Not everyone who wears a cross is a Christian. Likewise, not everyone who owns a crystal is a New Ager. To accurately identify New Agers we must move beyond superficial symbols such as crystals, unicorns, and rainbows to identify their beliefs and practices.
First, New Agers hold to pantheistic monism. Thus, in their view, God is all, all is God, and all is one. Additionally, they believe that the universe operates under the law of karma and its corollary, the doctrine of reincarnation.
Furthermore, the goal of New Agers is to spiritually evolve and tap into their human potential through the help of “ascended masters” or spirit guides. To attain such enlightenment New Agers engage in occult practices such as astrology, magic, psychic healing, out-of-body experiences, and meditation. In New Age meditation, for example, the goal is to stamp out the self—and to become one with the impersonal cosmic consciousness of the universe. In sharp contrast, biblical meditation seeks to center one’s self on the personal Creator of the universe—and does so through a singular focus on Scripture (Joshua 1:8).
Finally, New Agers share the vision of a coming “age of Aquarius” that is marked by global peace, prosperity, and planetary transformation. Their ultimate goal is encapsulated in such catchphrases as “global village” and “planetary consciousness.” Far from being a monolith, however, the New Age movement is a multifaceted amorphous network of organizations such as Planetary Initiative for the World, Divine Light Mission, and Self-Realization Fellowship, loosely linked yet autonomous.
For further study, see Douglas R. Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1986); for a comprehensive work, see Elliot Miller, A Crash Course on The New Age Movement (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1989).
“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD.”