The New Age Movement and the Church – Program 6
|By: Brooks Alexander, Dave Hunt, Tal Brooke; ©1988|
|More questions are addressed by our panel.|
Questions from the Audience – Part 2
Tonight, John Ankerberg will conduct an open forum with three influential guests on the question: is the American church accepting new age ideas and techniques and presenting them as part of the gospel? John’s first guest is Dave Hunt, a Christian author who has awakened the church to the consequences of the ideas of the new age movement through his best-selling books, the seduction of Christianity and beyond seduction. John’s second guest has come out of the new age movement and is well aware of its power and practices. Mystical experiences led Tal Brooke to India where he became a disciple of Sai Baba, one of India’s most powerful miracle-working gurus. But after two years, Jesus Christ demonstrated he was more powerful than anything Tal had previ¬ously experienced in the occult, whereupon he gave his life totally to the Lord. He has recently graduated from Princeton University with his masters degree and is the author of two best-selling books. John’s third guest is Brooks Alexander, co-founder and senior researcher for the nationally-known spiritual counterfeits project of Berkeley, California. Before becoming a christian, Brooks embraced the religious world view of the new age movement and participated in mystical out-of-body experiences. John will ask these three men to freely share their views with you on the controversial question, “Has the new age movement influenced the church?” They will answer questions frankly about many well-known people, both christian and non-Christian alike. Many of the people mentioned in tonight’s program were extended an invitation to join our guests for this taping. Our invitation remains open to them and to other responsible spokesmen to participate and present their views in future programs. The John Ankerberg show has already arranged a future forum where well-known christian psychologists will meet face-to-face with tonight’s guests. With this in mind, we invite you to join us for this edition of John Ankerberg.
- John Ankerberg: in this new series, we refer to information concerning Carl Gustav Jung and Sigmund Freud that was talked about in a program several months ago. I have decided tonight to begin with that segment and add it to this series so you’ll have a basis to understand the information that will be presented. Many university students wrote to us at that time, and said they had never heard the information concerning Jung’s involvement with the spirit world and how these experiences shaped his psychological view of man. We consider this information important to the discussion, so we invite you to listen.
- Ankerberg Question.
- Audience Would any of you gentlemen care to speak to the dangers of role-playing games such as “Dungeons and Dragons” and that ilk?
- Alexander Well, I think that it’s a complicated subject and it’s hard to put on a thumbnail, but I will try to be as brief as I can. Role-playing games are a lot like other forms of storytelling, whether you’re talking about writing a novel, writing a play, or whatever. There are some differences. But it is basically a form of storytelling. The differences are that it’s a collective form of storytelling. You make up your own characters, you make up the story as you go along, and you do it together. Now, in a situation like this where the central element is the telling of stories, obviously, everything depends upon the kind of stories that you tell, the kind of stories that you act out. The problem with most of the role-playing games that are available is that they are structured, they provide the characters and they provide the structure, the vehicle for building the story that puts all the emphasis on the occult and on the violence and on the greed and all the fallen aspects of human nature because that is always the more sensational, more dramatic things that we think of that happen to us in life. Consequently, the commercially available role-playing games, for the most part, with very, very few exceptions that I know of, all major in the negative aspects of spirituality, especially occult spirituality, violence and greed.
- Ankerberg Somebody might be saying, “But what’s wrong with talking about it? I mean, you know, what could be wrong about telling a couple of stories and “Yuckin’ it up” and having a good time? I mean, what’s wrong with that?”
- Alexander Well, if that was all that was happening, I wouldn’t necessarily say there would be anything wrong with it. Of course, with role-playing games it goes a lot deeper than that. You are actually acting out this part as a way of practicing these emotions.
- Ankerberg What’s happened when some of the people have actually gotten really into it?
