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Thread: Will 'New Age' become a religion?

  1. #1

    Default Will 'New Age' become a religion?

    I've noticed a few people with 'similar' ideas as myself, who have rejected formal religion for whatever reasons, in favour of a more 'holistic' approach to spirituality. New Age, is a loosely used term to describe a collection of beliefs, but even that as a label is very often rejected.

    I have drawn my own 'spirituality' from a load of different sources and experiences, like Paganism, Wiccan belief, Buddhism, Quantum Physics, Reiki amongst alot of other things. So for lack of title, I choose to just lump it all into Paganism. Parts of it are 'proven' by science, some are simply observed notions based in 'faith'.

    This seems to me, like a growing phenomena/religion. I know that the formalised religions reject this kind of thought as 'evil', but it is all essentially very much formed around 'good deeds' and individuals taking on responsibilty for their own lives... thereby improving the collective.

    So Im after a few ideas and comments. (none of which can be right/wrong, as the nature of this discussion if purely OPINION). So a couple of questions to start the discussion off:

    Do you you think these ideas will ever form into a new religion as formalised as say Christianity/Islam, with set rules? Is it the nature of humanity- to create a box and place something in that box? Or is this a completely new concept that will remain loosely defined? Are formalised religions fearful of this concept (call it New Age) because it has no borders, it has no structure and mostly there is no controlling body demanding money to create structures like churches and creating groups of people who go out and 'convert the barbarians?'

    ...?

  2. #2

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    New Age is a terribly vague description simply because it can mean so many different things. Your beliefs are a perfect example; you've taken from many different sources and created something you can call your own.

    I don't think it will ever become a refined standard, not your particular brand of new-aginess nor any other that I have seen so far. As you say, there is no controlling body, and more to the point, there is very little to be gained by creating such a body. The traditional religions have all been used as political tools at one time or another - I don't see this happening with New Age type beliefs.

  3. #3

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    Nice topic, and I agree. The areligiously spiritual, if I can call it that, numbers do seem on the rise! It is not generational either. Even my mother, in her 50's has started questioning her church and has almost abandoned the religion entirely in her own quest for knowledge and 'enlightenment'.
    Quote Originally Posted by GamerGirl View Post
    Do you you think these ideas will ever form into a new religion as formalised as say Christianity/Islam, with set rules?
    ...?
    Hopefully not... It would destroy the free thinking that went into people discovering their own 'beliefs'. Defining everything ruins the self discovery and uniqueness, since as you said, there are people with 'similar' ideas to you. If there is a rule to be set for a lifestyle/religion, which ultimately can't be named due to its potential diversity, it should be one encouraging people to find their OWN paths.

    Ergh, and the term 'New Age' Reminds me of all those happy clappy 'artisans' in Melville that speak to rocks and copulate with paisely slippers under the full moon so that they appear 'deep' in the eyes of their peers.

  4. #4

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    Hopefully not... It would destroy the free thinking that went into people discovering their own 'beliefs'. Defining everything ruins the self discovery and uniqueness, since as you said, there are people with 'similar' ideas to you. If there is a rule to be set for a lifestyle/religion, which ultimately can't be named due to its potential diversity, it should be one encouraging people to find their OWN paths.
    I was tempted to say this myself. *thumbs up*

  5. #5

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    I have been following the pagan pantheon for 22 years- there has always been various structures that loosely governed some of the pantheons- and I have seen some formalisation over the last years- as it has become more acceptable in society(i.e that we are not satinist) but the nature of these believes has always been based on idividualistic interpretation and I think will loose some of its appeal if there is rules- we have always adhered to the crede- which is simple and works-"do what thou will, but harm thee none"
    BLAST FROM THE PAST

  6. #6
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    can't see it happening. the term new age, is slapped on anyone who considers alternative spirtitual awareness than that offered by organised religion. Normally insights from more than one religion are assimilated into ones own personal philosophy, as you mention alternative considerations are also viewed such as pyshics, energy healing, etc.

    its a new thought process on the planet.
    whether you think you're right or you think you're wrong, you're right. - henry ford

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by simple_simon View Post
    .

    its a new thought process on the planet.
    It is rediscovering of the old ways- and interpretting it in context of modern society
    BLAST FROM THE PAST

  8. #8

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    HAHA! Im glad you guys reject the term New Age as I do... I don't like the category or the term. Its difficult to speak of a growing movement without giving it a name, but thats exactly what I like about it... it has no definition or boundaries.

  9. #9
    Grandmaster Nanfeishen's Avatar
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    I always consider "New Age" as a fad, a fashionable thing to follow until something else pops up, one day its light energy the next its sound vibrations, then crytal power etc, although i do give it its due, in that it gets people to question othodoxy, it allows people to experiment with thought processes they havent previously considered, and in a positive healing manner, so it cant be all that bad.
    Although i think it like all "religions", a path to enlightenment, not the only way.
    The term that could be used to desribe what mixing and taking for yourself, what you feel is the most worthwhile, and following, or allowing those thoughts to grow within, is "Spiritual Growth Through Universal Truth"
    The common bond, or denominator is "Universal Truth"
    Abandon the search for Truth; settle for a good fantasy.

  10. #10
    Banned Debbie's Avatar
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    I can't stand the term 'new age'.

    I agree with what evilspinach suggests: the act of formalising new age into structure can never happen because of the nature of the core- find your own path.

