New Age Spirituality (NAS) is arguably a bigger challenge to Christian theism than is atheism, or at least any other worldview in the west today. Atheism remains a relatively small minority in adherents while NAS is clearly growing in acceptance (I outline several reasons why). However, I believe that its concept of God is logically incoherent.
NAS is hard to define since it incorporates so many different beliefs (beliefs that held that God is in everything, all things are one, that man is God, that mind creates reality etc.) expressed via diverse activities like breathing exercises, yoga, diet, crystals, channeling etc. However, I find that its attempt to incorporate various beliefs concerning the nature of God to be a clear case of wishful thinking. In other words, they simply create a god of their liking, not a God that out of his (or its) own will and authority has chosen to reveal himself to man. The New Ager believes that God is not distinct from creation, but that God is creation. Yet I can’t help but wonder as to how he knows this? How does he know such a truth when he recognizes no source of authority? And since the New Ager believes God is an impersonal force, then how does he actually come to that conclusion? Did God (who is defined as an impersonal force) tell him or reveal such a truth to him? This does make NAS seem to be based on wishful thinking. It is further not too difficult to realize that created gods are by definition a delusion since they do not exist other than in the mind of the believer.
But there’s a further issue. The New Age spiritualist also believes that that all paths lead to God. But that seems to be a problem since “my path” (the Christian path) claims to be exclusive and thus claims to be the exact opposite (John 14:6). The same applies to many other religions that claim to be the path to God such as Islam (which says that Allah is the one true God and that Muhammad is his prophet), Judaism and so on. So in other words if my path to finding God claims to be exclusive then does that not at least negate the New Ager’s belief and claim that “all paths lead to God?” So, if the New Age spiritualist attacks my belief system for either being intolerant or narrow-minded is he then not actually defeating his own belief system?
The New Age spiritualist also holds that truth is relative and not objective. But as I have already pointed out this view is self-defeating. One of the most widely known of New Age proponents Shirley MacLaine claims that objective truth does not exist, “Perhaps everyone has his own truth, and truth as an objective reality simply does not exist” (1). Not only does her claim sound unsure (“perhaps“) but her statement is also entirely self-defeating since MacLaine’s claim that “everyone has his own truth” is to make an objective claim about the nature of truth (of which she even denies exists). But if she denies that objective truth exists then why should I believe the New Age claim that “all paths lead to God” or that “God and man are one”? Or that there is some “state of higher consciousness” that we all should try and reach? How can the New Ager affirm a set of objective truths on the one hand yet deny that objective truth exists on the other?
At least for these three reasons I find NAS to be logically incoherent. I believe that the New Age spiritualist is simply borrowing a concept of God from eastern philosophies of which he then applies to his own concept of God. At the end of the process you simply get a created god and not a God, who by his own will, chose to reveal himself to mankind. I also think that in its attempt at being overly tolerant, of clearly incompatible worldviews, the New Ager runs aground in his claim that all paths lead to God. However, many of those paths are exclusive and deny that they are compatible with competing paths and thus it cannot be true that all paths lead to God.
1. MacLaine, S. The Old Age New Age. Available.