Q: I have a similar background: Christian Science, which led to Joel Goldsmith and later A Course in Miracles. What is your view of new age approaches to spirituality?
When I was a CS, I had heard of people who claimed they had grown "beyond CS," and I figured they were deluding themselves. Now I think I was only half right. The mental terrain that is traveled after CS is interesting, and I'm not sure anyone has yet crossed it into the promised land. It is a hell of a journey!
When I put the Joel Goldsmith words and link in my Web site, I also tried to tactfully warn people who had come out of CS that such systems seem to lack effective tools for dealing with the negative. It is sometimes appropriate to deal with the negative by treating it as nothing and simply declaring, expressing, and embodying the Truth. However, in healing practice, there are sometimes when the negative needs to be called by name and handled head on, as Jesus often did. Nevertheless, there is a very strong "feel-good" aspect to this mental realm, so it's a nice place to rest before moving on to higher climbs. But I've not seen from this level of thought the definitive spiritual power and authority that Jesus demonstrated, even "that recognition of infinite Love which alone confers the healing power." Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (366:18)
I believe that level of thought (which I call Level 4) may be a half-step forward in spiritual progress. It is a movement forward, but maybe not a completely safe and solid step to stand on. My concern with it is that it can appear to be deceptively safe, that is, for someone relying on it for their very life. My book says level 4 human belief is "fatally flawed." Yikes! :)
While the new age view has some of its foundation in advanced phases of human belief, my views aren't very accepting of most new-age practices, some of which are simply repackaging earth-based religions in modern language. Polytheism may be better than no-theism, but, in my view, not much. If one is in a literate culture, they should be doing better. It may be that people reject monotheism because it requires obedience. Hence, a fondness for new-age may just be a way of justifying one's refusal to relate to one God in a disciplined way. When one embraces God as true identity at level 4, one needs to be careful they don't get into an undifferentiated, anything-goes mentality. In that sense, anything goes only if you are being completely obedient to God. Then you can know that love will be the result and everyone will be safe.
I agree with Mary Baker Eddy when she says, "Whatever materializes worship hinders man's spiritual growth and keeps him from demonstrating his power over error." Ibid.(5:1) I suppose it depends on where you have come from. If you have never been a monotheist, level 4 can let you continue in spiritual pursuits that are not far from paganism. My feeling is that you have to demonstrate each level in turn: obedience, love, spirituality, infinite identity. If you latch on to the words of infinite identity without having demonstrated obedience and love, you may be going in circles instead of forward. I'm just learning about these things like everyone else, so I offer these words as friendly advice rather than strong opinion.
May the Infinite continue to guide and bless you, to love you as its very own self, and to shine through you with love for all mankind.
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