my guy says so." It’s also quite interesting that this author fails to quote even one line from any of the newsletters distributed by FMSF. Rather than deal with anything specific, let’s cloud the issue by critiquing cheesy documentaries, which FMSF is not directly associated with—what a pity. Lastly, Stanton avers, "Don't be seduced by people who cry or experts claiming to have all the answers. Resist the temptation to think you can solve the mystery of memory…" Isn’t that what he is basically claiming in his article? That the FMSF is full of nutcases and their research is nonsense? Maybe Stanton should take his own advice?

The advent of hypnosis as a "science" can be squarely place on the shoulders of psychology and its acceptance as a "science." However, there are a number of psychologists that have reservations about the so-called "scientific status" of psychology. Paul Vitz, a Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford notes the dissention in the ranks.

"In a sense, this is what has happened in recent years. The American Psychological Association has suffered a schism. A large proportion of the research and academic psychologists have left and founded their own organization: the American Psychological Society. They gave up on the APA because of its lack of commitment to science and to objective research. Meanwhile the APA has increasingly shown itself to be both a professional society and a political-ideological interest group. It has taken stands that are quite consistent with its secular and humanistic psychology in favoring abortion and homosexual rights. Thus the APA has supported the removal of homosexuality from any official list of pathologies. A strong group of pro-homosexual activists is now pushing the APA to make even psychological treatment of homosexuals who ask to be cured of their sexual orientation a violation of professional ethics… the APA has become just another political interest group, lobbying for favors in Washington and elsewhere. It now has the objectivity and professional integrity of such organizations such as the American Tobacco Institute." (Vitz, Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship, 2nd ed., p. 142-143, (Wm. B. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, 1994)

The realm of psychology (which will be examined later) is permeated with pseudo-science and gibberish. Vitz also alludes to the "sexual abuse" phenomenon that is prevalent in today’s society.

"The danger of therapists talking their patients into having anti-family attitudes or even ‘memories’ that are hostile to their families is not merely a theoretical one. Recently there have been large numbers of people who have reported that they were sexually or physically abused as children—often by a parent or other relative. There is no doubt that many of these reports are true. Nevertheless, there is also increasing evidence that many such reports are not true. We should always keep in mind that memories, especially early memories, are very unreliable. It is common for young children to take as reality stories that they have heard from others or things they have seen on television or in movies… Quite recently, a number of patients have admitted to fabricating memories of childhood abuse under pressure from therapists, and no doubt others will surface in the years ahead." (Vitz, Psychology as Religion, p. 58-59, emphasis mine; see also False Memory Syndrome Foundation Newsletter, 1/8/93 and 5/2/92, p.1; Loftus, "The Reality of Repressed Memories," a paper read at the Annual Meeting of the APA in Wash. D.C. in 1992; Loftus, Harvard Mental Health 9, 9 (1993): 4-5; and Loftus, Eyewitness Testimony (Harvard Univ. Press: Cambridge, MA, 1979)

There is more truth to the false memory syndrome than ill-informed sensationalists would like you to know. Now that we have established the cloudy "scientific" nature of hypnosis, we need to ask: Is it safe?

We’ve all at one time or another invited a hypnotist as an entertainer at our school or company party or some other event. This all seems harmless fun as the hypnotist gets his subjects to do odd things in front of their coworkers and peers. Over 90 % of the time everyone enjoys it and goes home with a smile on their face. However, hypnotizing someone is no laughing matter. Ankerburg & Weldon (p. 321, 335) report 4 examples of the disturbing effects hypnosis had on people.

The first case concerns a woman suffering from a hallucinatory complex where she "saw spiders." The doctor hypnotized the woman and he told her that when she came out of it the spiders would be gone—and they were. However, from that day on the woman developed an overpowering alcoholic addiction that wasn’t one of her characteristics prior to hypnotic "treatment."

A Christian woman suffering from a gallstone colic was "cured" by hypnotic suggestion. Shortly after this she became subject to uncontrollable outbursts of rage. The hypnosis had replaced one problem with another and now the woman suffered from a lack of self-control.

The son of a Baptist minister was a guinea pig for one of those stage hypnotists. The entertainer went through his routine and when it was over he told the students to come out of their trances and return to their seats. However, one boy did not come out of the trance. Frantically, the entertainer and everyone else tried to get him to come out and he wouldn’t. Eventually the ambulance was called and he was taken to the local hospital. He remained in this "trance" for over a week until his father commanded him in the name of Jesus.

Susan Houdelette, who was featured on the May 11, 1993 edition of The Maury Povich Show, has the saddest case of all by far. Susan went to her therapist to quit smoking and when she sunk into this hypnotic trance out came 239 personalities! Prior to this "treatment" nobody (including Susan) had any knowledge of these 239 "personalities." One of her personalities was into sadomasochism and she has the scars to prove it. Additionally, her new therapist (she sued the former one) was kept extremely busy trying to deal with these 239 new "personalities."

In another eerie turn of events (See The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 27, No. 3, p. 219-226 (7/79) a middle-aged woman was the subject of evening entertainment by a stage hypnotist. The stage hypnotist was unaware of the traumatic past of this woman, dubbed "P.B." in the article. In WW II, this woman, along with her sister were hidden by Gentiles. The hypnotist then unwittingly regressed P.B. back to that time in her life. What followed was a "traumatic neurosis," which was activated by the regression. "She was self-referred for adequate psychiatric treatment 11 years later." (p. 219) Interestingly, when she was regressed to 11 years of age, "she began to speak in her native tongue—French—which the stage hypnotist did not understand and… required translation… Her treatment was based on exact reconstruction of the trauma at the time of performance." (p. 222) 14 One must also keep in mind that her trauma was based on a regression to a known current-life experience (for lack of a better phrase), not some alleged experience in a foreign country 3,000 years ago.

While hypnosis may not be dangerous all the time to everyone, I think we have readily established that it—along with "altered states" like it, such as TM, do have some dangerous "side effects" and are not necessarily grounded in fact. Bearing that in mind, we should be very cautious when someone declares ignorantly, "hypnotic regression revealed that I’ve lived 86 times, blah blah blah." Now we must knock down that contention—namely the peculiar link between "hypnotic regression" and reincarnation.

As I specifically documented from Weiss, the majority of evidence for reincarnation comes from hypnotic regression. Scientology, founded by L. Ron Hubbard is saturated with references to past-lives, elicited from "auditing" which is similar to hypnotic regression. To reiterate, there are scores of books out there "documenting evidence" for past lives. "Brian Weiss is a genius with a Ph.D. and he believes it, so why shouldn’t we?"

First, as has been documented adequately, not everything that comes out of the mouth of a subject during hypnosis is based in fact (more on this shortly). Secondly, the therapist—either intentionally or not, can influence the subject in their dialogue. Thirdly, the therapist exhibits a loose "power" over the subject. While the "superego" of the subject can override some requests (such as asking them to go get a rifle and gun down the first twenty people they see in the parking lot—usually for significant coercion to be achieved there has to be some sort of client/therapist relationship) they are in some form, under the thumb of the therapist.

In a rather peculiar court case (Ibid, p. 187-218) an "amateur" hypnotist by the name of Barry Palmer was eventually convicted of rape. He attempted to rape three women but for various reasons was only successful with one. The women claimed that he, as a hypnotist, had some sort of "power" over them and they weren’t able to resist. As I read this however, I had to side with the author’s (Campbell Perry, et al.) 15 evaluation: Namely, the contradictory testimonies of the three women and other court evidence made this seem rather implausible. While Palmer may have exhibited some sort of "power" (i.e. hypnotic coercion) over the women, their testimonies were so contradictory and sloppy that I cannot see how he was convicted. Even if this was true, the empirical evidence suggests otherwise—at least in this instance. I believe that in this instance, the "superego" of the women (their testimonies make this clear as far as I am concerned) acted as a wall against Palmer’s attempts to seduce them. At best, the evidence (regardless of the court verdict) would be too circumstantial to say the Palmer "hypnotically coerced" the women.

More scientific studies have been done concerning the "coercion factor" in hypnosis. For example, in Psychology Today (2/84, p. 35) Campbell Perry and Jean-Roche Laurence asked a group of subjects to describe the events of a particular night. After making sure that they had no specific memories of that particular night they were put under hypnosis and asked if they had heard a noise that woke them up. Of the 27 participants, thirteen stated that they had heard something. Some of them were so certain that they had heard something that they held to their contention despite the fact that the conductors told them it had been hypnotically suggested. (Taken from Geisler & Amano, The Reincarnation Sensation, p. 67 (Tyndale House: Wheaton, IL, 1986)

In the same publication psychologists Kenneth Bowers and Jan Dywan state, "although hypnosis increases recall, it also increases errors. In their study, hypnotized subjects correctly recalled twice as many items as did unhypnotized members of a control group but also made three times as many mistakes. During hypnosis, you are creating memories." (Also taken from Geisler & Amano, The Reincarnation Sensation, p. 67, emphasis mine)

In another study (See International Journal of Parapsychology, Vol. 4, No. 3 (1962), p. 66-75, "’Reincarnation’ Phenomena in Hypnotic States," Edwin S. Zolik) a subject (while in a deep hypnotic state) was regressed and if possible, a progignomatic (Greek verb meaning "to have been born before") fantasy was elicited. The hypnotic reincarnation phenomena basically took off when Morey Bernstein published The Search for Bridey Murphy in 1956. (It should be noted that these so-called "past-life" experiences were shown to be fraudulent. See Harold Rosen, A Scientific Report on ‘The Search for Bridey Murphy’ (Julian Press: New York, 1956); Martin Gardner, Fads and Fallacies (Dover Pub: New York, 1974) In short, this book was based on a hypnotic regression to a past lifetime in Ireland. And so the story goes, now we have scores of people testifying to past life experiences. Zolik writes concerning the reason for his article:

"This paper is based on a series of continuing investigations, initiated in 1955, and founded on the hypothesis that the crucial elements of the ‘previous experience’ phenomenon were based on unconscious memories which, when systematically investigated, would reveal a dynamic relationship between the subject’s personality and his ‘previous experience’ fantasy." (Ibid, 67)

It was then that Zolik and Co. sought out possible subjects to test this hypothesis. After all, if reincarnation is true then everyone has literally lived and died dozens of times. It was time to put this reincarnation gobbledygook to the test. Subjects that had undergone psychiatric and/or psychological treatment in the past weren’t allowed.

