Today in class we discussed the idea of spirituality and whether or not a person of a faith other than Christianity can be considered truly spiritual. This video train wreck is a prime example of so-called “new age” spirituality in which people are taught to connect to their “spiritual side” with no obvious explanation of with what, exactly, one is connecting – is it "the universe”, “a higher power”, “a spirit guide”…Satan himself? Does it even matter as long as it just feels right and what is desired is obtained without too much effort? Further, there is a sense that pretty much anything goes as long as you’re “tuned-in” and being “true to yourself” – whatever that means. Case in point is the manic wave of pop-spirituality that was inspired by the book, The Secret - a how-to guide in which new age spiritualism seems to mean actively engaging an unknown spirit world which can somehow be manipulated to arrange the universe in such a way that it will yield whatever the seeker seeks, no matter the practicality or morality of what is being sought. In essence, “the universe” becomes little more than a cosmic vending machine for those who are willing to believe they can control it at no cost to themselves or others. If history and economics have taught us nothing, they have taught us that nothing is free, and that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is…here on earth anyway.
I found that our class discussion tied in nicely with Neil Anderson’s writing on spiritual warfare in his book, The Bondage Breaker. Anderson talks about the book of I Timothy which describes mankind’s loss of faith and its subsequent following of false religions. We see Satan as the great deceiver whose most effective weapon in spiritual warfare is the well-crafted lie. As was pointed out to us today, even what is real may not be what is true. So while a person may be under the impression that they are in control of the spirit realm and have real evidence of their mastery (the car they wished for, a winning lottery ticket, a parking space close to Campus North, etc.), it should not be assumed that this perceived control is in any way related to God’s Truth or is God's will for us (or that there will not be a hefty spiritual price tag somewhere down the line) .
Christians should be clear on one thing at least: It’s not about us. We are not here to play God; nor are we here to manipulate the spiritual realm at our every whim. We’re here, foremost, to worship and love the One who created us, and also to love as we have been loved. We are here to serve God and our fellow man, not to be served by a legion of demonic foot servants.
For counselors, I think this means being ever wary of new age attempts to blur the line between God’s ONE truth and Satan’s innumerable deceptions. The most brilliantly concocted fabrications are the ones that are woven with threads of truth, and which ever so gradually move one away from God and toward self. We find evidence of this in postmodernist thinking which is pervasive in humanistic psychology. In the days ahead, as both counselors and Christians, we will doubtless find ourselves in greater and greater need of a solid understanding of Biblical truth as we seek not only to enshroud ourselves with the armor of God, but also to shepherd lost clients back to the one true path.