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Definitions[ edit ] "One of the few things on which all scholars agree concerning New Age is that it is difficult to define. Often, the definition given actually reflects the background of the scholar giving the definition.
Thus, the New Ager views New Age as a revolutionary period of history dictated by the stars; the Christian apologist has often defined new age as a cult; the historian of ideas understands it as a manifestation of the perennial tradition; the philosopher sees New Age as a monistic or holistic worldview; the sociologist describes New Age as a new religious movement NRM ; while the psychologist describes it as a form of narcissism.
Chryssides suggested that it could be understood as "a counter-cultural Zeitgeist". Lewis stated that it remained a useful etic category for scholars to use because, "There exists no comparable term which covers all aspects of the movement. All manifestations of this movement are characterized by a popular western culture criticism expressed in terms of a secularized esotericism.
Through their shared marginalisation within a given society, these disparate ideas interact and create new syntheses. The first, the social camp, represents groups that primarily seek to bring about social change, while the second, the occult camp, instead focus on contact with spirit entities and channeling.
Scholars call this new esoteric trend occultismand this occultism was a key factor in the development of the worldview from which the New Age emerged. In her books Isis Unveiled and The Secret DoctrineBlavatsky claimed that her Society was conveying the essence of all world religions, and it thus emphasized a focus on comparative religion.
Gordon Melton point out, the New Age phenomenon represents "a synthesis of many different preexisting movements and strands of thought". A variety of small movements arose, revolving around revealed messages from beings in space and presenting a synthesis of post-Theosophical and other esoteric doctrines.
These movements might have remained marginal, had it not been for the explosion of the counterculture in the s and early s. The reason for the ready incorporation of such disparate sources was a similar goal of exploring an individualized and largely non-Christian religiosity.
He noted that as this happened, the meaning of the term "New Age" changed; whereas it had once referred specifically to a coming era, at this point it came to be used in a wider sense to refer to a variety of spiritual activities and practices.
Healing Self and Society. Erharda transformational training course that became a prominent part of the early movement. The Convergence attracted more people to the movement than any other single event.
Melton presented a conference paper in which he argued that, given that he knew of nobody describing their practices as "New Age" anymore, the New Age had died. Spiritual but not religious and List of New Age topics Eclecticism and self-spirituality[ edit ] The New Age places strong emphasis on the idea that the individual and their own experiences are the primary source of authority on spiritual matters.
Hess noted that in his experience, a common attitude among New Agers was that "any alternative spiritual path is good because it is spiritual and alternative". The authors of much of this material make claims that, while not necessarily untrue or fraudulent, are difficult or impossible for the reader to verify.
A number of other channeled documents address issues more immediately relevant to the human condition. The best of these writings are not only coherent and plausible, but eloquently persuasive and sometimes disarmingly moving.New Age is a term applied to a range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the s.
Precise scholarly definitions of the New Age differ in their emphasis, largely as a result of its highly eclectic structure. Although analytically often considered to be religious, those involved in it typically prefer the designation of spiritual or Mind.
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