- Hunt Well, just to give you an example: Here’s a group of high school kids who did not believe in mediums, but they said, “Let’s pretend to have a seance.” You’ve got a Jewish atheist high school boy — he doesn’t believe in it at all, but he’s just kind of role-playing and “going through it.” And the next thing you know, a guttural voice begins to speak out of him, he’s choked, he becomes demon possessed, obsessed with death, haunts cemeteries until he has the demon cast out. So all you have to do is begin to pretend. And in fact, some of the police, when they find young people with aberrant behavior, they have a standard question: “Have you been involved in role-playing games?” Because some of them get so into this thing that they can’t tell the difference between the real world and this fantasy world that they’ve been living in.
- Brooke And that runs into fantasy games like “Dungeons and Dragons” and, of course, the people who produce that game have been sued multiple times and I know that there are lawsuits that are still up, where people have died playing that. So here’s another little doorway in which things take over.
- Ankerberg Question.
- Audience Yes, I’d like to ask the gentlemen how pervasive and dangerous they feel the New Age Movement is in the entertainment industry today?
- Brooke It’s there. I think it was Lenin who, in pointing out many forces that would help the demise of capitalism through precedent law and the family falling apart and all these other things — drugs, etc. — the entertainment industry was one on the agenda. And if you look at the entertainment industry, there isn’t a whole lot that’s very wholesome that’s coming out of Hollywood. If you want my opinion, they couldn’t produce Chariots of Fire if they had to! That was done in England, incidentally. So, the point is, most of it is “Schloch”! They’re good with Stephen King; they’re great at creating characters that are not loveable at all, and they’re great at indoctrinating you into perverse stuff. A case in point is a movie called “Hellraiser” of which Stephen King says of Clive Barker, “I’ve seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker.” Which goes directly into peering into the abyss. You’re watching the demonic. It’s a kind of voyeurism into evil, that’s very intentional I think. Now, in terms of New Age thought, we’ve talked about “Star Wars,” we’ve talked about the movie “2001.”
- Ankerberg What do you see in “Star Wars” and “2001”?
- Brooke “Star Wars” and “2001” are basic…”2001″ is Hegelian consciousness. As Hegel said in the 1800’s, the whole thing of the evolution of consciousness into super-mind, he set the key for the new pantheism. “2001” is essentially man becoming super-mind. That’s what that’s all about. Arthur C. Clarke knew what he was doing when he did that film. He wrote the book Childhood’s End, which is the same basic thing.
- Hunt What films are so accurate, I mean, one of the worst…I would not recommend it to anybody — “The Believers.” About Santeria. I happen to know. I’m in touch with police. I mean, maybe you don’t know, but there are special divisions of the police all over this country who are investigating disappearances. We’re into human sacrifice now, and that film was accurate right down to the detail. What in the world are they putting that on the screen for?! But in the film, the “Believers,” the people who were into this were the philanthropists. They were the cultured people, the leaders of the community, and they believed they were doing this for the good of the world. This was the only way to save the world. Lloyd Richards, Dean of Yale School of Drama, says, “The Arts define whatever the new society is. We’re evolving.” And it was Jimmi Hendrix who said, “You can hypnotize people with music, and then preach into their unconscious what you want to say.” And, of course, this is exactly what’s happening and it’s a powerful medium that’s changing the world.
- Brooke And just watch MTV and watch Billy Idol and watch the Heavy Metal groups…
- Ankerberg Yeah, but it’s not just the Rock, now we’ve got….
- Brooke New Age music.
- Ankerberg …easy listening, New Age music. And what’s it supposed to do for people?
- Brooke It gets them in a passive, receptive mind state and it’s very….well, actually there was a Cambridge mathematician — and this is all theory — who talked about music as being a form of mathematical higher language. I’m not going to say anything about it. But I think music does affect moods. There’s no way around it.
- Ankerberg Question.
- Audience This is for Tal. What specifically do people involved in the New Age Movement teach about Jesus Christ?