"If a subject was able to achieve within four [hypnotic training] sessions a somnambulistic state, characterized by eye and arm catalepsy, kinesthetic hallucinations, and complete post-hypnotic amnesia, he was considered eligible for the experimental age-regression sessions. Two hypnotic sessions were held: In the first, the subject, while in a deep hypnotic state, was regressed, and, when possible a [past life] fantasy was elicited. A post-hypnotic suggestion of complete amnesia for this session followed. If a [past life] fantasy was elicited and complete amnesia achieved, a second hypnotic session was held approximately one week later, wherein the possible sources of the fantasy were explored without including age regression. The exploration was generally non-directive, and spontaneous free associations were encouraged." (Ibid, 67)

The rest of the article documents the evaluation of the past life fantasies of one subject. During the first session when a past life fantasy was elicited, the subject stated that his name was "Brian O’ Malley," an "officer in Her Majesty’s Irish Guard, born in 1850." Further exploration into this past life fantasy revealed that "Brian" was killed in a horse-riding accident in 1892, being 42 years of age. Four days later the subject was tested and was found to be totally amnestic. During the second session a deep hypnotic state was once again induced and the past life fantasy was investigated without age regression.

The conductors then asked him who Brian O’ Malley was. The subject replied in the negative, having not a clue who Brian was. The conductor then volunteered some information, stating, "Brian was an officer in Her Majesty’s Army." (67) After a short pause he affirmed in the positive. When asked to "tell me about [Brian]" the subject rehashed the fantasy details described above.

He was then asked where the name Brian O’ Malley came from and he replied that he didn’t know. When asked if he had heard it from his parents he responded in the positive—saying he heard it from his grandfather. When the conductor asked him to tell him the story, the name of the lad changed from Brian O’ Malley to Timothy O’ Malley. The reason for this change was never discerned but it seems odd since the subject was so adamant in the last hypnotic session that the boy’s name was Brian.

As it turned out, the "past-life" fantasy turned out to be just that—closely mirroring a story that the subject had heard from his grandfather! Timothy O’ Malley’s granddad didn’t like him and the subject’s grandfather felt the same way. It was Timothy and the subject’s urge to please their grandfathers and it seems that Timothy took the place of the subject in the "past-life" fantasy. In conclusion Zolik states:

"[The subject’s] identification with O’ Malley is indicated by the latter’s having been a soldier, as had his grandfather, and by the recollections that as a youngster he had desired to emulate his grandfather. O’ Malley had had a significant negative relationship with the grandfather, who as a result hated O’ Malley. O’ Malley in the final analysis, however, at least at the subject’s fantasy level, had bested the grandfather. Since the subject, in his own perception, was disliked by the grandfather, we have a second indication for his identification with O’ Malley. A third important basis for identification is the experience with the horse, since a horse was responsible both for the death of O’ Malley and for what might almost be described at the subject’s psychological annihilation by his grandfather." (Ibid, 70-71)

In another past life fantasy evaluation of the same person he gave details of a man who lived in 1875 rowing a flat-bottom boat on a river. His name was Dick Wonchalk, a man with no friends, basically a loner. The man’s parents and siblings were killed in a raid by Indians and thus, he became on outcast—living off of the land.

"Investigation of this fantasy revealed that it was based on a movie, whose plot the subject was able to describe and the major portion of which was similar to the fantasy. He named the theater in which he had seen it approximately three years before but was unable to recall the title of the movie." (Ibid, 73)

Granted, the academics that studied these past-life fantasies all came up with plausible explanations and no doubt this is the case here and may be the case in many other instances. This shows that reincarnation episodes in hypnotic states need to be taken with a giant pinch of salt. However, as I have documented above, there have been some rather eerie and scientifically unexplainable phenomena cultivated in occult rituals and practices. Some of this cannot be waved away by a nifty naturalistic rationalization. In those cases, it is highly plausible that another "ghost" is doing the operating here ala Eccles, and using the subject as a vehicle to spew forth its doctrine.

In conclusion we know for sure that: 1) Not everything that comes from a person in a hypnotic state is necessarily true 2) Past-life fantasies are sometimes based on actual similar events during the subject’s life and not necessarily invented out of thin air 3) The hypnotist/therapist (either purposely or inadvertently) can influence the subject in the dialogue 4) The hypnotist/therapist exerts some sort of "power" to coerce the subject, although there is most likely a limit to the degree of coercion that can be exerted. 5) Hypnosis cannot even be concretely defined by experts in the field of psychology and 6) hypnosis can be classified as an ASC, wherein the patient can be subject to outside influences. Bearing all this in mind, it is wise for one to be skeptical of sensationalized claims of past lives and memory recovery—especially those made by Dr. Weiss et al.

Norm Geisler makes an accurate observation that sums up our research: "One of the problems with advocates of hypnosis is that they are assuming a ‘videotape theory’ of memory. However, the ‘reconstructive theory’ of memory is probably a more accurate description of true memory. In other words, people’s memories under hypnosis can be altered as well as changed by subtle clues from the hypnotist." (Geisler & Amano, The Reincarnation Sensation, p. 68)

Now that we have covered our first section on reincarnation and its relationship to hypnosis, let’s switch gears for a moment and examine psychology’s role in the NA and then we’ll go over alleged evidence for reincarnation in the Bible.

Psychology’s role in the New Age Movement

The first point I would like to bring up is the nonsense of 12-step programs and "self-help" groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Whenever I hear the statement "God helps those who help themselves" I can only shake my head. God doesn’t need to wait for us to "try harder" because trying harder doesn’t work. That’s one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. These so-called 12-step programs 16 are just that—in a humanistic fashion they attempt to get the "victims" to help themselves. We don’t need to try harder; we need Christ, for He is the only One who can perform the necessary surgery on the human heart.

Vitz notes, "Many of the steps have a strong religious and moral component; these groups have been the first forms of American psychotherapy to introduce the religious and the moral—two major and very positive accomplishments. Nevertheless, many recovery groups have been strongly influenced by the encounter group movement and by much of American self-psychology. This self-preoccupation dilutes and distorts many of the positive aspects of the recovery groups." (Vitz, Psychology as Religion, p. 24, emphasis his)

Now we have the "Baskin Robbins’" deity, where everyone can bring their own personal perception of God, no matter how heretical and worship it. The biblical God, who is a God of love, but also justice, is reduced to a puppet, and you’re the one pulling the strings. This is the "god" that these recovery groups promote—especially in their 12-step programs.

Paul Vitz lays out a convincing case against the practice of psychology and its emphasis on the "self." It would take forever to lay out this case exhaustively but here are some general points to consider.

The major theorists that laid the foundation for this "self" culture (according to Vitz) are Jung, Fromm, Rogers, Maslow, and May. Their philosophies have lead to these wonderful 12-step programs, the "self-esteem" movement, Werner Erhard’s "Forum," and much more.

Self-esteem sounds good on the surface, after all who doesn’t want to "feel good" about themselves. However, all too often this turns into a manufactured arrogance based on a faulty foundation. Some people are stupid, but at least they feel good about themselves. 17 An inflated ego actually reveals the opposite: The fact that the subject is dissatisfied with himself and seeks to cover up that glaring problem with boastful proclamations. Vitz succinctly observes, "This narcissistic emphasis in our society, and especially in education, is a thinly disguised form of self-worship. If accepted, America would have 250 million ‘most important persons in the whole wide world’… If such idolatry were not so socially dangerous it would be funny; instead, it is truly pathetic." (Vitz, 21)

Vitz pulls no punches in his evaluation of this "selfist" ideology that is contaminating our society, and in particular our education system. Everyone becomes their own "god," which makes them accountable to themselves. America is full of people like this—people with egos so big that if it grew any further it would be assigned a zip code.

Jesus didn’t read Harris’ I’m Ok—you’re Ok; He spoke the truth—even if it hurt! American society is far too concerned with being politically correct and in this age of pluralism "truth" has been diluted to the point that essentially it exists no more. Sometimes the most loving thing to do is to look someone squarely in the eye (I don’t like to be on the receiving end of this anymore than the next guy) and tell them that they’re wrong.

"Woe unto thee, America! Woe unto thee, Canada, for if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes." (Matthew 11:21, Enigma translation) Of course, everyone noticed that I tampered with that passage, but the point is clear. The people of such places (Matthew 12:41) will rise in judgment against the United States and condemn it. The people of Nineveh, the pagans that they were at least realized that they needed help. America is in far worse shape because we’re so narcissistic that we’re blinded to our rebellion. Besides, you don’t want to tell someone that they’re mired in sin—that might hurt their feelings, and in turn lower their precious self-esteem.

The so-called "values clarification" falls right into line with this narcissistic philosophy. This philosophy is for lack of a better word—stupid and self-contradictory. Vitz avers:

"The first basic contradiction is that, in spite of the personal relativity of all values, the theorists clearly believe that values clarification is good. That is, relativity aside, students should prize their model of how to clarify values. [L.E.] Raths and [S.B.] Simon attack the inclusion of traditional values by teachers. But they simultaneously urge teachers to inculcate values clarification. Indeed, when they argue for their system they moralize and sermonize like anyone else… [but] when it comes to the value of their own position, relativism has conveniently disappeared, and they push their moral position with their own sermons. The second major contradiction [is]… the basic absurdity of moral relativism. This is beautifully identified by Wolterstorff, whose analysis follows." (Vitz, 72-73, emphasis his)

Wolterstorff’s (See Nicholas Wolterstorff, Educating for Responsible Action, p. 127-129, (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, 1980) evaluation contains a hypothetical conversation between a teacher and her students. In this conversation the teacher drowns herself in political correctness asserting that she wants the students to decide on their own values. For example, some students may believe that it is all right to cheat on tests, but the teacher insists that they shall be honest on tests in this particular classroom. However, in other areas of their life they may be dishonest. The teacher insists that she cannot give tests without the rule of honesty. The students might choose dishonesty as a value, but they just can’t practice it in her classroom.

This ends up akin to telling someone, "You can’t rape, murder, pillage, and plunder here, but in other areas you might have the freedom to do so." In short, values clarification is a self-defeating ideology, a foolhardy concept.

Just whose values will be clarified in values clarification? This and the self-esteem movement, where we’re more concerned with created a vain image—will ultimately bring us down. The NA has done more damage to the educational system than anything ever has. Rather than teaching kids math, psychics and the like—we’re teaching them to imagine that they’re perfect, teaching them to "feel good" about themselves. Perhaps this is why Korean students in tests of mathematic competence roundly whipped American students. (See ref. # 17) The Americans thought they did great but they didn’t; self-esteem and values clarification are futile attempts that do not address the heart of the issue. This is Jean Houston’s (et al.) vision for the American educational system. Do you want your kids learning this garbage?

Another facet of psychology is its gravitation toward this "victim culture." We wouldn’t want to tell someone that they’re sinful or wrong, that wouldn’t be politically correct. Instead, they’ve probably got some syndrome or neurosis that is out of their control and it’s not their fault. If that doesn’t work, just blame dumb old mom and dad—they probably did a poor job raising you.

