The New Age: An Emerging Worldview in Society – Program 1

By: Brooks Alexander, Dave Hunt, Tal Brooke; ©1988
Are we all part of the universe? Are we all God? Or part of God? Some people are having experiences that are leading them to those conclusions.

What is the New Age Movement?

Ankerberg: Welcome! As we are doing this program tonight, Time magazine has come out with an article on the New Age. And it says, “Starring Shirley MacLaine, Faith Healers, Channelers, Space Travelers and Crystals Galore!” Have you ever wondered what’s going on? What this New Age is all about? What they’re talking about? Why are people wearing these crystals around their neck, and why do they have them in their homes? And what are these pyramids? Why is it that United Airlines trains their staff, their steward­esses and so on in New Age techniques? What kind of techniques? And why is it that we have 2,500 New Age bookstores that are in business around the country? And why is it that the Grammys now have a New Age award in music? And why is it that in the movies in “E.T.” and “Star Wars” you have New Age themes? And why is it that IBM trains some of their managers in top positions in New Age techniques for busi­ness? And our oil companies train their men in the same thing. What is the “New Age”? And that’s what we’re going to talk about tonight. Brooks, start us off. What in the world is this “New Age”? How have we come into it all of a sudden? All of a sudden it’s here. How did it get here, and what is it?
Alexander: Well, the impression of suddenness that you may have about the emergence of this thing into American culture is kind of a “media-created” illusion. It seems sudden because people are all of a sudden noticing it, but believe me, it has been going on for a very, very long time. The Spiritual Counterfeits Project has been tracking the progress of this way of thinking in society for about the past 15 years. I was person­ally involved in the counter-culture — where a lot of it emerged into the light of day in this society for the first time — for several years before that. But it certainly didn’t begin there either. You can trace it back to the Beats and their interest in Eastern religion.
Ankerberg: The Beatniks of the 50’s, right?
Alexander: The Beatniks of the 50’s. That’s right. And needless to say, you can trace it back before that — back through the Transcendentalists in American history, and as a matter of fact, you can trace it back as far as you want to.
Ankerberg: Dave, what are these crystals? I mean, a guy goes into the store, the food store or into a bookstore, and now he finds crystals. What do crystals have to do with New Age thinking? How do these things come together with what Brooks is talking about?
Hunt: Well, that’s how Superman got his power, remember? And it’s based upon the idea of a force. That God is not personal but a force. Very appealing lie. Because a force, being impersonal, is not going to hassle you with morals; it’s not going to hold you accountable, but on the contrary, you can manipulate it to get what you want. So it really puts man in con­trol.
Ankerberg: Yeah, but what force? Where do we get this force? Where did that come from?
Hunt: Well, it’s the idea that there is some universal force. For example, take astrology, which is an old New Age idea. Astrology is based on the belief that there is a force that permeates the uni­verse which, depending upon the date, the time and location of your birth in relation to certain heavenly bodies, will influence your destiny. Now, if we can begin to manipulate this, tune into it with our mind, you know, then we’re in control.
Ankerberg: Would you say, Tal…Why is it that our kids have em­braced this today? Go back and talk a little bit about the fact of our generation turning away from the technology; turning away from the church; turning away from the culture as we knew it. You were part of it, and you turned away and you turned to this Eastern mysti­cism. Why? Why did the society turn you off?
Brooke: Big take-off point was the 1960’s, and what happened is that every­thing that had been established tradition was turned on its ear. And that was really the motivating point for what is now I think the New Age Movement. There are many forces to trace behind this, you know, that you can just trace back. Me, as a case in point: I grew up in an atheistic family. My father was a human­ist. So there’s no sense of any supernatural meaning to life. In a sense, you didn’t know who you were, and so you’re looking. I was a seeker, and that’s what I was doing. Nothing looks more attractive on the outside [than] — it’s the shiny apple in Eden — the New Age promise: You “have your cake and eat it, too,” because it promis­es that “you’re God,” and it promises “you’re not a sinner. Sin, good and evil, are an illusion.” On the outside, this looks very good. It’s actually what Aldous Huxley called “the perennial philos­ophy.” If you trace it back in antiquity, you see Nimrod building the Tower of Babel on this philosophy. In Babylon, the ancient civilization, you see this philosophy reigning.