- Brooke Okay. That’s a great question, and I think we hit it a little. I’m going to say something autobiographical. I will tell you that before I went to India I was extremely syncretistic. After that mystical experience I had, the one thing I could not handle was the exclusiveness of Christianity. See, here’s what would happen. I took a university course supposedly on Christianity — it was really Paul Tillich, his whole thing. It enabled me to go into the Bible and dishonestly deal with biblical truth and call it symbolical and turn any screw I wanted to. There’s another doorway that’s happening. Here’s how they deal with Christ. Brooks read you the review on this book where so-called Jesus, the spirit guide, is coming through. Let’s go back in history. A book that really influenced me in going to India was…way before “A Course in Miracles” was written; way before these other aquarian gospels were written; way before Edgar Cayce talked about the “hidden years of Jesus” — we’re getting into a pattern here. Basically there’s a book called the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ by a Midwestern doctor who is known as Levi Dowling. And he would get these spirit dictations between 2 in the morning and 4:30 in the morning. And here’s what you have happening. The same thing is also said by Edgar Cayce. Now, this is what the spirit sources are coming up with. They’re being very clever in redefining who Jesus Christ is. He ends up nothing more than a “Higher Master.” He ends up nothing more than “Ascended Master.” He is an exemplar of someone who reaches God-consciousness. And they totally fictionalized His past, so He ends up going…in Dowling’s book He goes to the Egyptian temple of beauty and wisdom to learn certain things — to learn healing, etc. And then he goes to India and Tibet where he learns transmutation, clairvoyance and weather control. That’s in the Dowling book. They totally change the history of Christ. So what they do, to dispatch of Christianity in the exclusiveness of the Gospel is that they come up with a fictitious, mythical Christ.
- Hunt And then we’ve got Morton Kelsey who says that Jesus was a shaman, which is basically what they’re saying.
- Brooke Right.
- Hunt That he had this mind power, and so forth. And when was it. A year and a half ago up in your territory, Brooks, at the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, a mainstream Southern Baptist seminary? [In] the spring semester the opening talk in the chapel was “The New Shaman,” that Jesus is a shaman. And we’ve got to develop these psychic powers and so forth. So it’s not only out there, but then it influences the church again.
- Ankerberg Time magazine said, “The New Age does express a cloudy sort of religion, claiming they collect connections with both Christianity and the major faiths of the East.” Well, the liberal Christianity that did exactly what you just said, obviously that’s the kind of Christianity they’re talking about, not biblical Christianity. Then in parentheses it has, “New Agers like to say that Jesus spent 18 years in India absorbing Hinduism and [the] teachings of Buddha.” Now, I wonder how they get away with just putting that in there, because you’ve never seen a stick of that in the New Testament and all the people that were eyewitnesses that knew Jesus never heard Him say a word of that. But these guys, 1900 years after the fact, know that somehow.
- Brooke Right. There’s not a sketch of historiagraphical evidence in that direction. There is no written record coming from the early church that points in that way. There is nothing that would lead you to believe that He ever left the boundaries of Israel once He came back from Egypt. He went slightly…He went into upper Galilee is what happened. And He did have a mission to the Gentiles around the Sea of Galilee and He went out as far as…near Tyre. But the point is, He stayed in that region of the Middle East, and that’s important to know.
- Audience How much validity — this is for anybody — How much validity can we put in these recent occurrences, such as like the Pope having a meeting with the different religious leaders, stuff like that being the actual fulfillment of the prophecy in the Bible. I mean, like, is this it? I mean, how much validity can we put in that?
- Hunt Well, I don’t know specifically, but I know that the Pope, speaking at university in Calcutta and also in New Dehli, said to the Hindus: “We haven’t come here to teach you anything. We’ve come here to learn from your great spiritual tradition.” There’s got to be some reason why he is trying to unify the religions. Of course, he’s still standing for the Catholic doctrines and so forth. He’s not going to give that up. But nevertheless, something is happening that is really unprecedented in the history of the church.
- Ankerberg Question.
- Audience I address this to the panel. You were talking about the children and the Smurfs and toys and things. What about the things that we grew up with as far as Cinderella, Pinocchio, those kinds of things? I have a 16-month-old, and I was wondering how to approach those with her.
