Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Logical Fallacies of the New Age Movement

(This is an artical I originally wrote for my other blog, Kick the System [un]conformed)

Learning to see things through the
"lens" of the Bible.
"You will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” - John 8:32
The "New Age" Movement is nothing new. No religion is new, but follows simple patterns of belief that can be categorized: where one is coming from, and how they view God, the world, and themselves. This is called a Worldview. What in the world is a worldview?? For example, two people can look at the same piece of evidence and both come to completely different conclusions. It all depends on how you look at it. It is like wearing colored glasses. Mine may be blue, yours may be orange. We could go look at the statue of liberty, agree on what we see, but both see it differently. The same thing is true about a worldview. How one sees God will effect how they see the world, and will effect how they see themselves, therefore determining how they act and think.
This being said, let's look at a very popular worldview: The New Age Movement. This includes cults, Eastern Mysticism, Agnosticism, Buddhism, Taoism, and more. What do they have in common, and what are the New Age movement's base belief-patterns and assumptions?

1. The New Age Movement sees truth as relative, strictly personal, and experiential.

One person may believe that God is real, another may not, but both can be completely true to each person. I know someone who has coined his own type of new age belief (which most "new age people" do) and believes that the God the the Bible is not limited to Scriptural "boundaries." So he is "free" to experience God as God reveals Himself. This may sound nice, but when it is put to the Scriptural test, it falls apart completely.
The truth is still the truth. The thing is, we don't
define that truth, we must seek it out.
I've always learned to test a logic question by applying it to the extreme, and to practical reality. As an example, when I was maybe 8 years of age, I thought I had to have at least three large bath-towels to dry off after a shower. My dad said that I only needed one. In fact, I could use a little washcloth and get myself completely dry. His reasoning was that as long as something was dryer than me, it could dry me. Well, I thought about that, and thought I'd apply that to the extreme. The ocean floor is quite wet, right? Well, if a kitchen towel is dryer than the ocean floor, then in theory one could empty the oceans with it, right? Well, while my dad did have some good points, and I may not have been looking at it quite right, I did prove that belief wrong. It may sound very silly, but it usually works if one uses common sense.

If one believes that religion is relative, they have to believe that science is relative. If one believes that the existence of God can be different for each person and yet true for each person, they must admit that each person can chose if gravity effects them or not. They would all have to agree that since the value of life is relative, that murder is perfectly acceptable. If the new age theory were taken practically, then 9/11 was just two sincere people living out their personal truth.
Christian rapper Lecrae states this in one of his (amazing) songs: "Someone once told me that there is no such thing as truth; I said 'if that is true then why should I believe you.'" Someone who says that there is no absolute truth is asking you not to believe them.

So, most importantly, what does God say about truth?

"Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one can go to the Father [God] except by Me." John 14:6

This is exclusive. This is TRUTH.

People don't like being told what is right and wrong, and so they deviate from the truth and claim their own.

The "Universal Moral Code" by
Kent M. Keith says nothing other
than what the Bible already
commands us to do.

2. General Acceptance of a Moral Code

Earlier, I stated that Buddhism is actually a form of new age philosophy. How is that, you ask? Well, as hard as people try and say that they have no bias, they still have rules they try to apply to others. Someone hurts them? They want justice. New Age leaders like Buddha? He introduced a code of conduct, so to speak, though he never wanted to start a religion. His "friends" compiled his teachings years after he died, and even these do not claim Buddha to be divine, nor divinely sent.
What we can learn from Buddhism is that while a religion or sect can claim that there is really no definite line of truth, they still have unwritten, unsaid standards for how themselves and others should act. There also seems to be a moral code ingrained in a person's conscience. The "fact" that we have conscience (whatever that is) is proof that there is some universal acknowledgement of a moral standard. The vast majority believe that rape and cold-blooded murder are wrong. How could one feel wronged when there is no right and wrong? Guilt would be nonexistent.

What does the Bible say about morality?

"...even if they do not have the Law, it shows they know what they should do. They show that what the Law wants them to do is written in their hearts. Their own hearts tell them if they are guilty." Romans 2:14-15

'For God will judge every act, even everything which is hidden..." Ecclesiastes 12:14

"Can anyone teach God anything, when He judges those on high?" Job 21:22

God created mankind, and God creates the rules.

3. The New Age Movement promotes self-idolization

Jesus has earned
His Lordship over
Heaven and Earth
 The whole question is about who is on the throne. Who sets the rules, who decides what's true, who rules your actions?
One does not claim the absence of absolute truth because he does not have important questions, but because he wants to make up his own answers. Humanity wants to live by his own rules and so he rejects God as the One who sets the standard of absolute truth.
So who is one the throne of your heart? Is it yourself, or your God?
One cannot claim to place a god of their own making on the throne of their heart, because to worship of god of one's own making is to worship one's own self. There are really only two options, as God states: "There is one Lord. He is Jesus Christ. He made all things." [1 Corinthians 1:6] If you are not following the One Lord, then you are following the devil.

How then shall we live?

So we see why multiple truths in conflict is a serious logical problem, but some people say is is better than the alternative: people groups and religious gatherings fighting and bickering amongst themselves. It sounds so much better to live and let live! But this is also a logical fallacy. We are not looking at every option here, and these two extremes sure leave out the Biblical perspective, which Bible-believing Christians need to learn to see the world through. One can still believe that there is one universal truth, and not fight with those whom they disagree with! I am good friends with many people who disagree with me on very fundamental levels, but because I also believe that they are made in the image of God, I respect and love them, and definitely don't think of myself as better than they are. But instead of me arguing this point, let me give you some Bible verses -

"But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Here, God tells us to told Christ as holy and pure in our hearts. This means no compromise whatsoever! But this is no excuse for bull-headedness and plain rudeness.
But even if we show every courtesy to those who disagree, there will still be distention that will come up. People will hate us because they hate the word of God, and we may be persecuted because of it. But no one can take away the truth, no matter how much they hate it, and even when the truth threatens our jobs, friendships, social status/reputation, or even our life, there is nothing worth giving up the truth! Nothing could replace it in our lives!

Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. Proverbs 23:23

"...The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward." Psalms 19:9-11

"Never be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the alter of peace"

Listen to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. When any philosophy comes your way, test it by the only source of truth: God's Word.

"Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar." Proverbs 30:5-6

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