Ankerberg: But would you say it’s fair to say that in the 60’s the kids looked at the science, the technology that we had, and one of the reasons they turned away from it was that it wasn’t providing answers. It provided death. They saw the atomic bomb. And we’ve seen even on television where we’ve portrayed the fact of civiliza­tion coming to an end. Our scientists are bankrupt in that area. So they turned away from that. They also turned away from the rigors of everyday living. That’s why the kids went to the drugs. They wanted something else. They weren’t satisfied with just the nine-to-five job and making a dollar, getting a home in the suburbs with two cars and a TV set. So they wanted some experiences. They looked to the church and they said the church was dead. So you have nothing from the church. You have rejec­tion of Christianity. You have nothing from the home because you’ve got parents that are doing their own thing, and they’re atheists or humanists in their ideas. Science isn’t providing the answer. So you have a vacuum in socie­ty. Correct? I mean, I’m reading this from your writings.
Brooke: The movie “The Graduate” is…one of the things that said it all is that one line where he says to the Stanford MBA perspective student, he says, “Hey, son, plastics! If you want to succeed, plas­tics.”
Hunt: Well, these gentlemen…I was not on drugs. They’ve been on drugs. That was what “opened them.” You can see that.
Brooke: He was being hypnotized. He was being hypnotized at the time.
Hunt: In the New Testament the Bible comes down very hard on something it calls sorcery. And there are two Greek words for that: mageia and pharmakeia. Simon the Magician in the book of Acts, the sorcerer, pharmakeia…. Drugs opened the door. Okay? And they can tell you about that. It opened the door to a world of spiritual experience that they never knew existed and that science told them wasn’t even there in our age of materialism. That in turn opened the door to the cosmic gospel of the gurus from the East.
Brooke: Right.
Hunt: That set the stage.
Ankerberg: Brooks, there are three doc­trines named in Time maga­zine’s article — the ideas and the doctrines that bring together and give a handle to people in saying what the New Age is. They name three, and why don’t you explain what these are. Number one: “You can be whatever you want to be,” Shirley MacLaine is preaching all over the country. Second: It’s a complete surrender and trust to have it work. And third: “Everybody is God.” You’re a co-creator of the universe. I think everybody saw Shirley MacLaine in her movie “Out on a Limb” that was on ABC. And that fact is, there she is standing in front of the ocean saying, “I am God.” What in the world do those three ideas have in common with the New Age?
Alexander: Well, they really are the foundation, the theoretical underpinnings of New Age philosophy and it’s a part of the ancient, ancient lie that comes straight out of the Garden of Eden in Genesis Chapter 3. It’s the modern version of exactly that capsule form of concentrat­ed deception. What they have in common is that they view the universe, the cosmos, as a series of vibrations. Material reality is simply a series of compacted vibrations. Everything is energy. Everything is vibration. Therefore, if you tune your mind into the proper vibration, you become unified with the ultimate vibration which is God. And from that point you can alter the vibrations of reality around you and control everything.
Ankerberg: Is that what this “harmonic convergence” celebration was all about?
Alexander: In part, it’s based upon exactly that concept.
Ankerberg: I think everybody saw the news carrying 20,000 people out in the mountain­sides in California, in the desert and so on, and they’re blowing horns, looking at crystals; they’re trying to get into the vibrations of what?
Alexander: Ultimate reality. And in this case, ultimate reality as it changes over from one age to another. The harmonic convergence was basically a very cleverly individualistic version of the whole concept of the New Age. A re-run of the Age of Aquarius in highly individual terms. The individual who cooked this up was…..
Ankerberg: Okay, so people believe there’s this contact with the energies of the universe and through these techniques you can get in touch with this. But why these other doctrines? Why is it then they say that they’re God?
Alexander: Because they believe that they become unified with that ultimate reality to the extent that they’re able to tune into it. They become “one” with it. It’s a unitive, a unification kind of experience where you merge with the reality that you tune into. You become part of the vibra­tion and harmonize with it, you become the vibration.
Ankerberg: Dave, isn’t that pantheism?
Hunt: What lie could be more appealing? You know, what would you like to be? President? King? Emperor? Chairman of the board? How about God? Okay!
