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Record Type: Review   ID: 729

Gods Within: A Critical Guide to the New Age

Perry, Michael

 A Church of England prelate takes a firsthand look at the New Age movement and the Christian response to it. Michael Perry is editor of the Chrisitian Parapsychologist and has written several books that touch on aspects of exceptional human experience beginning with the Easter Enigma, a review of the evidence for the Resurrection. He points out that the burgeoning growth of the New Age movement is in part a reflection of Christianity's failure to answer the spiritual needs of people today. He also points out that the ideas associated with New Age thinking have been around for a long time, but New Agers have given them a new twist. He observes that the New Age is not an organized movement but is "a way of looking at the world or ... of understanding our relation to the universe" (p. 6). In this book he tries first to enter into New Age ideas and to understand them. He then criticizes them and attempts to show how Christianity offers "a more excellent way" (p. 7). He examines the concepts of human potential, rediscovering ancient wisdom. At base, the New Age thinking emphasizes personal spiritual experience and ways of cultivating it. These are discussed in chapters devoted to various automatisms, crystals, witchcraft, Goddess worship, the Gaia movement, NDEs, reincarnation, channeling (with the emphasis on communications that "offer help, counsel, and guidance to the whole of the human race" [p. 117] rather than to individuals), and shamanism. In the last two chapters he discusses Christian responses to New Age ideas, and whether people have turned to the New Age because Christianity really is lacking and so is in need of revision or what has been rejected is but "a parody of Christianity" (p. 140). He shows how on key concepts Christianity differs from the global pantheistic spirituality of the New Agers.
Publisher Information:London, England: SPCK, 1992. 178p. Bibl: 169-175; Chap. notes: 161-168; Index: 176-178
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