Debate and Discussion

New Age religions.
kyupol at 9:56PM, Jan. 11, 2008
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Ive noticed their fragmented nature. Its like the insurgent factions in Iraq and Afghanistan with no big central unifying leader like the Pope who is the head of all Catholics… or the Muslim imams who control large regions of following

Theyre in to things like:
- meditation (similar to yoga)
- crystals
- channeling - sometimes they channel spirits, other variants claim to channel aliens or interdimensional entities.

- doctrines are similar to Christianity in some cases. The name of Jesus is often mentioned while implying that humans too can ascend to the level of Jesus. And that Jesus just happened to be a more spiritually evolved and awakened human that is why he was able to do miracles and rise from the dead and ascend into heaven.

- different groups tend to contradict themselves. There are groups that spend their time dissing organized religion as well as science. But there are others that spend more on the positive things like meditation and philosophy discussion.


What do you think of them?
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
ozoneocean at 10:15PM, Jan. 11, 2008
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It's a plot by the reptiloids.

Wait a sec…? This is in the Debate section? Oh jeez… Sorry. Ok.

Well people believe what they want to believe. As long as they're happy and don't do anything illegal, it's ok. :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
lothar at 3:08AM, Jan. 12, 2008
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all religions are wrong !!! unless they worship the sweet planet Earth that is our mother and the only thing worth praise !!1
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
DAJB at 4:14AM, Jan. 12, 2008
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Every religion was a “new age” religion once.

And most of them are still fragmented!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
StaceyMontgomery at 5:29AM, Jan. 12, 2008
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Given that Madame Blavatsky launched the “New Age Religions” with her circle in the late 1800s, they don't seem so new to me anymore. The Nineteenth Century is not NEW!

And while you can say that each New Age religion is unique, they all sound just like Blavatsky's work to me. I cannot tell them apart.

And they all turn out to be pretty nasty. “New Age” thinking is almost always based on a “blame the victim” approach to the world (It's your fault you have cancer!). They generally conceal a nasty streak of aryanist-style racism if you dig a little (no, white people did not come from Atlantis, and no, you are not “more evolved” than your neighbors). Lately, they seem especially hideous about appropriating the cultures of others - I've met more caucasian “Shamans” then I can shake a stick at - it's just embarrassing.

Religion can have many nasty elements - but one I especially despise is the “You are special! You are better than the other humans!” tone, and it is the very heart of new Age thinking.

I would love to say “I will not miss them when they are gone” but Blavatsky's ideas are viral and a big success - the “New Age” is going to last forever, alas.


edited for typos
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
ozoneocean at 7:06AM, Jan. 12, 2008
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Stacey, that's pretty much true about the new-agers, but most established religions do that stuff as well. …although, the appropriation there usually happened about 1000, 2000, or even 4000 years ago or more, so that doesn't count as much ^_^

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
CharleyHorse at 8:23AM, Jan. 12, 2008
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As we all know religion is a sticky wicket issue anyway and New Age religions are all over the place regarding methodologies of being physically or mentally or spiritually healthy and/or ascending achieving enlightenment. Did I leave anything out?

A comparative religion course I helped a student get through a few years ago pointed out that all large, stable, and robust religions share in common something very much like the Jewish/Christian Ten Commandments without exception as part of their core foundation in how to treat and interact with one's fellow human beings. I thought that was an interesting eye-opener.

Although not much of a Taoist, I probably come nearest on these boards to being classified as a New Age Religion participant; although, frankly, I think a great deal of Taoist enlightenment practices are bunk. This does not make me correct, mind you. It probably simply indicates that my background in various technological disciplines has contaminated my thinking.

But as to miracles, I pretty much dismiss the concept – regardless of the religion - as well-intentioned myths or outright hoaxes, this though I've personally witnessed a few unexplained or unexplainable phenomenon over the years. That where my technologist's background comes into play in that I believe that just because something is currently a mystery this does not mean that it will always be a mystery to the examining eyes of science.

To return to the point, whatever works to get your through the day and live a fulfilling life, as long as it does not cause deliberate harm to innocents, is okay in my book. I have no problem with the practitioners taking a religion seriously and I certainly have no problem with Caucasians becoming shamans as ‘someone has got to do it’ does apply in this case. This means that without intense interest from perhaps somewhat gormless Caucasian truth seekers with more money and time on their hands than perhaps an overabundance of sense shamanism might actually have vanished from the earth, taking the last of its rituals and secrets with the final breath of the last Native American practitioner.