Ankerberg: But realistically, how can people really come to that conclusion? Tal, you came to that conclusion off of an experience on drugs. Tell us about it. Describe it.
Brooke: What happened is that I was in a Virginia meadow and I took 3,000 micrograms of Swiss LSD which is the real thing — none of this backyard stuff. And what happened is that the momentum of this thing was unbelievable and in no time it was completely out of control. And I’m going to give you an analogy. In the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” there’s a scene where they’re all at Devil’s Canyon and this UFO absolutely dwarfs the whole mountain and it looks like L.A. turned on its back. It’s huge. They expect a little tiny ship and what they see is this thing that takes up the whole sky. Something hooked up into me — and let me run this through. I experienced something unlike anything I’d ever experi­enced in my life. As far as I was concerned, it was cosmic con­sciousness. As far as I was concerned, I was tuning in to the universal overmind of the universe. I believed at that point that I was recollecting millions of former lifetimes. When we get into Jung in a while we’re going to go into this. I believed, that is, I actually thought that I experienced every one of the 13 billion brain cells in a sense turning inside out and reciting a former name. So I was an empire. I was a civilization. That was my identity. Like every character in every Shakespearean play. There was a point where I seemed to go through a pinpoint of light, and then I had the sense of merging with what some people call the “static eternal” as Indian gurus describe. My consciousness suddenly was in the banyan tree. It was in the stars; it networked across the galaxies. I suddenly had attained cosmic consciousness. How many people have seen the ad of the Rosicrucians, you know, “a split second in eternity.” This guy on the cross, merging with the whole universe. It was the most powerful experience I had ever had until then. And what I described in my book was that it was as though some neurological cybernetic had shifted my I.Q. up to half a million. There’s that sense of, “I just leapt into overdrive.”
Ankerberg: Okay, we’ve got to take a break here, but the fact is that not only you, but I find it interesting that Shirley MacLaine describes it that way, and Muller at the United Nations, and other people are saying they’re having these same kind of experiences, and they’re still coming out with the same philosophy even though they don’t know each other.
Brooke: That’s right.
Ankerberg: And we want to talk about the dynamic of these experi­ences and why is it this philosophy is coming out of those kind of experiences that forms the basis of the New Age thinking? That’s what we want to talk about when we come right back. Stick with us.

Ankerberg: All right, we’re talking about: What is the New Age? And we’ve just heard from Tal about an experience that he had on drugs. And you may know somebody that’s also had an experience. If you read Shirley MacLaine’s autobiography Out on a Limb she said this was part of her experi­ence. And I want you to listen to what she’s saying and then ask yourself — and we’re going to ask our guys — Why is it they still come to the same conclusion? Why do these people come to the same philosophy? Listen to what she experi­enced. She said…she was in a hot tub: “My whole body seemed to float, too. Not only my arms, but all of me. Slowly, slowly I became the water, and each tin­gling bubble was a component part of the water. I felt the interconnection of my breathing with the pulse of the energy around me. The air itself seemed to pulsate. In fact, I was the air! I was the air, the water, the darkness, the walls, the bubbles, the candle, the wet rocks under the water, and even the sound of the rushing river outside.” Now, if that’s not a description of coming to “one with the universe.” Dave, why is it that these people are coming to that kind of an idea? Do you find that interesting that they’re getting this pantheistic idea that we’re all one — and “God is all and all is God” — and we are interconnected?
Hunt: John, let me move beyond the experi­ence to a rationale behind it. Let’s look at it logically. And this is the conclu­sion that some of our scientists are coming to. They tell us that very soon in the theaters the action is no longer going to be confined to the big screen. We’re going to have three dimensional images running up and down through the audience and so forth. They call them holograms. You can look at them from 360 degrees. They call them holograms because no matter how many pieces you cut them into, the tiniest piece has the whole picture. Very much like a single cell in the body, you can theoretically clone an entire human being from any cell because every cell has the entire DNA formula for replicat­ing the whole body. All right, now, what could be more logical then for these scientists to say the basic underlying structural reality of this universe is holographic. The universe is one big hologram. You know what that means about you and me. Every one of us is a tiny part, a tiny holographic image of the whole. That means, “You’re it!” You’ve got all wisdom, all power, all knowledge, everything that ever was! You’re the universe. It’s all in you in capsule form. Now, all you’ve got to do is learn how to tune in. That puts you in this altered state of consciousness. That’s the thing that interests me. To get this new truth, you’ve got to lose touch with objective reality. You’ve got to flip out into an altered state where you’ve got no basis for evaluating anything. That’s when this “enlightenment” comes. It’s the old lie out of the Garden.
