New Age: Part 3

New Age: Part 3

Posted on Jul 24th, 2008 by Marmalade : Gaia Child Marmalade

Unity and New Thought denies evil any reality because God is all and all is in God.  There is no Satan and what appears as darkness is nothing more than a lack of light.  Just a false belief and a misperception.  As for sin (original or otherwise), evil, satan, and hell… its all the same in New Thought theology.  Good vs evil isn’t a dichontomy that is used in New Thought.  For instance, A Course In Miracles uses the terms of love and fear: “The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.”  There really isn’t any more that can be said of it from a New Thought perspective. 
 
I was raised with no concept of evil and so I never thought about it growing up.  Even though I now understand it in the abstract, it doesn’t have much meaning to me.  As my grandmother (who was a Unity minister, a Science of Mind practitioner, and a student of the ACIM) used to say, “Everyone is doing the best that they can for where they’re at.”
 
In New Thought, God has no gender because God isn’t an anthropomorphic deity.  Rather, God is a spiritual principle something akin to monism or panentheism.  New Thought is the natural result of the evolution of the Judeo-Christian tradition taken to its extreme.  The Catholic God is more abstract than the Jewish God.  The Protestant God is more abstract than the Catholic God.  The New Thought God is more abstract than the Protestant God.  As rationality increased with socio-histoical development, God became ever more rationalized.
 
Unity uses the term “God” to refer to the divine, but the use of the term “Goddess” in reference to the divine is extremely common in New Age.  Even in Unity, nobody would care if you felt like referring to the divine as Goddess. 
 
Goddess combines the whole feel of embodied spirituality that is in line with the New Age’s desire to bridge spirituality and science.  The Gaia hypothesis is a case in point.  It was originated by a scientist, but was quickly spiritualized and has become one of the main tenets of New Age.  Nature and environmentalism are very important in the New Age. 
 
Plus, Goddess fits in with the whole female empowerment.  New Age groups have a high percentage of female membership and women often have leadership positions.  If I remember correctly, all of the ministers of Unity churches that I’ve belonged to have been women.  A major influence of the Goddess strain within New Age goes back to Gimbutas’ theory of ancient peaceful matriarchies.  Also, the rise of virgin mary worship has contributed to this.  New Age is the common person’s spirituality and virgin mary worship has a similar position within Catholicism.  There are many theories why the feminine principle is becoming more central.  I simply see it as the return of the repressed.
 
So, what is a Unity service like?  There is nothing particularly special about a Unity service.  Its very simple and bare bones.  Unity isn’t big into symbolism and ritual.
 
There is singing non-traditonal songs such as “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”  Come to think of it, God was referred to as Father in this song.  I just looked it up and I see that some versions have of course changed “Father” to “Creator”.  During the singing of this song, I remember that everyone held hands in a circle that connected the whole congregation together and everyone would sway back and forth.
 
Unity people are a smily and friendly group for the most part, but I have been to a Unity church nearby where the people weren’t as open as the Unity churches I grew up in.  One thing I remember is that people liked to hug and there was a specific point in the service that was for this purpose.  However, someone told me that Unity churches were much more huggy in the past than they are now.   I don’t know what would cause such a change.
 
Of course, there is a sermon.  But its quite different from most Christian sermons.  God is talked about in a less direct way.  There is much more neutral language.  Bible stories aren’t usually told.  Nonetheless, the whole service has a general Christian feel to it.

This blog is posted in the God Pod.

Access_public Access: Public 5 Comments Print Post this!views (140)  

about 4 hours later

Enlightened.thinker said

I love that Bible stories aren’t taught because ones interpretation of the story is sometimes askew in traditional churches and subjective!

Marmalade : Gaia Explorer

about 16 hours later

Marmalade said

I think the reason for this is that Unity strongly emphasizes developing your own personal relationship to Jesus/God.  A text tends to act as an external authority, but Unity teaches that the authority of God exists within our experience (and within the larger world).  A related thing might be how Unity bookstores stopped carrying the ACIM text because it was becoming too popular amongst Unity membership.  I’ve heard it explained that they didn’t want the ACIM text to become the Bible of Unity.  However, maybe they don’t want any text to become the Bible of Unity… not even the Bible itself.

Nicole : wakingdreamer

about 18 hours later

Nicole said

fascinating…

sandy : Activist and Ambassador

21 days later

sandy said

sending you lots of hugs!~

Marmalade : Gaia Child

22 days later

Marmalade said

Thanks for the hugs!  Hugs to you as well!

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “New Age: Part 3

  1. As a Unity Minister I just want to say that we embrace ACIM and have quite a large group that meets in our church each week. Yes we see God as spirit and not so much as a man or woman. The Bible is our basic text. However I encourage people to explore other writings that will help them gain understanding of their own spiritual nature and their personal relationship with Jesus and God.

    I find that sadly many churches are not as welcoming as some Unity Churches. In our congregation Hugging is the norm but we also recognize that for some close contact is uncomfortable. So we always extend a hand first and if a hand shake is what is desired that is respected. I think respect for each other and acknowledging that we can hold a wide diversity of beliefs and still look to see and honor what we have in common as children of the one God that is the Father/Mother/Creator of us all.

    • Hello Andy

      My only point about the ACIM is that they stopped selling it in Unity bookstores. It was my understanding that they stopped selling it because it was becoming too closely associated with the Unity Church and they didn’t want people to think that ACIM entirely represented the theology of Unity. But I don’t know if that is true. It’s just what I heard in the past when I was a member of Unity.

      I understand that the Bible is Unity’s basic text since, afterall, Unity is Christian. I was only sharing my own experience, but each church might be different and I’ve only attended 3 Unity churches in my life. The church I attended in high school is the one I have the clearest memories of. There was a Sunday school I attended, but I honestly don’t recall discussing specific passages from the Bible, but I’m sure the Bible came up in discussions often even if it wasn’t as central as it is for some churches.

      As you’re a Unity Minister, I have a question for you. I’d heard that Landmark Forum had been gaining popularity within the membership of the Unity Church. Is that true or not? What do you personally think of Landmark Forum?

  2. Benjamin,
    While it sometimes gets lost in practice, from Unity center to Unity center, the movement was based upon “Practical Christianity” and the Bible is the textbook.
    In Oneness,
    Rob

    • I personally don’t hold anything against Unity. It doesn’t matter to me how “Bible-centered” is Unity.

      I actually prefer some of the texts that the heresiologists left out of the Bible. The person who created the Bible actually had his own religion outside of the Catholic church and was denied as a heretic. As for ACIM, it’s theology is closest to Valentinus who was another heretic.

      I don’t think Christianity is limited to the Bible. I don’t think the texts accepted in the New Testament canon are any more worthy than the ones that were for political reasons left out.

      As you, didn’t answer my last question, I’ll assume you’d rather not be on the record as having any opinion on the matter. That could be interpreted as implying that the Landmark Forum is a contentious issue within Unity. I’ll take your silence as potentially an affirmation of the rumors I’ve heard. If the rumors are false, I’d appreciate a response… as an official representative or simply as a person with an opinion. I realize speaking ill of others isn’t the Unity way, but I think you can answer my question without directly speaking ill of anyone.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s