Vitz (p. 87) cites two laughable examples of people taking this to the ultimate extreme. 1) A school employee was canned for being habitually late. He later insisted that he suffered from "chronic lateness syndrome." I for one believe the guy actually suffers from "I am a lazy bum" syndrome. Maybe he should get to bed earlier? 2) An F.B.I. agent embezzled 2,000 dollars only to lose it on gambling and was consequently canned for his actions. He got reinstated when a court ruled that gambling was a "handicap" and thus protected by federal law. What a joke!!! Poor guy can’t help that he steals everything he can get his grubby mitts on, so let’s reinforce this type of behaviour and reinstate him.

He also points out on page 86-87 that The National Association of Sexual Addiction Problems (another worthless institution that gobbles up millions of our hard-earned tax dollars) estimates that 25 million Americans are "addicted" to "various types of sex." A leader of the codependency movement puts the number of adult children of alcoholic, 18 abusive, or merely critical parents at more then 230 million. This is roughly the entire population of the United States! Apparently everyone is a "victim" of something or another. In the NA we can duck all responsibility and just indulge at will. The NA, running abreast with the "science" of psychology, is driving America and other nations into a moral cesspool. You’re not sinful, you’re just a "victim," poor you. (For more information on the futility of psychology see Vitz, Psychology as Religion and Charles Sykes, A Nation of Victims (St. Martin’s Press: NY, 1992)

Psychology promotes this narcissistic victim culture, which ties right into the "you’re God" syndrome of the New Age Movement (NAM). Christians need to be aware of subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle infiltration of the NAM into society. Even some so-called Christian teachers have bought into this nonsense. 19

This concludes our section on Psychology, now let’s evaluate the NAM claim that reincarnation and Christianity are compatible.

Reincarnation: Is it Biblical?

Some NAM advocates attempt to discredit the Bible and/or ignore it. However, as far as I can see, the majority attempts to link Christianity and the teaching of reincarnation. The reason for this may vary and is not the crux of the issue. The main point being, can we honestly evaluate the Bible and conclude that reincarnation 20 was one of its core teachings? Cutting to the chase, the answer is no. Let’s see if this NAM doctrine holds up, shall we?

John 9:1-12 is probably the first verse the NAM crowd will pull out to prove their doctrine of reincarnation. It, like all other examples are rather paltry and upon closer examination what appears to stand out is the ignorance of the NAM crowd to any biblical exegesis. There are a couple of things to mention in examination of this passage. First, Jesus made it clear that it was not the sin of either the parents or the blind man himself that sinned. He was born blind so that the works of God could be manifest in him. Anyway, in karmic thinking your karma is just that—your karma. I won’t receive any bad karma if my parents were murderers or something akin to that. Lastly, the disciples question about whether the lad was blind because of the actions of his parents was not a question about reincarnation. It was more in line with Exodus 20:5, where God visits the iniquity of the fathers to the third and fourth generation after them. Another instance where a modern-day pseudo-scholar thinks that if a biblical writer uses similar terminology—they must mean the same thing. Commenting on this passage Leon Morris states:

"The man’s plight provoked the disciples into asking Jesus the reason for it. It was widely held that suffering, and especially such a disaster as blindness, was due to sin… The disciples evidently accepted this, but in the present case were perplexed as to the application of the dogma. There were grave difficulties in seeing how a man could have sinned before his birth. And it is much easier to think that a man should bear a terrible punishment for the sin of his parents. So the disciples put the matter to Jesus. Jesus decisively rejects both alternatives. Suffering is not always due to sin, and this blindness is not the result of sin either in the man or in his parents. ‘But’ translates as a strong adversative: ‘on the contrary,’ ‘far from that.’ It happened so that God’s works might be shown in the man." (Morris, The Gospel According To John, (rev. ed.) p. 424-425, emphasis mine (Wm. B. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1995)

Morris also alludes to the fact that some rabbis believed that the child could have some problems because of pre-natal sin, but not past-life sin. This view is corny, but the point is that the rabbis still weren’t affirming a belief in reincarnation.

Again the New Ager is thwarted when even a cursory analysis is performed. The next shot out of the NAM cannon will possibly pertain to Elijah and the statements made in Matthew 17:10-12, Luke 1:13-17 and John 1:21.

Before we begin it is wise to point out that before someone can even be reincarnated they must die physically. However (See II Kings 2), Elijah did not die physically, he was taken up to heaven. Therefore, Elijah and Johnny could not be the same person because Elijah never died. That information alone would be enough to topple the NAM protestation about Elijah but for the purposes of further clarification we’ll go further.

Elijah is indeed slated to come back (Malachi 4:5) before the great and dreadful day of the Lord and Jesus Christ Himself affirmed this (Matthew 17:11). Christ also affirmed that Elijah has come already and was rejected just like He would be. The angel that appeared to Zacharias also affirmed that John the Baptist (who was Christ’s ministerial forerunner) would come "in the spirit and power of [Elijah]." John’s ministry was likened to Elijah’s in that respect (Luke 1:17). Furthermore, John was asked point blank if he was Elijah and he said "NO." (John 1:21)

Just as John was a forerunner to Christ’s ministry, Elijah will be Christ’s forerunner before His imminent return. This is why I firmly believe that Elijah will be one of the "Two Witnesses" mentioned in Revelation 11—Enoch being the other. While I may be wrong about this, the point is: Elijah wasn’t reincarnated as anyone, much less John.

Moreover, when Elijah appeared to Christ, Peter, James, and Johnny on the Mount of Transfiguration he appeared as guess who? Elijah, not John the Baptist, not Mickey Mouse, just Elijah. This firmly argues against a reincarnation motif. When Elijah was taken up to heaven Elisha used his mantle to part the waters and the "sons of the prophet" believed "the spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha." They were both alive at the same time so reincarnation is obviously NOT what they were thinking. This also supplies further explanation to why John appeared "in the spirit and power of Elijah."

Other verses that NAMers appeal to are verses such as Job 1:20-21; Jeremiah 1:4-5; Psalm 139:13-16 & Galatians 1:15-16. Any mention of God "knowing" a person "before they were formed in the womb" is automatically taken as a reference to a preexistent soul and reincarnation. This is utter rubbish because the Hebrew yada (Strong’s # 3045) means, "To know, to ascertain by seeing, observation, care, recognition, instruction, used in a wide variety of applications." God is simply stating (Jeremiah 1:5) that He had Jeremiah’s place as a prophet and his ministry planned out even before birth, while Jeremiah was in the womb. God also had a special appointment for John prior to his birth; even to the point of telling Zecharias what his name should be. Reading these verses as proofs of reincarnation are very presumptuous.

Many NAM disciples have written books attempting to marry reincarnation and Orthodox Christianity—but there efforts are largely a severe distortion of the truth or a faulty biblical hermeneutic. Elizabeth Clare Prophet (what an ironic last name) attempts in her Reincarnation: The Missing Link in Christianity (Summit Univ. Press: Corwin Springs, MT, 1997) to marry these antithetical concepts. She tries to do this from several viewpoints—ranging from "the Bible is corrupt and wasn’t written until many years later," (which has been rebutted elsewhere) 21 and other similar objections. She also believes that the "Paul" of Acts is much different than the "Paul" of the Epistles. (See here and Colin J. Hemer, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, p. 181-190, 244-276 (Eisenbrauns: Winona Lake, IN, 1990) for rebuttal)

She also generally assumes that there was such a thing as Pre-Christian Gnosticism—relying heavily on The Gospel of Thomas to solidify her perception of Christ and His teachings. However, the status of Thomas and other finds at Nag Hammadi are definitely not first century, but arose much later. Edwin Yamauchi, in his Pre-Christian Gnosticism also shows the gaping holes in this contention. Thomas and other such Gnostic texts are not first century and Prophet’s failure to back up this contention knocks down one of the major pillars in her attempt to link reincarnation and Gnostic teachings with Christianity. She also appeals to The Gospel of Philip, a 3rd century document—as evidence for her "mystical Jesus." If that wasn’t enough to make you split your gut, she relies heavily on The Jesus Seminar in her polemic attack on the veracity of the Gospels. Time and space nullify possibility of an exhaustive rebuttal here, but I would beg to differ with her contention (See ref. # 21).

She also regularly appeals to the fact that some groups in Judaism, as well as church father Origen—believed in "preexistent souls" and what not, basically flirting with the doctrine of reincarnation. The problem here is: Even if some groups believed in full-blown reincarnation doesn’t make it true. There’s more to an argument that just that. Moreover, there are plenty of biblical texts and other church father testimony, both before and after Origen that fail to betray any belief in reincarnation or similar doctrines. The big question is: Is there any biblical evidence of such a belief? The answer is no, but Prophet avers:

"First, many people find the idea of a bodily resurrection at the end of time absurd and difficult to accept. Second, it robs us of a personal path of salvation. If, as many Christians believe, all we have to do is accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and be baptized in order to achieve after our bodily resurrection, then where do personal striving and responsibility for our actions come in? Third, it reinforces Christianity’s one-shot theology: either you achieve eternal life through the resurrection or you don’t… Fourth, the resurrection may be on shaky ground historically… If we blow it—let’s say we hear the Christian message but fail to accept it—then we can never be saved… Despite the difficulties the doctrine creates, the Church still considers the bodily resurrection a fundamental tenet of the faith… because it cements the Church’s authority as the gatekeeper to eternal life or eternal damnation. According to their definition, you cannot enjoy eternal life unless you first live and die a good Christian." (Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Reincarnation: The Missing Link in Christianity, p. 154, 159-160)

Prophet makes a myriad of errors in her philosophical evaluation of a resurrected state, as opposed to being reincarnated. In addition, she overlooks the numerous philosophical problems with pantheism, reincarnation and the doctrine of karma that comes with it.

First, she thinks that Christianity is mutually exclusive, calling it "an exclusive club," while at the same time, failing to realize that all religions are in some way or another, mutually exclusive themselves.

For example, Islam excludes all polytheists and categorizes Orthodox Christians as such. You cannot be considered an Orthodox Hindu unless you give credence to the Vedas and Bahai excludes all exclusivists. One could go on and on about how "mutually exclusive" various beliefs systems are but the point should be clear. All Prophet does is blur the issue with irrelevant points.

Living a "good Christian life" doesn’t get anyone to heaven—never has and never will. Being "good" is a fruitless task if you don’t have the blood of Christ on your sin account. Moreover, does Prophet believe that Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini had their own "personal path of salvation" and that it’s as valid as anyone else’s path? Being allowed your "own personal path" is like a referee changing the rules at halftime. If there are no guidelines then what is one to do? Liz doesn’t make a bit of sense in her "critique." Whining, "it just doesn’t appeal to the majority" is a groundless objection.

But Liz doesn’t stop there; she does make an attempt (albeit a crippled one) to marry her "mystical" view with Orthodox Christianity.

