The Broad Road to Destruction
|By: Dave Hunt; ©2003
|Psychology professor Charles Tart explains the basis of the new spirituality better than anyone. In the clearest terms he says that it represents a rejection of the Bible and of biblical Christianity. Why, then, are so many Christians, or those who call themselves Christians, embracing these ideas?
The Broad Road to Destruction
No one explains the basis of the new spirituality better than psychology professor Charles Tart. He lets us know in the clearest terms that it represents a rejection of the Bible and of biblical Christianity. The new spirituality is based entirely upon one’s personal experience in an altered state of consciousness. No criteria can be used to evaluate whether such experiences are real; but reality is defined by the experience itself. Says Tart:
- When you believe a prescribed doctrine, you tend to become rigid, and rigidity is hard to hold onto in a world where change is the norm. So what the spiritual psychologies offer people is a chance to explore the transpersonal realm for themselves. People can directly experience themselves as entities connected with the universe. That’s a lot to offer….
- The notion that science or psychology can make such a distinction [between a genuine spiritual experience and a bogus, self-delusionary one] doesn’t hold up very well,… Lots of techniques exist throughout the world for inducing religious experiences—from fasting, to meditation, to dance…. Perhaps transpersonal psychology can increase the efficiency of progress on the spiritual path….
- I… advise people to shop around [for a suitable technique]. To just “jump in” and get totally involved with the first or second path you find could be dangerous, if not wasteful. But don’t shop around casually. Give some energy to a particular path. Give it a month or two to see where a given practice is leading you…. When you find a spiritual path with real heart for you, you might think of making a commitment to it. See where it leads you….
- I’m hoping that the study of transpersonal psychology will gradually give rise to spiritual practices that are more effective and less cluttered with outdated cultural baggage. Then people can embark on the spiritual path without risking their mental health, or having serious problems during their journey.
Amazing! Here is an intelligent, highly educated, and sophisticated man, a university professor, who advocates taking a “spiritual path” that could go anywhere or nowhere, which he admits could be dangerous and which science and psychology can’t evaluate. “See where it leads you,” he suggests, ignoring the possibility that one could find out too late that it leads, in fact, to eternal destruction. Of course, he doesn’t believe in heaven or hell. All that matters is how it suits one’s fancy.
Such a mentality is the basis of the new spirituality: the idea that there is no truth, no right or wrong, just “experience.” This delusion comes from Eastern mysticism and is gaining increasing acceptability and credibility in the West
A Tragic Rejection of the Truth
This embrace of an “anything goes” spirituality has been in process for some time. Going back to August 1987, the annual conference of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology was titled “Spirit in Action.” Pittsburgh psychologist Jon Spiegel, writing in the Association for Humanistic Psychology (AHP) Newsletter, declared, “AHP has always held spiritual concerns close to its heart… [remaining] open to spiritual practices both east and west We have championed the return of spirit to therapy.”
One can only wonder what humanists mean by spirit, spiritual concerns, and spiritualpractices. In fact, they are willing to accept almost any “spirituality”—Buddhism, Hinduism, witchcraft, or any form of shamanism. There is one “spirituality,” however, which is not acceptable, and that is Christianity. Why? Because it claims to be the truth, a claim that is intolerable for those who must remain open to anything—except, of course, Christianity.
The new spirituality maintains that “right” is what is “right for you,” which may be different from what is “right for me.” But that doesn’t matter because we’re both “right” in our own way. Truth is whatever one chooses to believe because the source of truth lies within each of us.
The new respectability given to the occult in the 1990s reflects at least in part an upsurge in interest in religion. The nation’s Christian bookstores, numbering more than 2500, had about 3 billion dollars in sales in 1995, three times the total in 1980. Nor do Christian books any longer come exclusively from religious presses as they did a few years earlier, but many now come from the large secular publishers. Early in 1997 the Lily Foundation gave a 5-million-dollar grant to WNET-TV, New York’s public television station, to produce 39 weekly half-hour feature programs about religion and ethics to premiere in the summer of 1997. “Religion Newsweekly,” as the program was to be called, “will cover a variety of religious viewpoints and… will not ‘proselytize’ for any particular religion….”
Once again there is no right and wrong, no truth. One religion is as good as another. Yet the many important contradictions between religions render that view impossible.
