Teaching the Differences between Christianity and New Age Teaching

This blog is a continuation of the series on teaching the differences between Christianity and other major world religions. This blog addresses New Age beliefs.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:3–4  

Perhaps the most obscure and least definable of the belief systems considered in this blog series, the New Age movement is not so much a structured, systematic religion as it is a mindset or worldview. In their simplest form, New Age beliefs are a mixture of Eastern religions and man-centered humanism. In the New Age, all reality is one, god is part of this one spiritual energy, humans are divine, and the highest goal is peace and unity. Those of the New Age hold that through various means, people can discover their divinity. As they do, humanity will leave the ills of history and create a reality marked by love and peace.  

The Differences in View of Higher Power 

New Age teaching does not recognize a god or higher power in the sense that Christians do. For those of the New Age, all reality is one. In this way, god is everything and everything is god. Consequently, the New Age god is not personal, nor does this god have a mind, desires, standards, or goals. Instead, god is part of a divine energy force. In this sense, New Age beliefs are like Hinduism, which teaches that god is a conglomeration of the divine spark found in all human beings and all creation. The New Age teaches that this divine energy is a source of guidance but does not stand in authority or judgment over human beings and creation. In fact, as noted above, there is no separation between nature and god. 

As with Buddhism and Hinduism, one cannot help but notice the connections between New Age philosophy and the Star Wars universe of George Lucas. In the Star Wars mythos, the Force is an energy field that creates life, sustains it, flows through nature, and binds it all together. What is more, the Force gives wisdom and guidance and even directs our actions.  

Christianity, on the other hand, presents God as a personal, eternal being who transcends His creation. While He is active with it, He is not part of it or dependent upon it. The one true God is personal in that He has a mind, desires, standards, and goals. He is almighty and holy. When teaching the difference between god in the New Age and God in Christianity, point out to students that nothing or no one can create itself. God must be eternally uncreated. In other words, challenge the New Age beliefs on how all of nature came to be. New Age teachings are unable to answer this question, as Christianity does. 

The Differences in Basic Beliefs 

Monism and Pantheism

Monism is the belief that all reality is one. This includes human beings. Pantheism is the belief that all reality is god. This is why many adherents of the New Age worship nature. This reverence for nature also explains why the New Age is so active in the preservation of the environment.  

The Bible teaches that God is almighty and transcends His creation. Further, elements of God’s creation are not all one; this particularly applies to human beings. God has created each human being uniquely. While the Bible teaches that through faith we have our life in Christ, it does not teach that Christians are absorbed into God, losing their individuality.  

While God charges us with caring for His creation, we are forbidden from worshiping anything but God, including nature. 

New Age Teaches That Humans Are Divine and Have Unlimited Potential

The New Age teaches that each person is his or her own god. This follows the logic of the New Age teaching that all reality is one and all is god. Being part of this divine “all,” human beings are part of god. For New Age followers, humanity’s greatest problem is their lack of understanding regarding their divinity and unlimited potential. The more people realize and understand their true nature, the more powerful they will be. With enough practice and understanding, human beings can create their own reality.  

But the scriptural truth is that while human beings are the apex of God’s creation, we have our limitations. We are limited by time and space, by what our bodies can do, and by what we can understand. What is more, because of the fall into sin, we are by nature spiritually blind, dead, and enemies of God, with no ability to desire, reach, or love Him. Without God’s work in us, we are lost and condemned creatures.  


Syncretism is the belief that all religions are one, that all belief systems lead to the same place. New Age beliefs naturally lead to this as they espouse the oneness of all things and that all things are god. One can understand the attraction of this belief in the oneness of all religions. People who hold such a belief need not engage with the concept of false teaching or have the courage to take a stand on truth or live in conflict with others.  

Religions can indeed be similar, and in fact, many have teachings that overlap Christianity. However, there are, in the end, only two religions: Christianity and everything else. What’s missing in all other religions, including the New Age, is salvation by grace through faith in Christ. Jesus Himself makes this assertion: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).  

The Importance of Global Unity

Those who follow New Age thinking place a high value on a world in which all people live in unity. They believe that global problems such as disease, crime, poverty, injustice, and environmental degradation are symptoms of humanity’s lack of understanding of its divine nature. The quickest and easiest way to reach a united world that largely or wholly lacks these ills is for each person to more fully grasp his or her own divinity.  

The reality, however, is that while living in peace and unity in this world are worthy goals, sin will always prevent this from becoming a global reality. Through hard work, there can be unity in particular places and relationships, yet sinful humanity is always working against itself, wrecking any short-term harmony that is reached. The Bible teaches that Christians are to live in peace and unity. Yet this peace and unity are reached through adherence to correct theology, faith in Christ, and submission to the Holy Spirit. Only in heaven will Christians experience complete peace and harmony with one another.  

The Differences in Practices and Worship 

Like the theology and teachings of the New Age, practice and worship are challenging to define. Adherents of the New Age do not have worship as Christians would define the word. Practices are extremely varied. The final goal of New Age practice is to reach a deeper understanding and realization of one’s own divinity. New Age practices can be structured into major groups: occult practices such as tarot card reading, some forms of yoga, astrology, and meditation; holistic health using crystals and right thinking to heal; and belief in extraterrestrials. 

New Age Beliefs Have Infiltrated Christianity 

  1. Law of attraction: This is the belief that we can obtain whatever we wish from God if we think positive thoughts, believe, and visualize it. This belief is based on the New Age notion that all reality is one and that god is in everything, including human beings. Remember that New Age followers believe that each person can create his or her own reality. The scriptural truth is that God desires us to talk to Him in prayer, and He promises to hear our prayer and do what is right for us: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:15). 
  2. Follow your heart: This is the belief that feelings are the ultimate source of truth. This belief flows from the New Age teachings that humans are divine. If people are divine, then so are their feelings. But Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32).  
  3. All religions lead to heaven: This belief has its roots in the New Age understanding that perfection and harmony between people can be reached not through trust in what God has done, but rather through each person realizing his or her own divinity. God’s truth says otherwise: “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4–6). 


New Age ideas and teachings are attractive to fallen sinners for three salient reasons:

  1. The New Age allows for a wide variance in belief and practice. Nearly “anything goes” in practice if it leads to further understanding and realization of one’s divinity. There are few dogmatic teachings. Instead, all religions lead to the same place.
  2. The New Age purportedly locates the ultimate truth in the self. It turns the person inward and away from God.
  3. Perhaps the most salient point about New Age teaching is that human beings are divine. This goes right back to the Garden of Eden, where Eve believed that eating the fruit of the tree would make her like God.  

New Age teachings can be lumped in with all other false religions because they highlight the merits and works of human beings instead of the work of God. This is a fatal flaw. Biblical Christianity shows us the reality of sin’s effects on humanity and God’s merciful work on humanity’s behalf. Only in Christianity do we encounter the one true God, who created us, redeemed us, and sanctified us. Only in Christianity are we turned outwardly toward God, who has given Himself in Christ for our forgiveness and to grant us everlasting life.  

Scripture: ESV®.

How to Respond to the New Age Movement helps you understand the beliefs of the New Age Movement so that you can more effectively share the Gospel with those involved.

Respond to The New Age Movement

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Phil Rigdon

The Rev. Dr. Philip Rigdon and his wife, Jamelyn, live in Kendallville, Indiana, with their two rabbits, Frankie and Buttons. He serves as pastor of St. John Lutheran Church and School in Kendallville. He enjoys writing, running, and playing guitar.

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