"In 2 Corinthians [12:2-4], Paul describes a journey to the ‘third heaven,’ where he received ‘visions and revelations of the Lord.’ It bears the earmarks of ascent mysticism… Segal believes that this passage demonstrates both that ascent mysticism was practice in the first century and that Paul was a Jewish mystic. He suggests we view Paul ‘as a Jewish mystic, with a special Christian cast.’ (Prophet, Reincarnation: The Missing Link in Christianity, p. 268; Segal quote from Alan F. Segal, Paul the Convert, p. 38 (Yale Univ. Press: New Haven, CT, 1990)

This is the type of misrepresentation that Prophet uses habitually in her desperate attempt to paint Paul as a Gnostic. Ben Witherington upsets Prophet’s crippled hermeneutic:

"[P]aul himself seems reticent to talk about such things; he is not a modern Western individual bent on revealing his innermost thoughts. Ancients in fact went out of their way to avoid discussing experiences that would distinguish them from the crowd. In the collectivist mindset, such discussions would seem antisocial. Not surprisingly, then, when Paul actually does boast about his personal experiences (spiritual and otherwise), the boasting is clearly ironic or tongue in cheek. Second Corinthians 12:1-10, for example, follows a passage (2 Cor. 11) in which Paul has ‘boasted’ about his weaknesses, trials and tribulations, parodying common boasting about one’s great deeds. Paul begins chapter 12 by speaking of visions and revelations. He is really claiming to have had such experiences once in a while, which makes him in various respects like John of Patmos; and he writing to a highly ‘charismatic’ audience who would be eager to hear about such experiences. Paul knows the emotional impact of such claims on them, and so here he raises their expectations but in the end just teases and shames them. In verses 2-4 Paul says he had a vision… but coyly [states] he is not permitted to convey the content of this revelation! It is possible that his opponents who were ‘bewitching’ the Corinthians were claiming such experiences as well and that he is mainly trying to deflate their boasting… Some commentators have suggested that since Paul mentions only an experience of fourteen years prior, such experiences must have been quite rare…. [or] Paul may mention this one because it was especially notable and outstanding… Paul says twice that he does not know whether he was in or out of the body when he was ‘caught up.’ The language suggests an overpowering experience that overwhelmed him, rather than a state he deliberately worked his way into through spiritual exercises or ascetical practices… The point of mentioning the experience without disclosing the message is to make clear that God thought Paul was a special person…. Paul does not want [the Corinthians] to overestimate him because he has an ‘excess’ of revelations (see v. 6)." (Ben Witherington III, The Paul Quest, p. 79-80 (Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove, Il, 1998), emphasis mine)

Prophet overestimates the occasion of one "mystical" experience in Paul’s writings and gratuitously claims that he was a "Jewish mystic." As noted above by Witherington, Paul had several reasons to include this vision in his writings. It is also noteworthy that during the Epistles Paul performs no miracles and the crux of his entire ministry is based on the historical crucifixion and resurrection of Christ Jesus. One should also notice that Paul didn’t use any of the information gleaned from that trip (he refused to reveal what he heard, nor is there any evidence that he ever did) for any teaching for doctrinal purposes.

Here is Prophet’s paltry attempt to show that the NT taught a resurrection in a spiritual manner and not a physical one: "Even though Paul had explained that the resurrection body was a ‘spiritual body’ and that ‘flesh and blood’ could not ‘inherit the kingdom of God,’ most early [Church] Fathers insisted that the resurrection was of the flesh… The orthodox used the text ‘With God all things are possible’ to explain away the illogicalities of a bodily resurrection." (Prophet, 155)

Why a bodily resurrection is "illogical" is not explained however. Just whining, "It doesn’t make sense to me and I don’t like it so I’ll throw it out" won’t work Lizzie. Lizzie’s hermeneutical disease concerning Paul and a physical resurrection has been cured here.

In another pitiful polemic attack Prophet (p. 166) blabs: "Colossians also seems to describe the resurrection as a present-day event. The author says, ‘If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above… Lie not to one another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge.’ In this passage, putting off the old man and putting on the new is a code for the resurrection, which, again, is described as a present-life event." (emphasis hers)

The reason Prophet wants this to be a present-day event is two-fold. She wants Jesus’ resurrection to be in the Gnostic fashion, where it can be seen in the sense of "finding His divine origin." Secondly, she wants to circumvent the belief that we’ll all receive resurrected bodies after the death of our mortal body. And as per usual, Prophet horribly distorts the true meaning that Paul wanted to convey.

Although "eternal life" is the present possession of every believer in Christ, they will not receive their resurrected bodies until their death. "Putting off the old man" is simply a reference to our new life in Christ. Though man, "created in the image of God" was perfect, our image has been tarnished via sin. With Christ, we can "put on this new man" and be whole again.

"When Paul speaks of the renewal of the new man, his intention is much the same as when he says in 2 Cor. 4:16, ‘though our outer nature is wasting away, or inner nature is being renewed every day.’ The life and power of Christ within us is thus being constantly renewed, as the Christ-likeness is being reproduced more and more in the believer’s life. In the phrase ‘after his Creator’s image’ it is impossible to miss the allusion to Gen. 1:27 where the first Adam is said to have been created by God ‘in his own image.’ But the first Adam is now seen as the "old man’ who must be discarded, in order that the believer may put on the new man, the ‘last Adam.’ Nor is there any doubt about the identity of the new man." (F.F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, p. 146-147, emphasis mine (Wm. B. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, 1984)

As usual, Prophet fails to read any supplemental verses and instead forces her contorted view on the text. I sometimes wonder if Lizzie actually reads the texts she uses to confirm her belief—because the answer is sometimes right there in front of her face. Interestingly enough, when confronted with passages such as Luke 24:42 where Christ eats, showing that He does possess a material post-resurrection body she just dubs those passages inauthentic. Just remember skeptics; if your poor polemics don’t yield the desired results you can always fall back on that.

In her chapter entitled "Sifting the New Testament," Prophet sets out to prove that reincarnation was a belief held by the NT authors. Sadly, the vast majority of this chapter doesn’t focus on that but instead on biblical "contradictions," the non-history of the Gospels and later she states, "Many scholars believe that the scriptural passages about Jesus rising bodily from the dead are not based on eyewitness accounts… The scholars believe that the stories about Jesus acting in the material world—eating fish and honeycomb and inviting the disciples to touch him—did not occur." (p. 161) However, the verses she pulls out to confirm her view are authentic. Someone please give the emperor a robe! Sounds akin to Muslim Orthodoxy drawing upon Baur and Bultmann to bolster their non-belief in the Gospels. Should Prophet ever submit her "version" to professors such as these they would be rejected on the same philosophical grounds.

But she doesn’t stop at that folks; Prophet spews again:

"The passages in which Paul describes being ‘in Christ’ give further support to the argument that Paul was exhorting us to seek union with Christ. The traditional interpretation is that being in Christ means being a Christian, one with the body of Christians on earth. But I give it deeper meaning; I believe [not from historical or hermeneutical grounds—but from metaphysical grounds] it refers to the state of being identified with Christ through a mystical experience. My interpretation fits Paul’s usage of the term. For example, he calls himself a man ‘in Christ.’ He tells us that ‘as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.’ He describes those who are in Christ as ‘one body,’ ‘members one of another,’ and says someone who is in Christ is part of ‘a new creation… being in Christ means being identified with Christ." (Prophet, 269-270)

Lizzie continues her assault on the intelligence of anyone willing to read her gibberish. This indirectly ties into her erroneous evaluation of such passages in Colossians. Paul’s exhortation for us to "put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 13:14) is not an allusion to us becoming divine at all. Douglas Moo, professor of New Testament studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School says,

"[W]hat we are to put on is not a suit of armor but Christ himself. The exact meaning of what Paul intends is not easy to pinpoint. But perhaps we should view the imperative in light of his understanding of Christ as a corporate figure. As a result of our baptism/conversion, we have been incorporated into Christ, sharing his death, burial, and (proleptically) his resurrection (Rom. 6:3-6). Our ‘old man,’ our corporate identity with Adam, has been severed (Rom. 6:6); and in its place, we have become attached to the ‘new man’ (Col. 3:10-11; Eph. 2:16), Jesus Christ himself (cf. Eph. 4:13), whom we have ‘put on’ (Gal. 3:27). But our relationship to Christ, the new man, while established at conversion, needs constantly to be reappropriated and lived out, as Eph. 4:25, with its call to ‘put on the new man’ makes clear. Against this background, Paul’s exhortation to ‘put on the Lord Jesus Christ’ means that we are consciously to embrace Christ in such a way that his character is manifested in all that we do and say." (Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, p. 825-826, emphasis mine (Wm. B. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, 1996)

Don’t expect this kind of biblical exegesis from the likes of Lizzie Prophet. It amazes me that one could read the NT and come to her conclusions. For we are "justified freely by [God’s] grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:24) The primary Greek preposition dia (Strong’s 1223) simply means, "The channel of an act, through."

It was through Christ that we can stand before God sinless. It is through Christ that we can become perfect. "We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1) For Christ "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15b) We cannot become Christ because "There is no righteous, no, no one… For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:10, 23) But Christ did what we couldn’t, He lived a perfect, sinless life, and it is through Him that we can be declared holy. Thinking that we can become "god-like" and/or "Christ-like" (at least the way Prophet terms it) is just a masterful illusion (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Paul taught nothing of this and based his entire testimony and life on Christ who is "the chief corner stone." (Ephesians 2:20) Prophet also uses several of the verses that we have already covered to "prove" the NT teaches reincarnation and she fares no better in that area. Her comments on Hebrews 9:27 aren’t any better:

"The first thing to note in considering the ‘once-to-die’ passage is in its context. The author of Hebrews is not trying to deny reincarnation. Rather, he is explaining that repetitive blood sacrifices of animals were a part of the old covenant established by Moses but are not needed in the new covenant established by Jesus. Under the old covenant the priests of Israel were required to make many sacrifices, using the blood of animals. But under the new covenant, Jesus shed his own blood, a sacrifice that was only needed once. What does the author mean by saying, ‘since men only die once?’ The easiest explanation is that he is referring to the fact that our moral bodies die only once. The human-body is a one-shot deal. No one has tried to argue otherwise except for Christians who believe in a bodily resurrection. And ‘after that comes the judgment’ can refer to life reviews such as those reported in near-death experiences. But a post-life judgment does not preclude the possibility of the soul’s returning to earth in another moral body. For the passage does not say, ‘It is appointed unto man once to live.’" (Prophet, 105, emphasis in original)

The passage also doesn’t say Paul Bunyan and Elvis own a bait and tackle shop in Yuma, Arizona where Buddy Holly is a frequent visitor. Rather than focus on what the passage doesn’t say, let’s focus on what we know it does.