Ankerberg: But you’ve got to admit, Dave, that this is powerful stuff. If you have our top scientists and people like Tal that are atheists and they experience it, then you’ve got a real experience! You were there! And if you say, “Listen, everything is one in the universe. We are all con­nected.” Then it is logical to say that, “Hey, God is in me; some part. I am a part of everything else. I’m God, too.” It makes absolute logical sense. And then the fact is, what is the potential that we have if we do look inside. Brooks, what is the potential these guys are saying they can find?
Alexander: Well, I think it’s ultimate divine potential — the power of God. And you have to realize that one of the reasons this is such a powerful seduction, and one of the reasons it has such a long history is that it is in effect virtually the inevitable spirituali­ty of fallen human beings who start out in a position that’s alien­ated from God. God is not there to them. So what do they have? They have what’s left. They have the creation. Is there a unity to the creation? Yes, there is. So that’s the only thing that they can possibly seek, and they’re finding it in great numbers.
Ankerberg: But you know a lot of the parents would say, “You know, our kids were atheists before. They were on drugs before. And, look, I mean, this is a lot better than where we were at before.” Okay? They were nihilistic in their thinking. And the fact is on drugs they didn’t care about life and they were kind of in despair. Now they’ve got hope. And they’re saying they’ve got a new god and they’re god. Okay? And the fact is they’ve got new potential and they want to experience it and they want to tune into the universe and, I mean, what could be wrong with that?” And gentlemen, what Time magazine was asking — “Is this a passing fad? Do we have to worry about this? I mean, isn’t this good? We’ve had other cultur­al revolutions before. Isn’t this just something that’s come into America? Is this a dangerous thing or is this just something that we ought to embrace?”
Alexander: Well, I think that if you take a look at the effects of it, if you take a look at the real fruits of it in the long run that the movement itself is not so much dangerous as it is, in my view, a milestone on the road to delusion. A marker, a sign, a signal about the state and condition and direction of American society.
Ankerberg: Tal, what’s wrong with these ideas?
Brooke: It’s a lie. It’s the oldest lie in the universe.
Ankerberg: What’s a lie?
Brooke: The idea of the self becoming God. And certainly biblically in Genesis Chapter 3, is considered the great lie. It’s the oldest lie in the universe.
Ankerberg: Yeah, but if a guy is experi­encing it, how in the world are you going to persuade him?
Brooke: An experience can lie to you. All you need to do is go to a mental institu­tion and line 20 schizophrenics up and some are seeing green elephants and some are talking to 20 martians on the fence. And the question is, we don’t doubt they’re having an experience. How do we know the experience is real? Which we’re going to get into.
Ankerberg: But did you doubt your experi­ence?
Brooke: I didn’t doubt it at all until I ran into something we’ll talk about later that was a lot more powerful and a lot more real.
Hunt: Yeah, but wait a minute, John. You’re experiencing it. It’s great on a drug trip or in a yogi trance or under hypnosis. But how about real life? I’m not God. I don’t have this power. And if you try to tell me that I’m Super­man….what’s serious about it? And I believe that I’m Superman and I jump off of a 30-story building. I mean, you’ve got some consequences.
Brooke: Right.
Hunt: Because as a matter of fact it doesn’t work out in reality. But you not only have some momentary consequences, we’ve got eternal consequences. Because if this is going to cut me off from the God who created me and is going to cause me to believe a delu­sion that is going to end me up separated from Him forever, then we’re talking serious stuff.
Ankerberg: Okay. We’re going to continue this next week and we’re going to start right at this area of the experience. Because people like Shirley MacLaine, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the great psychia­trist that wrote the book on death and dying, people like Bernie Siegel, a surgeon at Yale University, Robert Muller at the United Nations, Carl Rogers. These people have had these experiences, and they’ve gotten this kind of information that is forming the basis of New Age thinking and how are we going to argue with that? We want to talk about it next week. Please join us.

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