|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2000
|Enlightenment is the goal of much of new age practice: attaining “higher states of consciousness and existence.” But is the pursuit of enlightenment dangerous?
(from the Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House, 1996)
Info At A Glance:
Description. Enlightenment involves an allegedly higher state of consciousness and existence leading to a potentially profound personal alteration that radically, and often permanently, changes one’s perception of self and the world.
Founder. Unknown, but the goal of seeking alleged enlightenment is a central characteristic of much pagan religion, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism.
How does it claim to work? By various occult practices and disciplines (altered states of consciousness, meditation, magical practice, yoga, and so on) one allegedly realizes the divine or monistic nature of all reality—self, world, universe—and lives in accordance with such a perception.
Scientific evaluation. New Age scientists and other researchers who are attempting to examine “higher or enlightened” states of consciousness are having little success. This research is usually conducted through the disciplines of parapsychology and New Age consciousness studies.
Examples of occult potential. Psychic development, spirit contact, or possession.
Major problem. The goal of occult enlightenment is not merely a new perspective; it is usually to destroy and replace the old personality and consciousness with a radically new level of being. Unfortunately, that which is alleged to be a higher state of existence is usually a state of spiritistic manipulation of consciousness or actual spirit possession. It is not an advanced spiritual state, but one that is primitive and regressive, and consequentially results in bondage to spiritistic powers.
Biblical/Christian evaluation. Enlightenment is a phenomenon stressing the need for occult practice, the acceptance of psychic development, the experiential realization of occult philosophy (e.g. pantheism), and it has traditional associations to spiritism. As such, seeking a state of New Age enlightenment is prohibited biblically.
Potential dangers. Occult bondage, demonization.