Hebrews plainly mentions that Christ is the one-time sacrifice for all; that the High Priest had to give a sacrifice over and over for the people, himself included. Chapters 9 & 10 devote nearly the entire dialogue to this issue. The author simply shows that just as sacrifices went on over and over in the OT, "but now ONCE in the end of the world hath [Christ] appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (v. 26) The author makes an important similitude in the very next verse. Just as Christ offered Himself ONCE, we only DIE ONCE, and then are judged.

This is also crystal clear in the "Great White Throne Judgment" of Revelation 20. "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins." (Hebrews 10:26) If you turn away from Christ, He is not going to die again for your sins. Now there’s a one-shot deal Prophet can meditate on for good measure.

Paul also was very clear that when he died, he fully expected to be with Christ (See Philippians 1:21-24). For an extensive discussion of 2 Corinthians 5:8 (which inevitably ties in with Hebrews 9:27 see Paul Barnett, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, p. 270-272 (Wm. B. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI, 1997).

Prophet does offer one dismal parting shot on Hebrews 9:27: "Some translations render this phrase ‘after that comes the judgment.’ But these are based on later and less accurate manuscripts. The most authentic translations of this verse simply say ‘judgment.’ This is important because ‘the judgment’ would seem to refer to the final, one-time event that many Christians have in mind." (Prophet, p. 346-347, note 22, emphasis in original)

However, no references are cited to confirm this, and even if it is true, the context indicates that final judgment is in mind here because as we have noted above, the author is indicating that death occurs once, and after death you’re judged. It would make no difference whether the text contains a definite article or not because there is only one judgment—occurring after death.

Just in case the skeptical crowd gets too frustrated actually having to do some pertinent research—which gets in the way of more daunting tasks (such as reading Isaac Asimov’s biblical commentaries) you can always go this route: "There [are] indeed references to reincarnation in the Old and New Testaments. In A.D. 325 the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great… deleted references to reincarnation contained in the New Testament. The Second Council of Constantinople, meeting in A.D. 553, confirmed this action and declared the concept of reincarnation a heresy… the original references had been there; the early Church fathers had accepted the concept of reincarnation. The early Gnostics—Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Saint Jerome…" (Dr. Brian Weiss, Many Lives, Many Masters, p. 35-36)

Yawn. That pretty much sums up the normal regurgitated answer from the skeptical camp. We recommend that Weiss stick to psychology and refrain from insulting everyone’s intelligence. 22, 23

Now to our last piece of business—a critical evaluation of pantheism, reincarnation and their soul mate, karma.

An Examination of Pantheism and its Doctrines 24

One aspect that you’ll be hard pressed to see in a NAM book is a critical, philosophical evaluation of pantheism and its undertones. Either because the author doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about and just "winging it," hoping that their readers are gullible—or they don’t want anyone to see how faulty their philosophy is. Not that it matters, but for those looking to critically examine the New Age Movement and its pet themes (karma, reincarnation, pantheism) it is important. One will see that its philosophies rest on a shaky foundation.

Reincarnation and karma have philosophical problems that are often overlooked by those yammering about how great they are. Usually the New Ager will state that karma is justice. After all, what goes around comes around. If you’re a jerk in this life, you’ll get what’s coming to you in the "next one." "Makes more sense than God just giving you a one-time all or nothing proposition," says the NAM advocate. "It’s like a teacher giving a student a second chance to pass that all-important exam." One could, in response, just as easily use that analogy of shooting yourself in the head. There is no second chance here, and not all situations in life afford multiple opportunities. John Snyder (See Snyder, Reincarnation Versus Resurrection, p. 82 (Moody Press: Chicago, 1984) disagrees with those who believe that it takes dozens of lifetime to achieve perfection. He states that somehow reincarnationists believe that it is sensible to compare dozens of lifetimes with eternity as opposed to one 70 or 80-year lifetime on earth. Whether one compares 80 or 80,000 years, it will always be decidedly smaller when contrasted with eternity. Thus, the reincarnationist accomplishes nothing in their argument.

Secondly, karma does not explain the problem of evil; it summarily dismisses it. Let’s say a child is born blind. Reincarnationists always criticize Christians for having no answer to situations such as these. "You Christians just say, ‘It’s a mystery, it’s in the hands of God or suffering will bring you closer to Christ.’ This doesn’t make sense, that’s no answer at all." While the reincarnationist has an answer: The reason for the blindness of your child is because he/she was a dirtbag in their previous life. For example: X becomes king of a powerful nation in a previous life >>> X decrees that all who oppose him will have their eyes gouged out >>> X is reincarnated blind, OR: X has a propensity to violently hit people >>> X is reincarnated without upper extremities. Now I ask in all sincerity, does that sound like a satisfactory answer?

Perhaps now the New Ager will say, "Well, that doesn’t mean we can’t help him/her." I disagree, because if you assist the destitute members of society, in all actuality you are working against karma. So and so is poor, or blind, or crippled because they were a scumball in a previous life. They must work out their karma, if you assist them then they’ll just have to come back and deal with all that bad karma again.

Being a humanitarian would be counter-productive to reincarnation and the idea of people having to "work out" their bad karma from past lives. Elizabeth Clare Prophet (p. 279) unwittingly exposes another problem for reincarnationists when she attempts to show how karma is just. She quotes Rabbi Hillel as saying to a skull floating on the water, "‘because you drowned someone, you have been drowned by others; and in the end those who drowned you shall themselves be drowned.’ Did he have in mind that this drama will play itself out through reincarnation?"

The problem here is evident: Karma puts us in an endless circle. The man who beats his wife must get reincarnated as an abused child or spouse and there must be someone there to purge them of their bad karma (i.e. beat them), and in turn they will have to work off their bad karma, and so on and so forth. We have a major paradox here; there is no end and ultimately no real solution. Furthermore, is it really fair for God to punish a person for "sins" (in a past life) they don’t even remember committing?

Moving forward, pantheistic religions are usually of the opinion that the universe is eternal: This brings up another problem—that of an actual infinite, which is discussed elsewhere; but the point here is that for some bad karma to exist there has to be a starting point for it. Where and when did bad karma become part of the equation?

Moreover, if we take an actual starting point for granted, then originally there was no bad karma to "work off," how did it come about in the first place? There must be a "past life" upon which to draw this bad karma from. But if there was no past life, then how does the reincarnationist respond? (Sounds like the doctrine of "original sin" but in this case it would be "original karma.") If there is no real starting point (i.e. an infinite regress) then we come back to the problem of an infinite regress. Either way, the reincarnationist is stonewalled. According to the doctrine of karma there is no origin of evil—thus karma only delays the solution to evil and suffering without ever dealing with the origin of it!

Consider India, arguably the Mecca of pagan religions where the doctrines of reincarnation and karma dominate. This country is full of destitute people crying out for help amidst a deplorable economy. Does the doctrine of "working off one’s bad karma" look like it’s working here? I think not—furthermore, if this doctrine is true; does the world at large look like it’s getting better because of it? Again, the answer would be no. Depending on where you live it might look good now, but if you get reincarnated in a "foul and stinking womb," such as that of a pig, it might not seem so good.

If one actually followed these doctrines to a tee you would be disallowed to assist the sick, crippled, poor, homeless, etc., for they’re just working off their bad karma and you shouldn’t interfere with "justice." In conclusion, karma is anti-humanitarian and can be tossed aside as a logical conclusion to the existence of suffering and evil.

Geisler & Amano point out a glaring problem in a facet of Buddhism reincarnation:

"An additional word should be said here about a Buddhist view of no-self… Buddhism holds to the of anatta or ‘no-self.’ Those who interpret this doctrine as meaning that there is no continuity of the self after death—so that in effect, a different person is ‘reborn’—would seem to fall prey to a meaningless sense of karma. Unlike the Hindus, who believe that the same self is reincarnated in another body, the Buddhist view virtually obliterates the self… if the individual cannot be identified through identity of body, memory, and/or intellectual awareness, then how can we make sense of the notion of a continuation of the individual in successive lives (reincarnation)? If it is not the individual who is reborn, then why should someone pay for the karmic debt left by someone else? If this is what is meant by the doctrine of no-self, then it is not just… For example, let’s say that Martha has continually been kicking people all of her life. Then after Martha dies, she is reborn as Penny with a clubfoot (a different individual altogether). Penny now has a clubfoot for reasons outside of her control (i.e. in the control of Martha). But this is contrary to the justification for karma in the first place…with the Buddhist doctrine of no-self, a person suffers as the result of someone else’s sins." (Geisler & Amano, The Reincarnation Sensation, p. 103-104, emphasis in original)

Elizabeth Prophet (p. 335) alludes to this Buddhist doctrine, saying: "To illustrate this concept, Buddhist sage Nagasena used the image of a river. It has the same banks and curves from day to day but has not one drop of water today that it had yesterday. So a reincarnated person, while of different substance than the former self, yet has the same tendencies and patterns of relating that the former self did… Is a reincarnated person the same as the one who died? ‘Neither the same one nor another one!’ said Nagasena." Whatever that means!

We have readily shown and seen in this article that the doctrines of reincarnation and karma have nothing of any evidential substance—carrying along with that some severe philosophical problems. Let’s shift gears now and examine the worldview at the base of all New Age nuances and philosophies—namely Pantheism.

Most people are probably familiar with the basic definition of pantheism but for clarification purposes we’ll look at some popular definitions of it. Geisler says it is, "the polar opposite of deism. [Deism] stresses God’s distinction for the real world and [pantheism] emphasizes God’s identity with it. Deism holds that God is beyond the world but not in it in a miraculous way; pantheism believes that god is in the world or, rather, God is the world. So deism stresses God’s transcendence and pantheism his immanence in the world." (Geisler, Christian Apologetics, p. 173, emphasis his (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI, 1976)

William L. Reese adds, "the adjective ‘pantheist’ was introduced by John Toland in 1705 in reference to Socinianism… Once introduced, the term was applied to a variety of positions where God and the world are held to be identical. The term is to be distinguished from Panentheism where the world is regarded as a constituent of God but not identical with Him." (Reese, Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, (expanded ed.) p. 546-547 (Humanity Books: Amherst, NY, 1996)

Lastly, pantheism is, "the view that God is identical with everything… Pantheism should be distinguished from panentheism, the view that God is in all things. Just as water might saturate a sponge and in that way be in the entire sponge, but not be identical with the sponge, God might be in everything without being identical with everything…[Spinoza] argued that since substance is completely self-sufficient, and only God is self-sufficient, God is the only substance. In other words, God is everything… In Eastern philosophy, especially the Vedic tradition of Indian philosophy, pantheism is part of a rejection of polytheism. The apparent multiplicity of reality is illusion. What is ultimately real or divine is Brahman." (The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (2nd ed.), Robert Audi (gen.ed.), p. 640-641, emphasis in original (Cambridge: UK, 1999)

Although there are different schools of thought in the pantheistic camp, the basic premise remains the same. However, as with reincarnation and karma, pantheism has several glaring philosophical problems that have been pointed out time and time again.

