Eastern, New Age Beliefs Widespread
Dec. 9, 2009
The religious beliefs and practices of Americans do not fit neatly into conventional categories. A new poll by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that large numbers of Americans engage in multiple religious practices, mixing elements of diverse traditions. Many say they attend worship services of more than one faith or denomination -- even when they are not traveling or going to special events like weddings and funerals. Many also blend Christianity with Eastern or New Age beliefs such as reincarnation, astrology and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects. And sizeable minorities of all major U.S. religious groups say they have experienced supernatural phenomena, such as being in touch with the dead or with ghosts.
As one commentator said, “"That kind of religious individualism is the American religion." While having choices is good, that can never mean that all choices are equal. Put another way, having choices does not mean that the alternatives from which we may choose are equal.
But beyond that, the situation here is that of people trying to produce new options by mixing the choices available to them. In many areas, this is fine. Mixing fashion styles, food styles, etc. is harmless and fun. American culture is, almost by design, an amalgamation of sources.
But when we come to the matter of religion, a new dynamic comes into play. This is because, by its very nature, Christianity is not “mixable.” It is about “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” It is about Jesus Christ Who is famous for His claim to be the Way, the only Way to the Father. I could go on but you get the idea. It is about there being no other name than Jesus given to us by which we must be saved.
When you attempt to “mix” Christianity, because of it’s very nature, you can expect only a spiritual mess. It is rather like the color experiments that I remember trying when I was in grade school – something I think most people have tried.
It probably started with finger paints. You mixed blue and yellow to get green. Perhaps you tried stirring up some red with some yellow to get orange. But at some point, you surely tried something I did: mix all the colors together. What do you get? I got a hideous pool that was grayish-purple. It was horrid, simply horrid as far a colors go.
Something very similar happens when you attempt to ‘mix’ Christianity with other religions. The ‘mixture’ will always be a horrible distortion of all the elements that are mixed, a frightful shade of grey spirituality that is both ugly and worthless. Some things just don’t mix well. The Christian faith is one of those.