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Publisher: Faith Words , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title The author believes that over the past forty years movements like New Age spirituality and society's obsession with human potential have combined like a "perfect storm" to redefine for popular culture what has been for centuries the classic biblical definition of the person, work, and teaching of Jesus Christ. Review : "Ravi Zacharias gives a powerful defence of how Jesus Christ brings meaning and hope to an individual life.
Sproul Book Description : Bestselling author Ravi Zacharias investigates the reinvention, redefinition, and reinterpretation of the person and teachings of Jesus Christ by Western culture and offers a defence of the Jesus portrayed in the Bible. Buy New View Book. How else does one watch comedians humor their way out of embarrassing and frankly immoral situations?
The message is massaged into the subconscious by media that make the undesirable attractive and the good appear boring and flat, while shattered lives look intriguing and full of the divine. Worldviews are being smuggled in by the power of the lens, far beyond what any evangelist could have done.
If the person promoting the fantasy is incapable of defending it and wishes to be taken seriously, then it becomes clever to inject into the argument a dose of the final authority—science. What novelists were to existentialism and deconstructionists were to postmodernism, pseudoscience or selective science has become to the postmodern spiritual quest.
This is quite ironic. At its core, postmodernism is a philosophy of inexactitudes. But in an effort to find credence, it goes to the exact sciences. The wiggled-in entry point is generally the branch of science called quantum physics so that it can seem to hold on to the worlds of the empirical and the uncertain at the same time. Although the brain absorbs universes of information, little is admitted into normal consciousness. And so the abnormal is now normal in entertainment, because the normal is treated as subnormal in the world of the media.
That, I can assure you, is consciously done. He does not need God to explain the universe. Gravity does that. So while Richard Dawkins, an atheist, espouses that this show on earth is the only show in town, Hawking suggests that though our show may be the only show in town, there may be other towns, perhaps many of them. And one day, supposedly, we will discover those other towns or, more to the point, we will be found to be just one of many.
In a strange way, the New Spirituality may comfortably cling to both positions—this town that we know and the make-believe towns that are made by science to look real. In a made-to-order spirituality, the multiverse theory may also be positioned as being inside us, not just outside. In a not-so-subtle way, we are beginning to believe that we are inhabited by a multiverse within us.
Coming to terms with what is happening, then, we have a multiverse within us, immersed in the pluriverse around us, in which we are pursuing an imaginary universe that will unite us. And all this is done in dark theaters or in the privacy of our own homes, giving us the illusion of being entertained while we are actually being indoctrinated by ideas that are deliberately planted within us.
This is truly to have our cake and eat it, too. It makes for a charming story, but the spoiler is that our depravity gets in the way. Everyone knows that Karl Marx said that religion is the opiate of the people. The New Spirituality has solved that dilemma. We have found a religion that has helped us to revolve around ourselves, and once we have believed that the spiritual imagination needs no boundaries because we are gods, everything becomes plausible and nothing needs justification.
We are now in the precarious situation where science has given us the tools—and possibly the imperative—to convey fiction, and fiction has the persuasive power of science. This is the New Spirituality. But when crossing borders worldviews often collide, and on that, there is a strange silence. When Deepak Chopra a household name to many in the spirituality movement of our time was on a program with scientist Richard Dawkins, he tried to smuggle some terminology of quantum physics into his argument. Dawkins, rather puzzled, asked him what his spiritual theory had to do with quantum.
It is one thing for Deepak Chopra to impress the popular audience with scientifically rich terms, but when pushed by a rigorously pure scientist, all of a sudden his science becomes a metaphor… whatever that means! Chopra looked like a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar. But gurus can get away with saying nothing if they cloak it in ponderous terminology. By the visual media and a selective if not perverted use of science, new consciousness patterns were introduced into the West just four decades ago when Transcendental Meditation TM made its first foray onto Western soil.
The lead voices at that time caught the West on the turn culturally, and the result was a fork in the road in Western spirituality. As innocuous as it seemed then, it has redefined spirituality for Western culture so that a whole new way of thinking about ultimate reality has emerged. These meditation experts offered a systematized teaching that could plumb the depths of the subconscious and enumerate several states of consciousness. And while scientists talked of dimensions far beyond the three we know, spiritualists jumped into the narrative with a meditation technique that was actually more of a psychological theory of the spirit, though it was asserted as an exact science.