To begin, pantheism, its comrades (Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism), and other belief systems such as Islam, exhibit a philosophical moral problem. Namely, pantheism leads us down the road to moral relativism. We have already dealt with this somewhat, but I believe it deserves further examination. Geisler (Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, "Pantheism," (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI, 1999) points out the four possibilities regarding good and evil in the pantheistic world view.

If god is all-good, then evil must exist apart from God. But this is impossible since God is all—nothing can exist apart from god.

If god is all-evil, then good must exist apart from god. This is not possible either, since God is all.

God is both all-good and all-evil. This cannot be, for it is self-contradictory to affirm that the same being is both all good and all evil at the same time. Further, most pantheists agree that God is beyond good and evil. It (god) is neither.

Good and evil are non-existent (i.e. moral relativism).

If either of the first two views is true, then pantheism is false. Number three cannot be true no matter what because they oppose the law of non-contradiction, namely—A cannot be A and non-A simultaneously. Two things cannot be and not be—same time, same place, same matter. The only viable option, at least for the pantheist, is number four. But this leads to greater problems, which have been discussed in Atheism: Is it a Plausible Worldview?

If the pantheist asserts the fourth option in essence he is saying that acts such as genocide, rape, murder, etc., are amoral acts. Without getting long winded, this is obviously false. If this is true, then there really is no difference for example, between feeding a starving child and shooting them. In the limited dialogue I have had with Buddhists, they are always harping about compassion and peace and helping others in life’s problems. But on what do they base this compassion on? I am not objecting to this action, what I am objecting to is that fact that in their worldview they have basis for such actions. The decision between being a Mother Teresa or an Adolph Hitler would be basically the same as choosing McDonalds instead of Burger King.

The pantheistic proclamation that "evil is illusory" is just plain dumb. This statement does no good to those experiencing evil and furthermore, if evil is not real what is the origin of this illusion? There is no room for an absolute good in the pantheistic view, nor is there ground for any kind of distinction between good and evil. In conclusion, pantheism is a morally handicapped worldview.

Pantheists are usually crying about how unknowable God is, that his nature cannot be known at all. There are basically three ways a person can view knowledge (or lack thereof) of God. 1) One can entirely know God down to the most intimate details. This is problematic because to fully know God in every single facet would basically require you to be God yourself! 2) God can be partially known, but not fully known. We know some things about God, but some things are a mystery and will remain that way until we enter eternity. Most Christians (a least I hope so) would subscribe to this view. 3) The pantheistic view: God is unknowable. This is a self-defeating statement because: To affirm a negative in this case (absolute non-knowledge of God) would require some positive knowledge. In other words, to know that God cannot be known you would have to have some intellectually positive knowledge of God to make that very statement! Negative knowledge would presuppose some positive knowledge. Back to the drawing board for the pantheistic camp. J

The pantheistic god (which is not really a god at all, at least in any personal understanding) is infinite, but yet in some mysterious fashion, shares his being with a finite creation. This would be the position of absolute pantheists, where creation is not created by God but is ex deo, "out of God." This makes God both infinite and finite, a curious contention indeed. Geisler asks, "how can the Infinite be finite, the Absolute be relative, and the Unchanging changed?" (Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia… p. 582)

Geisler makes note of another pantheistic doctrine—that of creation ex deo. "[T]he pantheistic God is incomplete without creation; he is dependent on the creation that flows from him for the attainment of the perfections that lie latent in his own infinite potentialities… [The pantheistic] god is like a seed that must unfold in its own creation in order to blossom forth in all its potential. God must create a mirror so that by reflection on his creation he may come to know himself… While a pantheistic God creates out of necessity and need, the theistic God creates out of love and desire." (Geisler, Christian Apologetics, p. 189-190)

What kind of "god" is dependent on anything? If we all turned away from Christ today, He would still be God—we need Him for more then He needs us. Some people opt for panentheism to escape some of these problems, but their case isn’t convincing either.

Panentheism is defined as

"[T]he view that all reality is part of the being of God. To be distinguished from Pantheism which identifies God with the total reality. The term was first used by Krause for his view that the world is a finite creation within the infinite being of God; and that the whole is a divine organism so constituted that higher organisms have lower organisms as their constituents… The metaphysics of Whitehead, with feeling spread throughout a reality interpreted in organismic terms, is likewise a candidate for panentheism. Deity is dipolar, both absolute and relative, and human immortality is one’s continued reality within the consequent nature of God… Hartshorne holds that… the divine is not simply absolute but dipolar, having absolute and relative aspects." (William L. Reese, Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, p. 545, emphasis mine)

In panentheism "nature and human consciousness are part of God or Absolute Being, the Absolute is neither exhausted in nor identical with them. To some extent, [Karl Krause] anticipated Hegel in invoking an ‘end of history’ in which the finite realm of human affairs would reunite with the infinite essence in a universal moral and ‘spiritual’ order." (The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, p. 476)

"[Panentheism] is also called process theology (since it views God as a changing Being], bipolar theism (since it believes that God has two poles), organicism (since it views that all that actually is as a gigantic organism), and neoclassical theism (because it believes that God is finite and temporal, in contrast to classical theism)… panentheists think of God as a finite, changing, director of world affairs who works in cooperation with the world in order to achieve greater perfection in his nature… the panentheist views God’s relation to the world the way a mind is related to the body. Indeed they believe the world is God’s ‘body’ (one pole) and the ‘mind’ is the other pole." (Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia…p. 576, emphasis in original)

The philosophical problems of panentheism are many, but we’ll limit the discussion to a brief overview of a few. 25 The idea of God being both finite and infinite is patently ridiculous, for I fail to see how anything could be self-caused. This is impossible—if God exists, He is a necessary being, He is uncaused. For Him to be self-caused He would have to be before He was. A being can be self-existent and eternal, but cannot be self-caused. In addition, if God caused His own existence, but not his own being, then what sustains Him in His being? This would make God contingent and not necessary. Just like fire is contingent (you need a catalyst, fire just doesn’t "happen"), God would also be so. But as we have seen, this cannot be.

If everything is in constant flux (including God Himself), according to the panentheist, then how do we empirically know that something is in flux when there is no reference point in which to discern or measure this alleged change? In short, panentheism is utter foolishness and any pseudo-pantheist who converts to this worldview to escape the pitfalls of pantheism winds up in the same boat; a "god" who is not really a god at all, but a contradictory figment of one’s resourceful imagination.

In closing, a few things are obvious:

The so-called hypnotic evidence and otherwise, for past lives, etc., is very circumstantial at best. The New Age is simply a doctrine of demons (I Timothy 4:1-2) devised to lead those away from the truth into serious error. The New Age is palatable to many people because they seek some sort of meaning in this life, without having to be accountable to anything in particular. This is a Burger King worldview, "where you can have it your way."

Many people who have delved into the occult practices of the NAM have experienced severe "side effects." The New Age is not nearly as dumb as it is dangerous.

There is not a shred of credible evidence for Jesus’ alleged trip to the East or His tutelage under various Indian or Tibetan gurus.

There is no biblical evidence for a belief in reincarnation, or any other NAM doctrine.

A key tenet for those who wish to marry NAM precepts with Orthodox Christianity rest on the unfounded (and disproven) assumption of a first century Gnostic sect. All of the finds at Nag Hammadi (including Thomas) date no earlier than the middle of the second century. Too late to have been any influence on the Apostles as they wrote the NT. There was no first century Gnosticism, sorry guys.

The foundation of all NAM doctrines—that of pantheism, has several moral, evidential and philosophical problems that its adherents have failed to answer. This would include Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and their sects.

Reading a first century biblical manuscript with Gnostic or New Age glasses and then gasping over the Gnostic/New parallels in it is a faulty starting point. Let the document speak for itself in its historical and literary context and not read your own preconceived nonsense into it.

In conclusion, the New Age Movement is just another shot out of Satan’s cannon, another attempt by the father of all liars to dilute the truth. In my research, I have found the New Age wanting for any credible evidence—like Islam, the Watchtower, Mormonism, Humanism, Adventism, and other cults—those seeking a logical worldview will inevitably look elsewhere. Have a nice day. J JOHN 15:5

1 See Deuteronomy 4:39; Numbers 23:19; Hosea 11:9; 1 Kings 8:60; Isaiah 45:5, 14, 22, 46:9; Joel 2:27; Romans 1:19-25 and 1 Corinthians 8:4 among others

2 This is the same Swami Muktanada that taught Werner Erhard, the creator of EST (Erhard Seminar Training, also known as "Forum"). Like Muktanada, Erhard was a sophist and wasn’t above using reprehensible tactics. (For a good critique of Erhard’s erroneous teachings and EST see The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, John Ankerburg & John Weldon, "EST, The Forum, and Related New Age Seminars," Harvest House: Eugene, OR, 1996 and Bob Larson, Larson’s New Book of Cults (rev. ed.), p. 224-227, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Il, 1989)

Muktanada (See "The Secret Life of Swami Muktanada," Co-Evolution Quarterly, Winter 1983 and The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Ankerburg & Weldon, p. 248-249) engaged in some morally questionable tactics to say the least. Charges brought up by no less than 36 of his former disciples brought to light Muktanada’s questionable character. He would not hesitate to have disciples beaten and on more than one occasion indulged himself in sexual acts with young girls. His self-proclaimed successor Swami Nityananda was cut from the same cloth. His character was so reprehensible that the Siddha Yoga Dham of America (SYDA) declared that he "broke his vows of chastity and obedience time and time again. In short, he abused his position as a spiritual teacher…" (See Ibid)

3 For example, Houston (The Possible Human, chap. 5) describes "exercises" that will "awake your evolutionary memory." "Several years ago, those who witnessed the spectacle on the lawn of [UCSB], where a wriggling sea of bodies… crawled over and under each other in a state of active reptilian regression… Having led and observed this exercise hundreds of times, I have become aware of constant patterns. Throughout the exercise, there is increasing vertical movement as the human struggles to become erect; one senses the organism reaching for the sun, gaining ever expanding perspectives."

Houston also describes exercises that help us remember, "When we were amphibians, reptiles" and such. Evolution is an icon of the NA, for if special creation is true; then evolution and pantheism cannot be.

4 Helen Wambach, Reliving Past Lives, and Life Before Life; Dr. Brian Weiss, Many Lives, Many Masters; Dr. Edith Fiore, You Have Been Here Before; Netherton and Shiffrin, Past Lives Therapy; Roger Woolger, Other Lives, Other Selves; Tom Shroder, Old Souls; Bryan Jameison, The Search for Past Lives; and Michael Duff Newton, Journey of Souls. Keep in mind that this list isn’t even close to exhaustive!