Similarly a great deal of communist China's rediscovery of ‘ancient Chinese secrets’ such as acupuncture and the myriad forms of kung-fu owes some of its revitalization and new-found tolerance by the government to the fact that eager and romantic-minded westerners so desperately wanted to learn about and perhaps practice these ‘secrets’. So I neither sneer at wide-eyed and eager minded and unquestioning Caucasian seekers after the ‘truth’ to be found in other cultures nor dismiss their positive impact on the same. Mind you, I did used to do just that where they were concerned, even coining a term, for instance, for wannabe martial artists approaching the study of their particular style as if it were a religion and the only truth-holding religion on earth, with nothing about it to be questioned; I used to call these types Mystic Ducks. I can't now recall how or why I thought the term appropriate. Funny that, eh?

Only two things sometimes prevent these wide-eyed and generally gormless westerners from actually achieving their quest; the first is impatience and the second is failing to attach themselves to the correct teacher/instructor/sage. If, however, said seeker after the ‘truth’ has the patience and the correct teacher, then eventually the old man or woman will knock enough of the romantic notions out of the well-meaning student to actually get the person to learn something useful. After that point is reached then the sky is the limit. In other words there CAN be legitimate Caucasian Taoist priests and even abbots as well as Shaman and Buddhist monks capable of legitimately teaching others the genuine and traditional knowledge. Of course this seldom happens.

More often than not the Caucasian truth seeker becomes bored or terminally frustrated or so disillusioned – as the truth is not always pleasant and it is seldom romantic in nature - that he or she simply quits and goes onto the next brand of enlightenment and then generally commits precisely the same errors OR he or she THINKS that he has learned enough to break away, ‘refine’ what he has learned, and go on to try and teach his own hybrid form of the ‘truth.’ This, then, is when things can get truly weird in both religion and even philosophy.

I, for instance, am one of those bored and arrogant truth seekers that ultimately decided to hell with it all and began treating Taoism as a pure philosophy rather than a religion and actually have been quite happy having done so. To my credit though, I've never tried to teach my own brand of Taoism to others. Martial arts, yes, Taoism, no.

So it goes.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
ozoneocean at 9:13AM, Jan. 12, 2008
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Heh, Charely, I actually read all of that ^^
I like the twist at the end where you identify yourself as one of the gormless romantics :)

Many of the older religions had codes of conduct because of what religious started out as: systems of government, knowledge collection,etc.

And that's an interesting point. The new agers simply fake that stuff. They piggyback on the history, make up the rest and then go for it! :)

But the role of religion has changed a bit… Many gormless people these days think that all it was ever about was the belief, they have NO conception of the solid central role it had in the cohesion and organisation of early human communities throughout the millennia. But, as I say, the role has changed. Obviously the social role is still well in place, but the “spiritual” and “belief” aspects have been separated from the social one somewhat. And that's important, because in terms of spirituality and belief, all “religions” are ostensibly equal.

-that gives the New agers their inroad. They're seen as a nicer, newer, cleaner alternative, without the historical baggage.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
CharleyHorse at 12:54PM, Jan. 12, 2008
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Well said Ozoneocean. I'm trying to recall the Roman citizen/religious philosopher that tweaked Christianity enough to make it acceptable as a warrior's/soldier's/conquer's religion, thus ultimately dooming the old Roman/Greek belief in polytheism. The stupid thing is that this fellow is so famous and became a saint and is intensely studied by theologists that my forgetting his name is similar to forgetting the name of Abraham Lincoln in the list of important U.S. presidents.

Ah well, it will come to me sooner or later. This fellow and his theological work, however, fits nicely in with your explanation as he put the war-teeth in Christianity making it virile enough to legitimize any ruler's decision to invade another nation and wage war. In fact, had the fellow not worked his theological magic Christianity might ultimately died out, because nations must have a core religious doctrine that permits and even encourages warfare, even if it uses weasel words and tricky slick justifications so to do. Otherwise that nation will ultimately fall to a stronger, more aggressive nation - at least this was true way back when.

