A TOTAL TRUTH Solution for a Fractured America
Big Picture Answers for America's Big Problems -
Rebuilding on America's Original Worldview

by Leonard Ransil

Section 2: Christianity vs. Rival Worldviews
Chapter 18     Christianity vs. New Age

One of the newest rivals impacting Christianity in America is the New Age worldview which arose in the 1960s. Generally speaking, it is a make over of ancient Hinduism fashioned to appeal to those disillusioned with Materialism or moral-based religions. Rather than debunking Divinity, New Agers believe everyone is Divine and, therefore, inherently good. Everything came from and is evolving back to a cosmic Oneness. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong. Everything for everybody will turn out okay in the end. The dawning of the new Age of Aquarius is evolutionarily certain!

New Age beliefs are very appealing to those battered by the meaninglessness and hopelessness of stark Materialism. For a New Age believer, it is more agreeable to think of oneself as both good and worthwhile rather than as a sinner doomed to hell or to be guaranteed a positive future beyond death rather than to just cease to exist. "For some, karma is a more reasonable concept than eternal damnation for the wicked. ..a belief that virtue is rewarded and sin creates suffering might lead to a belief in Karma."1 And, like all non-Christian religions, this worldview allows/requires one to eventually earn an inevitable, wonderful conclusion - even if it takes many, often miserable, reincarnated lifetimes to reach.

Earl's Dilemma

"In the popular American television series My Name is Earl, Earl Hickey  (played by Jason Lee) becomes the victim of karma but eventually realizes that he must make up for all the bad things he's done in order to stop being punished."2 Hollywood's greatly simplified version of "karma" has Earl feverishly working to end all of the plaguing results of his bad choices by doing good deeds.  Predictably, no mention is made of an existence after death although New Age believers hope in and strive for eventual bliss.  Of course, this hoped for "wonderful conclusion" is only reachable if Hinduism and/or Buddhism and/or New Age beliefs are, in fact, ultimately true. Remember: The whole purpose of analyzing these conflicting Worldviews is to help you decide.

Unfortunately, the conflicting meanings and interpretations of key concepts within the similar belief systems (Hinduism, Buddhism and New Age) make precise understanding difficult if not impossible. This uncertainty does not seem to bother believers because of their assumption that sooner or later, all will be well. Nonetheless, an attempt at clarity, which apparently does not interest Hollywood, is important for deeper analysis and understanding.   

What is Karma?

At the risk of over-simplifying or misrepresenting "Karma" the next three paragraphs from Wikipedia will hopefully add some light on a pivotal term in this Worldview. 

"Karma is a sum of all that an individual has done, is currently doing and will do. Individuals go through certain processes and accompanying experiences throughout their lives which they have chosen, and those would be based on the results of their own creations: "karma." Karma is not about retribution, vengeance, punishment or reward. Karma simply deals with what is. The effects of all deeds actively create past, present and future experiences, thus making one responsible for one's own life, and the pain and joy it brings to others. In religions that incorporate Reincarnation, karma extends through one's present life and all past and future lives as well.

According to Karma, performance of positive action results with the reaction of a good conditioning in one's experience, whereas a negative action results in a reaction of a bad response. This may be an immediate result following the act, or a delayed result occurring either in the present life or the next. Thus, meritorious acts may create rebirth into a higher station, such as a superior human being or a godlike being, while evil acts result in rebirth as a human living in less desirable circumstances, or as a lower animal." …  

The process view of release (moksha) from ego-consciousness (Ahamkar) through individual responsibility for the totality of action with its inherent karma can be contrasted with the Soteriological [theology that deals with salvation] view of mainstream denominations of Christianity: grace given by faith in the suffering, death and resurrection of a singular savior."

The contrast between Christianity and New Age Worldviews is expanded in the chart below.

Some Scary Implications

There are some chilling concepts in the above explanation of "Karma."  For example, adherents believe they may become "lower animals" based on their actions.  The practical consequence of this unprovable assumption is that animals are actually treated better than many human beings in countries like India.  While cows are honored as sacred, dying beggars are ignored and left to suffer painful deaths.  Giving aid and comfort is regarded by believers as harmful; others must not interfere in the suffering person's state because it is linked to his Karma.  (Just why cows are revered when, presumably, they were once humans but are now in an animal state because they did not perform enough good actions to remain human, is not explained.)  Fortunately for the rejected beggars, Christians like Mother Theresa believe that all humans have intrinsic dignity because they were created by a benevolent God, not accidentally formed by an indifferent cosmic Oneness.

Another unsettling example is "The process view of release (moksha) from ego-consciousness (Ahamkar)…."  This is an esoteric way of saying that, no matter how many times a person might reincarnate from human to grasshopper to human to pig to cow etc., his desired final end is to become an ego-less "it."  Being a human being with an individual human (or animal) personality and identity is viewed as a condition that prevents the "at-one-ment" with the non-personal, cosmic "it-ness."  According to this Worldview, you will no longer be you but will become part of One Big Cosmic IT!  So, if this Worldview is true, you have to become a "nothing" before you can become a "something."  Notice: you must devolve to an inferior "non-entity" rather than evolve to a superior "Someone."  Eventually, all separateness merges into Oneness and One is All.  Obviously, this is decidedly different from both the Christian and Materialistic Worldviews.

The God of the Bible created everything and He called it good. God made man to know, love and belong to Him, to serve Him in obedient faith and to live for His glory and pleasure forever. All that God created is accountable to Him, including Mankind.  All things come from a non-personal Universal Spiritual Essence, the Absolute. The material realm is an unimportant hindrance since everything is inevitably evolving back to cosmic Oneness-"at-one-ment." All religions lead to One since all is One.
Adam rejected God's legitimate authority as his Creator and came under Satan's dominion, causing the darkness of alienation from God, personal suffering, sin and death that now befalls everyone. Since all humans came from Adam, they are born also as fallen rebels by nature. Also, all creation has been "destroyed" by sin compared to the original "good" condition of the Garden.  Man is of the divine and, therefore, inherently good. There is no right or wrong because everything is ultimately a part of Divine Oneness. Evil and suffering are temporary problems, the direct result of our false sense of individuality - apart from One.

God's plan is to redeem mankind through rebirth by faith in Jesus' sacrificial death and His atonement for all mankind's sins. This grants true believers divine life that enables them to fulfill God's purpose here and gives hope for endless fulfillment in Christ. Hell awaits all who reject God's merciful offer and, thus, remain slaves of the Devil forever.  Each person is accountable to himself to achieve and access the "supra-consciousness" with its unlimited power and creativity. All religions lead to One since all is One. If bad things have happened to a person, it is because of what he has done in this life or a previous one. It must be worked off by doing more good than bad--Karma.
God offers you a way out. Put your trust and future in God's hands so that Heaven will be your home! By God's grace, believe and confess that Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord. Abide in Him for His glory and your good through the ministry and power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 10:9).  Every person must achieve the highest state of being by escaping from his individuality and realizing that he is part of the Divine - One with the non-personal Universal Spiritual Essence, the Absolute - achieved through Yoga or other forms of meditation and self-removal.

Knowing what you know so far, if you had the power to cause one Worldview to be the Real One, which would you choose?  Why?

1 Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karma, retrieved December 22, 2006.
2 Wikipedia, December 22, 2006.

Total Truth = Big Picture Thinking
I welcome your questions and comments: lennyr@totaltruth.org