Two Kinds of Cult Apologists Basically, there are two kinds of cult apologists: It should be noted that just as anticult - and countercult professionals operate from different perspectives, cult apologists do so as well.
Much has already been said about the New Age Movement, and much more will be said. I had asked the specialist, Jean Vernette, to dedicate a subheading to "Movements of the New Age" in the third edition of my Italian work, Grande Dizionario delle Religioni The Comprehensive Dictionary of Religionswhich describes them in the following words: Recently an Italian journal on religious culture entitled: Religioni e sette nel mondo Religions and Sects in the World,published three times a year, devoted two special issues to the New Age Movement.
In my editorial column, I presented this phenomenon in this way: It is a religious challenge, which is at the same time a cultural one; the New Age Movement sets forth theories and doctrines about God, man and the world, which are incompatible with the Christian Faith.
Furthermore, the New Age Movement is both the symptom of a culture in deep crisis and the wrong answer to this situation of cultural crisis, its worries, questions, aspirations and hopes" Religioni e sette nel mondo; Religions and Sects in the World, 6,p.
Present document on New Age Today, together A discussion on the collaboration of a new religious movement Archbishop Fitzgerald, I have the honour of presenting a Document on the phenomenon, which was drafted by Rev.
It is the fruit, therefore, of a long and authentic collaboration between offices [of the Holy See] in order to help provide an answer, with "gentleness and respect", as the Apostle Peter once recommended 1 Pt 3,15 to this religious and cultural challenge.
Today, Western culture, now followed by many others, has passed from an almost instinctive awareness of God's presence to what is often called a more "scientific" view of reality.
Everything must be explained in terms of our daily experience. Whatever makes one think of miracles immediately becomes grounds for suspicion. As a result, all symbolic actions and objects, known as sacramentals, once part of the daily religious practice of every Catholic, are today far less evident in the religious panorama than they once were.
The reasons for such a change are numerous and diverse, but they all come down to the noticeable cultural shift from traditional forms of religion to more personal and individualistic expressions of what is now being called "spirituality". It seems that there are three specific reasons at the heart of such a change.
Loss of sense of personal God The first lies in the feeling that traditional religions or institutions no longer give what they once claimed they could provide. Some people in their view of the world are really unable to find any room for believing in a transcendent, personal God, and the experience for many has driven them to ask whether this God has the power to bring about change in this world, or if He really even exists at all.
The dreadful experiences that have convulsed the world have made some people very cynical towards religion. I have in mind terrible events like the Holocaust and the repercussions of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the Second World War.
I came to realize it personally during the course of my recent visit to Nagasaki when I had the privilege of praying but utterly unable to find the words before a monument dedicated to the memory of those whose lives were cut short or compromised forever on that August day of Today the threat of a war in the Middle East reminds me of my father's reminiscences as a stretcher bearer, during the Second World War.
The things he told me about the horrors of war makes it easier for me to understand the doubts that people have about God and religion.
The bewilderment of so many people before the suffering of the innocent, which is also exploited by certain movements, explains in part why some believers go over to them.
There is another reason to explain a certain anxiety and a certain rejection of the traditional Church. Let us not forget that in ancient Europe, pre-Christian, pagan religions were very strong, and often, unseemly conflicts took place linked to political change that have been inevitably labelled as Christian oppression of ancient religions.
One of the most significant developments in what may roughly be called the "spiritual" sphere in the last century was a return to pre-Christian forms of religion. The pagan religions have had a considerable role in supporting some of Europe's most violent and racist ideologies, thus reinforcing the conviction according to which certain nations have an historic role of world-wide importance in such a way as to have the right to subject other peoples, and that has almost inevitably brought with it a hatred for the Christian religion, which is seen as a new arrival on the religious scene.
The complex series of phenomena, known by the term of "neo-pagan" religions, reveal the need felt by some to invent new ways to "counter-attack" Christianity and return to a more authentic form of religion, a religion more closely bound to nature and the earth. For this reason, one has to recognize that there is no place for Christianity in the neo-pagan religions.
Like it or not, a struggle is taking place to win the hearts and minds of people in the interrelations between Christianity, ancient, pre-Christian religions, and their more recently developed "cousins".
Rise of Eastern spiritualities 5. The third reason, at the origin of the rather wide-spread disillusionment with institutional religion, derives from a growing obsession in Western culture with Oriental religions and the paths of wisdom. When it became easier to travel outside of their own continent, adventurous Europeans began exploring places that they had previously known only by consulting the pages of ancient texts.
The lure of the exotic put them into a closer contact with the religions and esoteric practices of various Oriental cultures from Ancient Egypt to India and Tibet.
The growing conviction that there exists a deep-down truth, an essence of truth in the heart of every religious experience has led to the idea that they can and must gather the various elements from different religions in order to reach a universal form of religion.
Once again, in such an enterprise there is little room for institutionalized religions, especially for Judaism and Christianity. That is worth remembering the next time you come across a public advertisement for Tibetan Buddhism or some sort of gathering with a guru; these are all things you will often have the opportunity of seeing in any European capital.
My concern is the fact that many people, involved in such types of Eastern or "indigenous" spirituality, are really not in a position of being fully aware of the implications behind the first invitation to observe these gatherings.
Furthermore, it is also worth noting the fact that for a long time now one finds a vibrant interest for esoteric religion amongst certain Masonic circles that aspire to a universal religion.A discussion of the coming movement of false relgious unity. Many Christians will be challenged during these times because of the secular thought that there are many different paths to God.
At the end of the age there will be a false, global religion and justice movement.
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