Thus Christianity became the religion of conquers and empires as well as that of the average peace loving individual, and all without any internal, logical self conflicts among its theologists and practitioners. Cool beans!

To tie this in more closely to your point, though, I want to specify Catholicism here. It's formal and stately and somewhat mysterious rituals perfectly mirror and fit in with the equally formal and stately and somewhat mysterious rituals of the older and more obscure British and European governmental rituals, and particularly any of them still retaining any trappings of monarchies or the rituals that came from such rule.

There is more than one reason why the Christian in general and Catholic in particular priests look somewhat like they are formally attending a king during worship services, and this is because in centuries past such actions did occur – well that and because technically Jesus Christ is the king of the Earth itself according to cant.

Old religions do evolve and rituals that were once fraught with practical meanings having to do with government service or other service eventually becomes just ritual itself. I'm certain that Chinese Buddhism and Taoism also have some of the same since they were also at various times the religion of choice of various emperors, hence by tradition the required religion of their court and its followers - or else.

Nonetheless, it's all good as long as it is done from a well-meaning standpoint and is harmless to innocents. I'm fairly cool where religion and religious differences are concerned.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
RabbitMaster at 6:42AM, Jan. 14, 2008
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StaceyMontgomery
And while you can say that each New Age religion is unique, they all sound just like Blavatsky's work to me. I cannot tell them apart.
That is surpisingly insightful.

“Perhaps you would care to try your villany on a less defenseless opponent?”–Kung Fu Rabbit
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:57PM
kingofsnake at 9:24AM, Jan. 14, 2008
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One of my comics employs a poly-religious background, including a character who is very much into New Age religion. Although she hasn't been developed yet I've done some research on the subject. I find New Age and earth mother religions a little hilarious. They employ alot of persuasive language like “everyone knows that…” and “It's a commonly known fact that…” and then continue onto statements that are neither factual or popular as the preceding statements would suggest. I understand why people who are suggestable would be intrigued by them. But as someone who's spent a great deal of time studing both the english language and theoretical debate, both philosophical and theological, their tactics are pretty blatant and self-serving.

I think of all religions Judaism is the best at engaging it's followers in intelligent debate. They're taught from a young age to constantly be asking questions. Not just accepting the Torah as the word of God, but to ask WHY it is so important, and what the ideas presented in it mean on both a grand scale and a more personal level. New Age thought generally is based on a false foundation and uses rhetoric to persuade people into following mindlessly.

As a writer it is gold in as far as material for both comedy and tragedy.

Someone
I'm trying to recall the Roman citizen/religious philosopher that tweaked Christianity enough to make it acceptable as a warrior's/soldier's/conquer's religion, thus ultimately dooming the old Roman/Greek belief in polytheism
Constantine. He was the emperor who adopted Catholicism as the official religion of the Roman Empire, and in doing so maintained alot of the popular aspects and celebrations of the Greco-Roman pagans in order to smooth the transition for the population. Worst thing that ever happened to Catholicism if you ask me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
Phantom Penguin at 10:18AM, Jan. 14, 2008
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They are just as valid as mainstream religions. They to, make no sense whatsoever. If people want to follow them, they will.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
RabbitMaster at 12:06PM, Jan. 15, 2008
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I beleive they all have common themes since they all have a common source.

“Perhaps you would care to try your villany on a less defenseless opponent?”–Kung Fu Rabbit
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:57PM
Warpedwenger at 8:16PM, Jan. 15, 2008
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I dont know… Ive never been religious but I friend of mine became really religious about a year ago. He was miserable in life but now hes happy. I guess alot of people need that in their life whatever they believe.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:46PM
cartoonprofessor at 7:04PM, Feb. 3, 2008
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People tend to join a religion to feel like they ‘belong’ to something larger and more important than their own lives, particularly in these isolationist modern times.

In times of yor people belonged to their village… everyone knew everyone else and all had a sense of place.

These days even families often live many miles apart, the villages are huge with many thousands, sometimes millions of people. Ironically, people are feeling more and more alone and isolated amongst the multitudes.

This is why TV shows gain cult status… lonely people feel they know Seinfeld, etc, and thus belong to the environment their fav shows exist in.

