Christians face an important challenge from the New Age Movement, which is already leaving its mark on large parts of our culture as well as our population. Furthermore, it has penetrated the churches in several ways.
Christianity and the New Age have very different views about the meaning of life. Here we list the significant differences:
New Age is a feel good religion whose goal is human improvement. It is about using religion to improve one's quality of life.
Christianity is first of all a do good religion, for the center and aim is the love of God and one's fellow human beings. It is not true that one necessarily does good when one feels good. The person who is suffering and in need often have more appreciation of other people's sufferings that those who have first rate quality of life.
In New Age movements, one generally remains a mere spectator of life. The point is not to be carried away by anything, but to stay "cool." One must be a spectator and observer in order to feel good; otherwise the evil and the sufferings of the world reduce one's quality of life.
Christianity does not dissociate itself from suffering; faith involves suffering, following Jesus' example. Christianity knows about active compassion, not just passive sympathy.
New Age originating from Hinduism regards reality as a film, which has already been produced. If you do not like it, you can turn it off, but you cannot change it. You turn it off via Yoga.
Christianity regards life as an improvisation. We do not know much about what will happen, but our aim is to make the play succeed together with our fellow players. We are also familiar with the red thread of the play, for we have a rough manuscript to follow, the Bible!
Large parts of New Age depends on masters and gurus who presumable have become divine creatures, just as New Age adherents presume to be able to "go divine." The dream of divinity characterizes the New Age movement in general.
Christianity has its feet on the ground and depends on God. It tries to be faithful to both earth and heaven, because God himself came to the earth and "became flesh." When God has become a human being, man does not need to play god. God is among us and gives us his Word. Therefore, we see no need to become gods through speculation or meditation.
New Age is more or less characterized by the karmic thinking—that everybody has made himself what he is. If a person is unsuccessful, he alone is to blame for he reaps what he has sown in previous lives: karma. And the successful person is indebted to nobody for he has created his own fortune in his previous lives.
Christianity knows that it is important to act now, for what is sown in this life we shall reap on the Day of Judgment, when all is set right by Christ as the Judge of the World. But Christians also know that when our sentence is pronounced we are in an extremely advantageous position, for the judge is also the counsel for the defense.
New Age karma teaching involves a deterministic attitude to life. All has largely been predetermined, and you can learn about it through astrology, through palm reading, and other similar methods. The issue of one's fate often results in a peculiar kind of religiosity, where the feeling of uncleanness becomes dominant, requiring continuous cleaning.
Christianity also aims at fighting uncleanness, but finds the roots of it in the evil and original sin. Human greed is the problem. The issues of guilt and shame are dealt with by God's forgiveness witnessed to by the Church.
On the ultimate horizon, most New Age members believe they have experienced a number of lives and deaths, the so-called Transmigration or Reincarnation of Souls. Eternally, man shall die and live. . . he will never be able to be saved unless he pulls himself up by his boot-straps through good karma. Actually, good karma does not lead to salvation, for all karma binds you to the wheel of rebirth, and good karma binds you even more than bad karma. The only way out is yoga which burns up all karma.
Christianity realizes that reincarnation is leading nowhere, and that it is self-delusion. On the other hand, there is one way that leads to deliverance: God's salvation in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, so that we can participate in the Kingdom of God and Christ will lead us through death to eternal life and resurrection. This is the good news which breaks the cycle of reincarnation.