5 In addition: Houston, (Masters and Houston, Mind Games, p. 199-201, (Dell Publishing, 1972) in speaking of the appearance of the so-called "Group Spirit" in one of her patented "exercises" tells us that we will be able to see it, hear it, and even touch it. However, the participants are warned not to touch it—needing to "take certain precautions." Why the warning if this is harmless fun? Does the "Group Spirit" (cultivated in a séance-like manner) bite? If this is all imaginary then why any warnings at all? Why is the group leader instructed to retain "normal consciousness" in case someone else needs help? Houston’s writings are putting the education system face-to-face with the occult.

6 See Exodus 7:11-12, 22:18; Leviticus 19:26, 31, 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 18:10-12; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14; Isaiah 2:6, 8:19; Jeremiah 27:9-10; Zechariah 10:2; Malachi 3:5; Acts 8:9, 16:16; 19:19; Galatians 5:20; and Revelation 21:8 & 22:15. In addition, many NA apologists use the events in 1 Samuel 28 to give a biblical "proof" that one can contact the dead, (or for reincarnation) however this is not the case. It should also be noted that Satan himself can be transformed into an angel of light and at one time he was an angel of light (See Isaiah 14:12-16; Ezekiel 28:13-19; 2 Corinthians 11:14). Biblically and historically speaking, we can see that "altered states," etc., are demonic interludes. Satan loves "religious camouflage" better than anything else. What better vehicle to use than the New Age Movement?

7 To begin, asking for physical proof of Satan’s existence is rather curious since Satan by definition, is immaterial. This logic is akin to going in a room and declaring, "I looked all over for that invisible man and I never saw him." Although angels (including Satan) can and do take quasi-physical forms, they are not by definition material entities.

Dave Hunt (In Defense of the Faith, chap. 8, (Harvest House: Eugene, OR, 1996) gives compelling evidence for the viability of a belief in "spirit beings" such as Satan. Temples all over the ancient world betrayed a belief in serpent worship. Whether it was the Mayans (Quetzalcoatl), Hindus (Shiva), Egypt and Rome (Serapis), or the annual snake dance of the Hopi Indians, serpent worship permeated the ancient world. Where did this belief come from? Perhaps it was all "vivid imagery" and an acute case of overactive imagination (Jean Houston eat your heart out)? One noted occult authority believes that

"Serpent worship in some form permeated nearly all parts of the earth. The serpent mounds of the American Indian; the carved-stone snakes of Central and South America; the hooded cobras of India; Python, the great snake of the Greeks; the sacred serpents of the Druids; the Midgard snake of Scandinavia… the sacred serpents preserved in Egyptian temples… [and on and on and on]… all these bear witness to the universal veneration in which the snake was held… the serpent is… the symbol and prototype pf the Universal Savior, who redeems the world by giving creation the knowledge of itself… It has long been viewed as the emblem of immortality. It is the symbol of reincarnation…" (Ibid; Manly Hall, The Secret Teachings of all Ages, p. LXXXVII-LXXXVIII (The Philosophical Research Society: LA, CA, 1969)

To arrogantly conclude that a belief in Satan’s existence is for those who also believe in trolls and fairies just doesn’t cut it. Obviously, all those ancient cultures have those serpents as part of their community for some reason or another—I surmise that it was for more than decorative purposes.

8 For information refuting the idea of a "guru Jesus" see Hunt, In Defense of the Faith, p. 115-119; Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age, p. 144-150

9 Now I am fully aware of the fact that about 5 million people have written commentaries on Revelation conveying their view about what will transpire and when. I do not claim to have the answers to unlock all the secrets of Revelation, nor am I claiming to clear up all of the haggling about the Rapture, Tribulation, whether the Temple will be rebuilt, etc. I believe what I express here fits the evidence. I may however, be totally wrong but at least this will pick your brain

10 For information regarding the apostasy of Roman Catholicism and the Pope in particular see Dave Hunt’s A Woman Rides the Beast and Occult Invasion, chapters 19, 20 & 26

11 Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) is sometimes considered the founder of modern hypnosis. (See Vincent Buranelli, The Wizard from Vienna, (Coward: New York, 1975)

12 The information in the following paragraph comes from Ankerburg & Weldon, The Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, "Hypnosis and Hypnotic Regression."

13 Those wishing to use Loftus’ research as a polemic against the oral tradition of the Gospels would be well advised to refute this

14 This article also notes some of the dangers of hypnosis in general:

"There is a general consensus that for the most part the hazards of hypnosis reside in the personality of the individual to be hypnotized. Hypnosis, per se, is a precipitating factor, which may trigger psychopathological manifestations. These manifestations may include spontaneous abreaction, acute anxiety states during the trance [P.B. exhibited this], difficulties in dehypnotization, [i.e. incomplete waking from the hypnotic trance] and the appearance of a long uncontrolled hypnotic trance. Posttrance complications include… heightened susceptibility to spontaneous trance states, decompensation of latent psychotic states and the exacerbation of a full-blown psychosis and the development of neurotic manifestations such as anxiety depression or obsessive preoccupation." (The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 27, No. 3, p. 219-220 (7/79)

The author does go on warn us that stage hypnosis is somewhat different, in the view that usually the subject has had no psychiatric evaluation prior to the hypnotic experience and the event is not for their benefit—usually they’re the subject of laughter as the entertainer turns them into a guinea pig for all sorts of peculiar things. However, since 1979 a lot more evidence has been uncovered, a lot more research has been done and it’s clear that hypnosis does create an "altered state of consciousness" and its hazards are not limited to freak-show stage hypnotists.

Now just because some people endure hypnosis with no (known) ill effects doesn’t mean that it should still be used. After all, some people survive plane crashes, but I don’t recommend you test that theory on yourself.

15 Perry remarks: "What appears to emerge from this analysis is that while in court the issue was presented in terms of the two main viewpoints (distorted perception versus subject motivation to use hypnosis as an ‘alibi’) there exists at least a third position which is agreed upon by protagonists of both positions—that hypnosis can be used to evoke latent destructive impulses—and possibly a fourth—that an intense relationship (hypnotic or otherwise) is essential for such a manipulation of behavior. It must be emphasized, however, that there was no court evidence to indicate that any of the women involved manifested any apparent signs of latent psychopathology or of self-destructive tendencies within the brief period of their acquaintance with [Barry Palmer]." (The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Vol. 27, No. 3, p. 209, emphasis mine (7/79)

16 For further critique of self-help groups such as AA see Hunt, Occult Invasion, chapter 15

17 Case in point, Vitz (p. 17) cites a study where the mathematical skills of students from various countries were compared. Not surprisingly, American students ranked the lowest in mathematical competence and Korean students ranked the highest. The researchers went a step further and asked the students how they thought they did on the test. The American students’ self-esteem was obviously high because they believed that they did well on the test. The Korean students exhibited the antithesis, believing that they did poorly. In this case the inflated ego of the American students did no good. Feel-good psychology did no good. Just because one has self-esteem doesn’t mean that it will elicit an intellectual improvement. Just like the "Little Train That Could," we have this illusion that "we can." However, that train isn’t going anywhere without tracks. (See also, A. Lapointe, et al., A World of Difference: An International Assessment of Mathematics and Science, p. 10 (Educational Testing Service: Princeton, NJ, 1989)

18 Sadly, many people think that psychology can be a Christian practice. This is a bad joke. Dave Hunt, in chapter 22 of his Occult Invasion exposes this premise as sheer ridiculousness. He quotes Dr. James Dobson (p. 461, emphasis Hunt’s) as saying: "Christian psychology is a worthy profession for a young believer to pursue, provided his faith is strong enough to withstand the humanistic concepts to which he will be exposed." Dobson and another Christian psychologist (Gary Collins) agree that psychology is founded on the same five principles as humanism and then insist that it can be married with Christianity! I think Dobson needs to do a psychological evaluation on himself. Hunt exposes "Christian Psychology" as an oxymoron.

I have seen this influence in my own life. In one of my bouts with depression I was "given counsel" by a Christian friend. He asked if my perfectionism was rooted in my father’s alcoholism (forgetting that my father was never an alcoholic in the first place, though he did "overindulge" at times). I cannot recall even one instance of my father being drunk at any time. In addition (this "counselor" of mine, who I still consider a good friend was going to a "christian psychologist" regularly) the "victim culture" psychology was apparent in my dialogue with him. Rather than take responsibility for my actions, I could just point my finger at good old dad and say, "You made me this way because you drank!" Get a clue already and take responsibility for your actions. "My people perish [and get themselves into trouble] because of a lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6)

19 Marilyn Hickey: "Say to your body, ‘You’re whole, body! Why you just function so beautifully and so well. Why, body, you never have any problems. You’re a strong, healthy body.’ Or speak to your leg, or speak to your foot… speak to your wife, speak to your husband… speak faith to them to create in them and God will create what you are speaking." (Hickey, "Claim Your Miracles," audiotape #186, side 2 (Denver: Marilyn Hickey Ministries); as cited in Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis, p. 63 (Harvest House: Eugene, OR, 1997)

Kenneth Copeland: "God cannot do anything for you apart or separate from faith" [because] "faith is God’s source of power." (Copeland, Freedom from Fear, p. 11-12 (Kenneth Copeland Ministries: Fort Worth, TX, 1980); as cited in Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis, p. 65, emphasis mine) Apparently God needs a "force" to operate. Use the force Luke. God doesn’t need anything, including Kenneth Copeland. He also states, "[God is] very much like you and me. A being that stands somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of hundred pounds, little better…" (Copeland, "Spirit, Soul and Body I," audiotape #01-0601, side 1; as cited in Hanegraaff, 121) And: "What you are saying is exactly what you are getting now. If you are living in poverty and lack and want, change what you are saying… The powerful force of the spiritual world that creates the circumstances around us is controlled by the words of the mouth." (Copeland, The Laws of Prosperity, p. 98 (Kenneth Copeland Ministries: Fort Worth, TX, 1974); as cited in Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults (rev. ed.), p. 507 (Bethany House: Minneapolis, 1997) God is reduced to a cosmic gofer who is bound by your words!