    I sortof started (at least intellectually) about 8 years ago- was on and off for a long time- only quite recently has it come home for good in ways beyond the intellect. Magnificent, yes, but also finding it difficult.

  11. #11
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    i don't think it matters what its called as long as whatever you're doing works for you.
    whether you think you're right or you think you're wrong, you're right. - henry ford

  12. #12

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    btw... all the 'new age' stuff is very old and can't realy becalled new age.

    mostly of all those pagan related religions existed even before christianity.

    so if any christianity and its off springs should be called new age...

    i have a very nice article on this and can post it if there is interest

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    Banned Debbie's Avatar
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    post it asseblief?

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    Karmic Sangoma ghoti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geekchick View Post
    It is rediscovering of the old ways- and interpretting it in context of modern society
    How about thinking up some new concepts? The old ones are pretty bad.
    "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist. That is all..." - Oscar Wilde

  15. #15

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    from oddesey mag:

    The term New Age has come to mean everything from the supposed manifestation of a range of Utopian possibilities to a virtual swear word used by hard-line rationalists and hardcore religious fundamentalists. Chris Erasmus takes a close look at what this term means and the how and why of its use.

    If you want to smear someone in the mainstream media's collective mindset, call them a New Ager, as in 'so-and-so's New Age philosophy', which decoded immediately relegates them to the near-lunatic fringe. You know the sort: channellers who babble with the Intergalactic High Command and sundry discarnate beings bearing titles like 'Ascended Master' and 'Enlightened Cosmic Teacher'; or 'crystal-hugging' flakes, and 'spoon-bending con-artists' peddling pseudoscientific pop-psychology. The variations are numerous and such put-downs are mild compared to the warnings issued by those who see in what they call 'New Age' all manner of devilish phenomena disguised in theologically unsound and spiritually dangerous philosophy.
    The problem with all this, putting aside the rampant ignorance and bigotry involved in such judgmental mindsets, is that there is some particularly woolly thinking around the whole notion of the 'New Age'.

    So to get a clear picture, we need to begin at the beginning. The first person talking about the 'New Age' (by implication rather than using the actual phrase) was Jeshua, better known in the modern Christian world as Jesus. He spoke quite clearly on how all things are made new when one is reborn to the world of spirit. One does not wish to enter into a theological debate with Christian dogmatists over this, but such comments about how the world changes when one fundamentally changes one's viewpoint and relationship to it (given that the Kingdom of Heaven, as he put it, lies within) point directly to the 'New World' and the 'New Age' that Jeshua was promising.

    A thousand years later, and there was another round of Apocalyptic thinking, part of which envisioned a New Age after the final victory of good over evil. Indeed, this formulation, putting aside the actual words New Age, has been around in much of Christian thinking since its beginnings. And it is still around today in various versions of Christianity in which some sort of struggle between good and evil culminates in both the Earth and Heaven made new.
    But, for those who are taking a narrower view of what 'New Age thinking' is all about, the 'trouble', if that's what it is, starts overtly in the late 19th century with the Theosophists and some fellow travellers, like Aleister Crowley and his Order of the Golden Dawn.

    The predictions that the end of the 20th century would see a new era in human experience (remember that famous song from the musical Hair, which goes: 'This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius,' complete with 'brotherhood and understanding' and 'mystic crystal revelations') are the focus of both those for and against the notion of 'New Ageism'.T

    he problem for both sides is that they are arguing for and against a nonsensical idea. In short, there is no such thing as 'New Age' religion or philosophy or spirituality or anything else. The reason is that almost everything involved in what is, usually very loosely, called New Age, is neither new nor associated with any particular age, old or new.
    Let me go at this from another direction which might help illustrate what I'm talking about.

    Some years back, Silke, my wife, and I were visiting her parents, then living in Swellendam, over a weekend. Also visiting was an old friend of her parents from their Namibian days, a good and kind fellow who, with his wife, had become very enthusiastic 'born again' Christians of the pentecostal persuasion, following his retirement as a magistrate. This good fellow, concerned no doubt about our less than conventional views (we had had a discussion on the pros and cons of reincarnation and some of the research on Near Death Experiences by Dr Raymond Moody and Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross) subsequently sent us a book meant to warn Christians about the sundry dangers of 'New Age' beliefs and practises. Obviously, from that perspective a discussion on reincarnation was in itself putting our souls at risk, but more interestingly there was a comprehensive list of 'dangerous' practises to be avoided at all costs. These included everything from yoga and Eastern philosophies, through to vegetarianism, homeopathy and herbalism and literally any other complementary health practice in general use, like aromatherapy, acupuncture and reflexology. Even meditation was considered a no-no, despite the long history of its use in contemplative Christianity.

    Actually, the list could have been summarised as 'anything we don't understand or which doesn't fit into what we can be sure is correct from a literalist interpretation of scripture'. Astrology and any form of divinatory system would clearly fall into the category of 'the Devil's works' (not my words).

    On another occasion, and despite pressure from Silke to avoid making anyone feel uncomfortable, I did push this good gentleman who was so concerned for our endangered souls, as to the role of astrology in the Bible, given reference to Babylonian ziggurats and the Three Wise Men who, after all, were obviously astrologers or Magi. (Remember it's only in recent history that astrology and astronomy have become differentiated into two distinct fields of study and belief; previously, and certainly in Jeshua's time, they were one and the same).

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