New Age Movement & Spirituality

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  • 0:01 New Age Seekers
  • 1:08 The New Age Movement
  • 2:31 Patterns of New Age Seekers
  • 4:42 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Jason Nowaczyk

Jason has a masters of education in educational psychology and a BA in history and a BA in philosophy. He's taught high school and middle school

The following lesson will cover some general patterns of the New Age Movement and how it differs from a traditional religion. A short quiz will follow the lesson to check your understanding.

New Age Seekers

When I mention a major religion like Judaism or Hinduism, you may not know the specifics of what that religion stands for, but you do know that there are at least some specifics that set them apart. Most major religions have a set of rules, laws, and beliefs that everyone who subscribes to that religion all share. That's for all intents and purposes what the definition of religion is.

Now, what if I were to tell you that there's a religion that has no definitive holy text, central organization, dogma, or membership? Could we then even consider this a religion? Perhaps not. Instead, the description I listed above is less a rigorous form of religion and is instead a more flexible form of spirituality in which people pick and choose certain beliefs and practices that satisfy their need to make sense of a complex world. People who subscribe to this flexible form of spirituality are known as New Age seekers who have formed as part of a larger event known as the New Age Movement.

The New Age Movement

The New Age Movement is a spiritual movement that spread through religious communities in the 1970s and 80s. It looked forward to a heightened sense of spiritual enlightenment and personal transformation that was brought about by a strong wave of spiritual energy that would wash over the Earth as it entered a new astrological cycle known as the Age of Aquarius. The New Age Movement united a body of diverse believers with two simple ideas.

First, it predicted that a New Age of heightened spiritual consciousness and international peace would arrive and bring an end to racism, poverty, sickness, hunger, and war. This social transformation would result from the massive spiritual awakening of the general population during following generations. Second, individuals could obtain a sneak preview, if you will, of the New Age through their own current spiritual transformation.

However, you can probably see, we still have racism, sickness, and war in our society only a generation later. Thus, the New Age movement as it was first understood was rather short-lived. It still does exist in some form but again, it's not in a form that any one person could point to and say 'yes, this is a New Age seeker.' However, there are some general patterns we can look towards to understand a bit more about New Age seekers.

Patterns of New Age Seekers

All of humankind desires to achieve some sort of goals, whether it be health, security, wealth, social status, or something else. In the pursuit of these goals, humans look for ways to achieve these goals and things that may prevent them from being achieved. Successful explanations are definite and straightforward to follow, like recipes or instructions. However, when a reward is hard or even impossible to get within the natural world, like life after death, humans often imagine ways of seeking it that involve supernatural forces, realms, or beings, like the concept of a divine being and heaven.

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