“New-Age” religions simply made people feel they belong to something special, different, and thus more important than traditional groups. (I say ‘made’ because the movement was huge back in the early nineties)

Much good came out of the movement, people gained much knowledge from it. I know personally I grew a great deal by participating.

Most new-agers are comparatively very open-minded and accepting. Very few say their particular path is the only answer for everybody, most understand there are many paths, each as valid as the next.

Yeah sure, there are many people, mostly white, from the Wannabee Tribe… people who have taken various elements from the cultures of native peoples, but when these elements are positive and enable people to live a more accepting, less damaging (to themselves and the environment) life, good luck to them.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
cartoonprofessor at 7:13PM, Feb. 3, 2008
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Oh, and to call new age religions a ‘religion’ would actually offend many new-agers. Most people looked into these ‘new’ philosophies because they were sick of religion.

True new-agers choose not to lable themselves or others, believing each person is on their own individual path, finding their own answers and living their own truths.

They appear “fragmented” because what they do is take bits of knowledge from various traditions and sources and form their own, individual concept of the world they live in.

By classifying new-agers as a religion you may as well classify everybody who lives in the US as a white, right-wing, capitalist.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
StaceyMontgomery at 9:12AM, Feb. 4, 2008
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My dictionary defines religion as: “Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.”

I think that reasonably includes the “New Age” schools I have encountered. They do generally believe in and revere supernatural forces that they see as governing the Universe. So I think it's a fair use of the word.

And again, I have to say that the “New Age” does not look all that fragmented to me. In fact, when we say “New Age” we all have a pretty good idea of what we are talking about. If they were really fragmented, then we would have trouble lumping them together in our minds. But we do not.

It is true that New Agers tend to pick and choose details from many sources as they find their personal paths - but to be honest, when they are done, these “individual” paths turn out to look, well, rather the same.

If your path takes you into a totally new place, then it won't look like new Age religion at all - and we'll likely use a different word for it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
ozoneocean at 9:34AM, Feb. 4, 2008
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Stacey, that's a modern defintion that makes no account for the historical legacy of established religions and everything that they were and are… heh, it's probably designed that way specifically TO include the new agers. Yeah, it's a poor definition really, but you have to become more general like that with the more dissimilar things you try to cover with the same description. :/
kingofsnake
Constantine. He was the emperor who adopted Catholicism as the official religion of the Roman Empire, and in doing so maintained a lot of the popular aspects and celebrations of the Greco-Roman pagans in order to smooth the transition for the population. Worst thing that ever happened to Catholicism if you ask me.
Catholicism? What? Constantine had his seat in Byzantium, home of what became Greek Orthodoxy.

No, better to say simply “Christianity”, because it wasn't such a fractured movement back then and the use of the word Catholicism is currently used to address only a part of modern Christianity, whereas Constantine had a role central to quite a lot more than that. ;)

And ALL religions retained parts of the earlier belief systems they superseded, just like all other cultural movements and social institutions- language, law, art, architecture, taste in foods even… There's nothing unfortunate, impure, strange or cynical about it, it's simply enriching. Example; what most people know as Buddhism today bears little resemblance to what came from India/Afghanistan originally.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
UltimaXG2 at 8:51PM, Feb. 4, 2008
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I'm not really a religious guy, so I don't think much about religion. As long as none of the new religions wind up being hategroups in disguise (Westboro Baptisst, cough), I'm OK with them… So long as nobody tries to convert me in the middle of dinner… Most new-age religions are for people craving attention, namely scientology. All the deep, philosophical stuff that's really important, not too many people seem to pay attention to. If people didn't have a need to be out-standing, then there probably wouldn't be any religion, and then who would we laugh at? Okay, maybe that's going a bit far. The religious can give us hope of an afterlife…
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last edited on July 14, 2011 4:36PM
Dockworker at 11:55AM, Feb. 7, 2008
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CharleyHorse
I'm trying to recall the Roman citizen/religious philosopher that tweaked Christianity enough to make it acceptable as a warrior's/soldier's/conquer's religion, thus ultimately dooming the old Roman/Greek belief in polytheism.

I could be wrong, after all I'm not catholic; but was that St. Boniface? I was once told some stories about that saint that sound alot like what you're describing, but I can't find any sources to back it up.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:12PM

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