New Age Education

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2001
A quick look at what is meant by the term “new age education,” and some of the potential dangers to students who are exposed.

New Age Education

(from Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House, 1996)

INFO AT A GLANCE

Description. Transpersonal or “New Age” education (the terms are not necessarily equiva­lent) incorporates spiritual methods into children’s learning that are characteristically based on Eastern mysticism and certain aspects of occult practice. Various forms of transpersonal and humanistic psychology may also be advocated.

Founder. None per se. Transpersonal education seems to have developed as a result of 1)the terrible crises in modern education, which has opened the doors to experimentationwith new methods, and 2) the revival of Eastern and occult practices in American culture.

How does it claim to work? Transpersonal educators claim that their methods will im­prove the children’s self-esteem, their learning abilities and potential, and, among other things, expand their horizons and help them become better citizens of a global commu­nity.

Scientific evaluation. Subject to interpretation. In some areas of research (e.g., humanis­tic education) a good deal of work has been done. However, this must be evaluated carefully from a biblical perspective to understand both the reasons for and implication of favorable outcomes. Teaching or counseling children by means of Eastern or occult practices and psychotherapeutic or humanistic methods may “work,” but in what manner and at what cost spiritually?

Examples of occult potential. It appears that a large number of different Eastern religious and occult methods are utilized throughout New Age education.

Major problems. 1) The promotion of religion in the public school classroom is a violation of federal law; 2) the disguising of religious methods and beliefs under secular or neutral terminology; 5) the use of unsubstantiated and inappropriate psychotherapeutic methods is a violation of the Hatch Amendment; 4) self-esteem programs, values clarification methods, affective education, and related trends are either ineffective, morally bankrupt, or potentially harmful.

Biblical/Christian evaluation: Educational philosophies or methods based on Eastern or occult philosophy, or inappropriate psychotherapeutic methods, are to be avoided.

Potential dangers: Emotional or spiritual harm may come to the child through the use of either questionable psychotherapeutic techniques or Eastern or occult practices.

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