- Alexander Well, I grew up on fairytales and things of that kind which, of course, are filled with magical and semi-magical kinds of things. I don’t necessarily feel that there’s anything wrong with a child learning to imagine worlds of this kind. However, one of the things that often is shocking to a number of people is to realize that — speaking of Cinderella and Pinocchio and stories like that — that aside from Cinderella, which, of course, is a traditional fairytale, the Disney organization for years has been one of the primary vehicles for teaching a lot of this New Age philosophy to our younger people. I don’t know whether any of you have ever seen a movie called “Escape to Witch Mountain” put out by the Walt Disney organization. And that is nothing but mind power and the ability to control realities with the psychic powers of your mind. People are getting programmed into accepting the validity of this thing on a very subtle level. At that point I think you have a really serious problem. I’m not so much concerned with fairytales, I’m concerned with overt programming to belief in powers of the mind that actually are real. Living children, people that the kids today can identify with, are the heros and heroines of this movie. That’s where the problem lies.
- Hunt Something else has happened. When I was a boy and I read Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and so forth or the fairytales or whatever. It was fantasy. It would never happen. It has happened. So that our young people today look upon, particularly, science fiction as “prophetic.” It’s telling us what we can do. So it has a realism about it that the fairytales never had when we were children.
- Alexander Or were never intended to have.
- Hunt Right.
- Brooke And we go back to the He-Man, the different games and things of that nature, and you go back to some of the new movies, the Arnold Schwarzenegger things, they’re getting close, too. “Masters of the Universe,” that movie that was done recently.
- Ankerberg I ask for a final comment from all of you. You know, the Bible has said these things way back when. I Timothy 4:1,2: “The Spirit clearly says that in latter times, some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” And Paul says in Galatians 1: “I am astonished” — and I think to many of our people in the church — “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. If we or an angel from heaven” — and we’ve got spirit guides and angels showing up all over the place — “If we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.” I’d like to have your last comment from each one of you.
- Alexander Well, I guess the bottom line with all of this, for the church, for people who are serious about their Christianity is to realize that the culture we live in, the culture the Church exists in is changing. A lot of people in this country are accustomed to thinking of the United States as a Christian country, this society as a Christian society. It’s not going to be the case tomorrow, next year. It’s not really the case right now. I would like to read you a brief quotation from a book called Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans. Keep in mind, this was written in 1912, before the New Age Movement ever appeared on the scene. And the author says, “In the declining days of antiquity, the common creed of all pagans came to be a scientific pantheism in which the infinite power of the divinity that pervaded the universe was revealed by all the elements of nature.” Ladies and gentlemen, that is indistinguishable from the agenda of the New Age Movement. That is the philosophy that prevailed in the dying classical world. That is the dead, corrupt philosophy that Christianity came into the middle of and burst upon the scene with a breath of fresh, spiritual life. And I want to know why we are turning to death again? But it is happening.
- Ankerberg Tal.
- Brooke I think that when I left India with the air still shaking with the kind of deception I’d been under, and I read those scriptures that you just read — the one in Galatians and, of course Paul’s letter to Timothy — that, you know, we are never supposed to date set, but we can certainly look at the signs of the times and the seasons. And I think that they are chillingly real. And unless the church wakes up to what you just read, we are going to be in real trouble. And I think it’s a very easy time for Christians to be deceived now.
- Ankerberg David.
- Hunt I think what I would like to say for all of us is that the reason we’re on a program like this, and for you, too, John, is not because we’re argumentative or mean or nasty, or we just like to disagree with people; but it’s because we have a real concern for people’s souls. And we don’t want to see them believe The Lie. We would at least like them to face the facts and confront the real issue. I had a quote here from Abby Hoffman, 1960’s radical, you know, and he says…he just said this recently. He said, “Talk of enemy opposition is not New Age talk. Supposedly, we’re all one. But if you see me and Ollie North as one, you’d better switch your vitamins and go for another massage.” So, if we’re just going to try to say, you know, “Let’s just be friends and love one another…” No! There are some issues, and they are eternal issues, and souls are at stake and that’s why we’re trying to say what we’re saying.
- Ankerberg Gentlemen, we want to say thank you for being with us and for sharing from your heart and we really appreciate the stand that each of you have taken in print, the books that you have written, the work that you have done. And we pray that God’s blessing will rest upon you and His protection as well. Thank you for being with us.