Morris Cerullo: "Did you know that from the beginning of time the whole purpose of God was to reproduce Himself… Who are you? Come on, who are you? Come on, say it: ‘Sons of God!’… And when we stand up here, brother, you’re not looking at Morris Cerullo; you’re looking at God. You’re looking at Jesus." (Cerullo, "The Endtime Manifestation of the Sons of God," audiotape 1, sides 1 & 2 (San Diego: Morris Cerullo World Evangelism), emphasis in original; as cited in Hanegraaff, 109)

Benny Hinn: "I am a ‘little messiah’ walking on earth." (Hinn on TBN’s ‘Praise-a-Thon’ program, 11/6/90; as cited in Hanegraaff, 110) "Never, ever, ever, go to the Lord and say, ‘If it be thy will…’ Don’t allow such faith-destroying words to be spoken from your mouth." (Ibid, p. 11) I guess Hinn hasn’t read the Lord’s Prayer lately? Hinn also had a witch tell him that they were taught how to kill birds and people with their mouths. She would speak to a bird and watch it drop dead. Hinn responded, "Dear God, I didn’t know the Devil has such power. And the Lord spoke to [Hinn]… ‘The Devil can kill with words, then you with your words can bring life.’ And it just came (sic) and clicked inside of me… we Christians don’t realize the power in our mouths." (Hinn quoted on TBN’s ‘Praise the Lord’ program 6/1/89; as cited in Hanegraaff, 84)

I will agree that Satan is a very powerful entity—so powerful even, that he has a noose around Hinn’s neck and he doesn’t even know it. To document the long list of unbiblical statements made by this charlatan could fill the Library of Congress. Benny Hinn is nothing more than an unwitting emissary of the Devil and has done much to damage Christianity. The really sad part is that he doesn’t even know it!

Charles Capps: On one occasion Capps was "under attack by Satan" and God told him, "I can’t do anything about it. You have bound me by the words of your mouth." (Capps, The Tongue—A Creative Force, p. 67 (Harrison House: Tulsa, 1976); as cited in Hanegraaff, 85) Maybe the God that Capps serves can be bound by words, but not the God of the Bible. NAM teaches that we are gods and that we can create our own reality just by imagining it. The parallels are so close to the Word Faith theology garbage.

Frederick Price: "God has to be given permission to work in this earth realm on behalf of man… you are in control… if man has control, who no longer has it? God…. And the way we let Him or give Him permission is through prayer." (Price, The Word Study Bible, p. 1178 (Harrison: Tulsa, 1990); as cited in Hanegraaff, 85) Are you serious!!! And people who profess to follow Christ believe this trash. Words cannot describe how utterly heretical Price is.

Price goes even further into the realm of the blasphemous by uttering, "Do you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on a cross? If that were the case, the two thieves could have paid your price. No, the punishment was to go into hell itself and to serve time in hell separated from God." (Price, Ever Increasing Faith Messenger (June 1980); as cited in Hanegraaff, 163, emphasis mine)

Kenneth Hagin: "This eternal life He [God] came to give us is the nature of God… It is, in reality, God imparting His very nature, substance, and being to our human spirits… Eternal life is the nature of God. It is the being or substance of God." (Hagin, ZOE: The God-Kind of Life, p. 1-2, 27 (Tulsa: Kenneth Hagin Ministries); as cited in Martin, 504-505) And "the believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth." (Hagin, The Word of Faith (December 1980): 14; as cited in Martin, 505, emphasis mine)

Casey Treat: "God created man and woman as an exact duplicate of Himself." (Treat, Renewing the Mind, p. 90 (Seattle: Casey Treat Ministries, 1985); as cited in Hanegraaff, 361, emphasis Hanegraaff’s)

Paul Crouch, President of TBN (True Blasphemy Network): "I’m eradicating the word ‘Protestant’ even out of my vocabulary… I’m not protesting anything. It’s time for Catholics and non-Catholics to come together as One in Spirit and One in the Lord." (Praise the Lord program on TBN, 10/17/89; as cited in Dr. Phil Arms, Promise Keepers: Another Trojan Horse, p. 257) Catholics and Protestants coming together is a wonderful idea! —But, under what umbrella will they unite? I surmise that it would be one that compromises the truth.

Robert Schuller: "It’s time for Protestants to go to the shepherd [referring not to Christ but the Pope!], and say, ‘What do we have to do to come home?’" (See Ibid; Los Angeles Herald Examiner, "Religion Page," 9/19/87) Surprisingly, that is one of the more benign statements to come out of Schuller’s mouth. This man has done more damage to the Gospel of Christ than Hinn ever could—mainly because he has a larger platform. Schuller has been one of the more popular televangelists of the last forty years.

The list goes on and on and it seems that everyday we have a new heretic on the block spouting this Word Faith garbage, which mirrors the NAM closely. For in-depth study see Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis; Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults; Gordon Fee, The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospels; D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel; Elliot Miller, Healing ; and Dale H. Simmons, A Theological and Historical Analysis of Kenneth E. Hagin’s Claim to Be a Prophet.

20 Glenn Miller also has a short piece on reincarnation and the early church

21 1, 2, 3, 4

22 There are numerous pre-Constantine biblical manuscripts, and references to reincarnation are also curiously absent from them as well. Those who actually enjoy doing some real research (not cutting and pasting from the internet and using single-paragraph generalizations, arguments from outrage, etc—you know who you are) can read about this in Geisler and Nix, General Introduction to the Bible, revised and expanded, 1986; McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands A Verdict; Geisler, Answering Islam; Kurt & Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament, revised edition, 1989; F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable?; and Bruce Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, third edition, 1992. There are others but list should be good enough for one to get their feet wet.

As far as the OT goes we have copies of almost every book (Esther being the lone possible exception) predating Christ. I was first led to Weiss’ book in dialogue with a skeptic and his response when asked for NT and OT evidence for reincarnation was the same. When your source is ignorant you’ll follow down the same erroneous path.

In conclusion, when people such as Weiss, et al., begin shooting their mouths off about how Constantine purged references to reincarnation from the biblical text you can rest assured they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. Case closed!

23 Prophet and others such as Leslie Weatherhead (See Weatherhead, The Case for Reincarnation, p. 35-45 (M.C. Pero: Surrey, England, 1958) continually harp about the "fact" that many early church fathers and some Jewish groups believed in reincarnation. Because Origen believed in "preexistent souls," he, by default, believed in reincarnation. This is a major stretch indeed (See also ref. # 20). Probably the most clear-cut refutation of Prophet’s (et. al.) erroneous position can be found in John Hicks’ Death & Eternal Life, p. 392-395; which is cited by Morey in Reincarnation and Christianity, p. 31-33.

For example, Prophet (p. 366-367, footnote 22) dismisses Origen absolute denial of reincarnation in Commentary on Matthew 13.1 (See The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. X, p. 474-475, (eds.) Robertson & Donaldson (Wm. B. Eerdmans: 1995 reprint) as one where "he clearly had one eye on the bishops when he did it." In other words, Prophet dismisses his clear denial of this doctrine as one elicited via intimidation. However, when Origen flirts with the idea of preexistent souls (not the same as reincarnation) he is an absolute reincarnationist. She also fires one last salvo in her ill-fated effort to paint Origen as a member of her demonic sect: "The most logical conclusion that we can draw from Origen’s denial of reincarnation yet contradictory support for preexistence is that his denial was a deliberate attempt to mislead his enemies and that he continued to teach reincarnation secretly." (Prophet, 367, footnote 22) For those who speak English that means: "I have no conclusive evidence but I’ll bet he did it secretly where nobody saw." Sorry Liz, you’ll have to do better than that.

Professor John Hicks makes short work of Prophet’s sophomoric rants:

"The fact is that reincarnation was taught within the Gnostic movement from which the church early distinguished itself and then treated as a dangerous foe… The first Christian reference to reincarnation is a passing remark by Justin Martyr, about the middle of the second century, against the idea of human souls passing into the bodes is animals (Dialogue with Trypho, 4-5). (Despite this, W. Lutoslawski lists Justin as a believer in reincarnation—Pre-existence and Reincarnation, p. 21). Irenaeus wrote his extended attack upon the Gnostics, Against Heresies, in the last quarter of the second century… he criticizes Carpocrates’ doctrine of the transmigration of the soul… (book II, ch. 33)… Clement of Alexandria made several brief references to the idea of reincarnation, which he did not accept (Stromata, IV, 12; VI 4). Hyppolytus [early 3rd century, criticizes] Carpocrates, and his teaching of reincarnation (The Refutation of All Heresies, book VII, ch. 20)… Tertullian, writing about A.D. 200, [attacks] both the platonic doctrine of the soul’s preexistence and the Pythagorean doctrine of transmigration (On the Soul, chs. 23-4, 29-35)… In the fourth century Gregory of Nyssa rejected both the pre-existence of the soul and ‘the fabulous doctrines of the heathen which they hold on the subject of successive incorporation’ (On the Making of Man, chs. 29, 3). And in the fifth century Augustine attacked the notion of reincarnation… (The City of God, book X, ch. 30) All this means that the ideas of pre-existence and reincarnation were lives issues with the early church; but it does not mean that reincarnation was at any time ‘accepted by the early church’… Origen affirms the pre-existence of the soul and regards the fortunate and unfortunate circumstances of birth—as rewards and punishments for virtue and sin in the soul’s previous existence (On First Principles, book II, chs. 9, 6-8). To this extent his teaching is in agreement with the idea of reincarnation. However, this previous existence was not on earth but in the heavens, and did not constitute one of a series of former lives. Origen does not speak of successive incarnations of the soul in different earthly bodies but only of the soul’s pre-existence in some higher realm prior to its descent into this world. Indeed, in at least one passage Origen explicitly repudiates a form of reincarnation doctrine… Origen’s doctrine of pre-existence, as well as a number of his other teachings, were matters of spasmodic debate in the church during the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries, and Origen or his ideas were condemned by Synods in 400 and 403 (J.F. Bethune-Baker, An Introduction to the Early History of Christian Doctrine, p. 153)… It has been said, again by Leslie Weatherhead, that [the Essenes taught reincarnation]… He is referring to Josephus’ Jewish Wars, book II, ch. 8, para. 14. This reads, ‘(It is said that) on the one hand all souls are immortal, but on the other hand those of good men only are changed into another body… but those of evil men are subject to eternal punishment’… It seems more likely that Josephus had in mind the resurrection of the body, but perhaps (as in the thought of St. Paul) in another ‘spiritual’ body. Such an idea is found in Jewish apocalyptic writings (e.g., 2 Enoch (sic) 8:5:65: 10; 2 Esdras 2:39, 45): See D.S. Russell, The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic, p. 376-9." (Hicks, Death and Eternal Life, p. 392-395 (Harper & Row: NY, 1976); as cited in Morey, Reincarnation and Christianity, p. 31-33)

Contrary to the simplistic, non-scholarly treatments put forth by the likes of Weatherhead and Prophet—the Apostles, nor the early church, nor Judaism betrays any clear-cut belief in reincarnation. All the typical NT references that NAM apologists use to prove reincarnation and their worldview in particular are found wanting. Let me be another in the long line of those who say, "Lizzie Prophet and Leslie Weatherhead, your books stink." Save your money folks!

24 For good critiques of reincarnation and other pantheistic nuances see Mark Albrecht, Reincarnation: A Christian Appraisal; Norm Geisler & J. Yutaka Amano, The Reincarnation Sensation; Robert Morey, Reincarnation and Christianity and Death and the Afterlife; and John Snyder, Reincarnation Versus Resurrection

25 See Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, "Panentheism," and Christian Apologetics, "Panentheism"