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New Age, what is it? --some definitions

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  • New Age, what is it? --some definitions

    New Age (New Age Movement and New Age Spirituality) is a social collective phenomenon and a spiritual nature movement that seeks universal truth through the oneness of humanity. It combines aspects of spirituality, cosmology, esotericism, complementary and alternative medicine, various religious practices, and environmentalism. It is characterized by an eclectic and individual approach to spirituality with a general rejection of mainstream dogma and religion.

    The term New Age refers to the coming Astrological Age of Aquarius.

    The New Age Movement first appeared in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, gained momentum in the 1960s and 1970s, strengthened in the 1980s, and organized with the Harmonic Convergence in 1987. New Age practices and philosophies are found among many diverse individuals from around the world and range from atheism and monotheism to classical pantheism, including naturalistic pantheism or panentheism.

    The New Age Movement includes elements of older spiritual and religious traditions combined with science, particularly ecology, environmentalism, the Gaia hypothesis, and psychology. New Age practices and philosophies sometimes draw inspiration from major world religions: Buddhism, Chinese folk religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and Sufism; with particularly strong influences from East Asian religions, Gnosticism, Neopaganism, New Thought, Spiritualism, Universalism, and Western esotericism.

    New Age spirituality has led to a wide array of literature on the subject and an active niche market: books, New Age music, crafts, and services in alternative medicine are available at New Age stores, fairs, and festivals.

    Additional phrases are used to describe The New Age Movement: Self Spirituality, New Spirituality, Mind-Body-Spirit, Cultural Creative, Everyone Is Equal, New Paradigm, and All Is One. --- also see here for more details
    And a list of topics commonly associated with New Age:
    The New Age Movement is in a class by itself. Unlike most formal religions, it has no holy text, central organization, membership, formal clergy, geographic center, dogma, creed, etc. They often use mutually exclusive definitions for some of their terms. The New Age is in fact a free-flowing spiritual movement; a network of believers and practitioners who share somewhat similar beliefs and practices, which they add on to whichever formal religion that they follow. Their book publishers take the place of a central organization; seminars, conventions, books and informal groups replace of sermons and religious services.

    An umbrella term for a wide range of personal and individual beliefs and practices influenced primarily by Eastern religions, paganism, and spiritism.

    • Belief in Deity
    God is the impersonal life force, consciousness, ultimate truth and reality, the incorporeal, formless cosmic order personified within all people and matter. God is all and all are God.

    • Incarnations
    Most believe there are no particular incarnations to worship, as all in the universe are embodiments of God.

    • Origin of Universe and Life
    The universe, life, and matter were not created by God but "are" God. The universe and life emerged out of the creative power of the eternal universal life force.

    • After Death
    Some believe in continual rebirth--no death--as life is spirit. Some believe that our souls rest for a time before deciding on a new body (or bodies). Heaven and hell are states of consciousness, self-imposed, due to ignorance of God as all.

    • Why Evil?
    No original sin, no Satan, and no evil. Most believe people make "mistakes" when they are ignorant of the power of goodness, which is God, within themselves and others. Some believe evil is perpetuated through accumulation of past-life wrongs and spiritual ignorance.

    • Salvation
    Salvation lies in the realization of oneness with the impersonal life force. Awareness can be heightened through methods that induce altered states of consciousness, e.g., hypnosis, meditation, music, drugs. Spiritual "tools" include crystals, tarot cards, amulets, channeling, fortunetellers and psychics. Some believe the salvation of humanity will occur when a critical mass is reached, when people converge in experiencing their oneness with God and with each other. This will bring a New World Order or new Planetary Order, resulting in oneness of civilization and one-world government, peace, and harmony.

    • Undeserved Suffering
    Suffering is the result of greed, hatred, and spiritual ignorance in a person's, or humanity's, past lifetimes, which returns as suffering (karma). Suffering is sometimes viewed as occurring for a specific purpose, to further spiritual growth and learn a life lesson. Suffering is also seen as illusory, in that it results from attachment to bodily pleasure and pain, and only the universal life force within, God, truly exists.

    • Contemporary Issues
    Abortion is not condemned, as there is no official doctrine. Generally, adherents are supportive of a woman's right to choose abortion.


    Beliefnet Presents a Comprehensive Look at New Agers: Beliefs and practices
    More to be added...