Common sense cannot refrain from protest. This “truth doesn’t exist” or “it doesn’t matter” approach would be disastrous if it were adopted in real life. Imagine an airline pilot practicing that philosophy. He certainly wouldn’t reach his intended destination, nor would he and his passengers live very long. Then why should intelligent people imagine that just any road will lead to heaven? Wouldn’t the God who has imposed such definite laws on the physical universe (without which there could be no science) have equally definite moral and spiritual standards as well?
“Spiritual” Is Where You Find It
Phil Jackson considers basketball to be a very “spiritual” pursuit. He writes of the “link between spirit and sports.” By “spirit” or “spiritual” he obviously means something entirely different from biblical Christianity. And his new spirituality with its new acceptability by the world has opened up to him seemingly infinite possibilities that have liberated him from the narrow-mindedness of his youthful upbringing.
Jackson acknowledges that there is a spiritual dimension to existence. He has experienced it, and it works, even to the extent of producing championship basketball teams! No longer, however, is true spirituality defined by the Bible. The very concept of something being true and something else false has been discarded. Spirituality, for Jackson, is a vast realm to be explored and experienced. He refers to “my two greatest passions: basketball and spiritual exploration.”
Yes, exploration! What possibilities that thought opens for wandering wide-eyed through exotic landscapes along a variety of paths made possible through the rejection of the Bible as God’s Word and infallible guide! And who cares where one path or another may lead? The excitement is in the discovery. All that matters is the experience of limitless exploration.
This new respectability which the world grants to a generic spirituality (so long as it isn’t Christianity) has allowed Phil Jackson (like multitudes of others) to reject what he thinks is Christianity without any sense of guilt. His embrace of all religions has clouded any understanding he may ever have had of Christianity.
Jackson equates faith in oneself with faith in God. In the occult we are each god. Declaring that the Bulls “certainly had faith in themselves in 1991-92,” he writes, “You have to trust your inner knowing.” Amazingly, he confuses one’s inner knowing with “what St. Paul called faith: ‘the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’ (Heb. 11:1).”
On the contrary, Paul specifically said that he had no confidence in himself or in anyone else (Philippians 3:3). Repeatedly the Bible warns against trusting in any man, including one’s own self. Solomon wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Jeremiah warned, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man … and whose heart departeth from the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:5). Jesus said, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22).
A Serious Delusion
Jackson has been able to convince himself that he hasn’t really rejected Christianity; he has simply broadened his horizons to realize that the Bible is only one of many religious books, all of which he treats with equal respect. Thus he can rationalize that he has actually become more spiritual through embracing all spirituality, including Native American spirituality and Zen Buddhism and Hindu concepts, together with anything else that seems to work. He writes with no sense of irony:
- The day I took over the Bulls, I vowed to create an environment based on the principles of selflessness and compassion I’d learned as a Christian in my parents’ home; sitting on a cushion practicing Zen; and studying the teachings of the Lakota Sioux,…
- Even for those who don’t consider themselves “spiritual” in a conventional sense, creating a successful team—whether it’s an NBA champion or a record-setting sales force— is essentially a spiritual act.
The greatest example of “selflessness and compassion” he could have learned from his parents was Christ’s giving of Himself on the cross to die for our sins—but Jackson has rejected Christ for Zen and Native American spirituality. Phil Jackson’s new spirituality is completely at odds with the Christianity he once espoused, as are the Native American spirituality, Zen Buddhism, Eastern meditation, and other religions to which he is now “open.”
Jackson is not alone in his trashing of Christianity. He is joined not only by other NBA coaches such as Pat Riley, but by many pastors and seminary professors. A London, England, newspaper noted, “Liberal Anglican and Catholic clergy will today address a meeting of pagans and witches in an attempt to establish ‘common ground.’” The Salem, Massachusetts Religious Leaders Association “officially welcomed a high priest witch to its ranks. An Episcopal priest said nobody in the interfaith clergy group could think of any compelling reason to exclude the witch.”
- Charles Tart, Science of Mind, December 1986, pp. 81-88.
- Jon Spiegel, “AHP Leadership in the Profession,” Association for Humanistic Psychology Newsletter, February 1984, p. 22.
- The Bulletin, Bend, OR, March 7, 1997, p. A-10.
- Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty, Sacred Hoops (Hyperion, 1995), p. 3.
- Daily Telegram (London), October 1, 1994.
- The Christian News, December 25, 1994, citing Calvary Contender, October 1, 1993.