Many businesses today regularly hire private consultants who conduct seminars and workshops designed to help boost personnel productivity and improve management performance. Given their overwhelming numbers, how can we know if a seminar has a New Age orientation?

THE NEW AGE SEMINAR- The Human Potential Movement
No doubt, the New Age movement has managed to reap for itself a handsome reward by its venture into the business world. Major firms like IBM, AT&T, and Eastman Kodak have at one time or another bought into seminars playing to the beat of the human potential movement — a key element of New Age philosophy — which promises to help individuals tap into their unlimited capabilities.

THE NEW AGE SEMINAR- Some Questions to Ask
And as businesses are always on the lookout for “self-starters” and innovative employees, they are usually more than willing to give such seminars a try. However, these neatly packaged programs are more than often stuffed with New Age values — for example, Werner Erhard’s The Forum, and PSI World.In response to these developments, noted New Age critic, Doug Groothuis, offers these seven questions to help us identify New Age seminars:

  • First, does the seminar stress visualization as the key to success?
  • Second, is heavy emphasis placed on praising yourself?
  • Third, are Eastern meditation and other so-called “psychotechnologies” being peddled as stress-reduction techniques?
  • Fourth, does the seminar promise to transform your life?
  • Fifth, does the seminar come with an expensive price tag?
  • Sixth, is there a high degree of secrecy about the program’s actual contents?
  • Finally, does the seminar require long hours outside of normal working schedule, along with mandatory attendance by your spouse?

Now, while these questions allow us to gauge the measure of New Age involvement of any given seminar, we should take care not to label a seminar immediately as New Age simply because it displays one of these characteristics. Rather, let these signs serve as warnings of possible New Age activity. On identifying New Age seminars, that’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.