Starting from the crassness of the material world, their theories led to a spiritual journey that progressed through different stages of meditation to a state of dreamless sleep and, ultimately, to attaining a transcending sense of cosmic consciousness where the pilgrim became one with the universe. To be sure, we were told again and again that TM was not a religion; it was merely what sages have taught for centuries, nothing more than a method to awaken the dormant divinity within each one of us. It was continually reemphasized that one did not have to change their religion in order to participate in this spirituality.
The magical potion in these meditative techniques was not a spinning top, as in Inception , but the taming of the spinning mind. And as a culture, we entered the brave new world of self where everything is viewed through individual, tailor-made lenses. At the same time that we were on the cusp of technological advances, our high-paced lives and stress were tearing us apart inside. How and where could we experience both technology and spirituality? The best of Western technological advances combined with the best of Eastern ancient divinizing techniques made for the inception of a nirvanic world where we could become the new avatars.
The meditative techniques that were introduced to the West four decades ago were a hybrid of automation and stagnation: If only this spiritual secret could be transmitted through the utterance of some words of empowerment by a teacher who has already attained this nirvanic bliss, what peace would ensue individually and cosmically! There was a time in the West—not so long ago—when words like mantra, chakra, tantra, moksha , and nirvana needed explanation. They are still not generally understood, even by most of those who use them regularly, but they make for an intellectual veneer in a subculture.
The ensuing patent wars that have emerged over which theory or guru owns the rights to yoga are a bizarre twist in these spiritual schemes that are purported to release stress and induce peace. Stay tuned! We will fight one another verbally or legally for the right to preach a stress-free life, and do so with material means for material gains, all for the glories of a nonmaterial transcendence.
I was pondering the other day how much in our lives has to do with boxes: We give gifts in boxes, we buy our food in boxes, we drive in boxes, we live in boxes, we sleep in boxes, and we ultimately leave this world in a box.
But this brand of spirituality hates to be boxed in by absolutes, so the edges of reason are erased and spirituality oozes into another realm like a vapor or a cloud. As boundaries have been erased our world has changed, and the means by which we now share this world are not necessarily that far removed from planting ideas in a mind that is half asleep. In the world of non-isms, you are introduced to terminology that seems to have magic powers. You make an appointment for a massage and are told that they will work on your chakras so that you will reach the tantric stage and ultimately nirvana.
I shall resist further comment on this right now. This form of spiritual communication has unfortunately hijacked reality and holds truth hostage, never to be released until one is willing to pay the price of relativism. Couched in jellylike terminology, reality reshapes itself, and rather than being a constant, it can become whatever you want it to be. But like the actors who still have to leave the set and live in the real world, we all now have to return from the escape of a story to the harsh questions of our private worlds.
Where can we find reality the way it was meant to be? Allowing ourselves to be beguiled by foreign terms is not consolation for reality. The greatest and most notable casualty of our times in which we are inundated with spiritual terminology is, unquestionably, truth. Some years ago I sat in as a visitor on a trial in London at the Old Bailey.
It was the trial of a man accused of raping two minor girls. I was there for the opening arguments, watching from the gallery. Do you understand me? If you have the answers, give them to me. I want the truth. Here is my question: If the truth is so important in one isolated courtroom case, how much more important is it in the search for the spiritual answers to our deepest hungers?
From its value, to its power, to its deification, even as an abstract category truth becomes the final question in any conflict. Yet, again and again we find ourselves uncertain as to what truth means and why it matters. The irony is that he was standing in front of the one Person who, as the personification and embodiment of Truth, could have given him the answer.
Truth is that foundational reality we often resist but that, ultimately, we cannot escape. Nothing is so destructive as running from the truth, even as we know it will always outdistance us. Tragically, we seem to be at a time in our cultural history when we no longer care about this question whatsoever. Seduced by terminology carried by a media that distorts, we willingly, it seems, buy into a lie. From the news to the weather to advertising to entertainment, we are sold feelings , not truth. I have often pondered the vast terrain of uncertainties that surround us: mystery —we love mysteries and are held in their grip; manipulation —we dabble with the mind and find it fascinating; money —we all fear it, yet we all live immersed in it; more —we all spend most of our lives either earning it or desiring it, hardwired, it seems, to keep adding to what we have already accumulated.
When mystery, the manipulation of the mind, and the accumulation of wealth are offered to us all tied up in one neat package, our dreams are being tapped into and we have become the dream-givers, having our dreams taken from us.
Add to this the dimension of music or chanting, and we have the beat to which we can lull ourselves into other consciousnesses. Mystery, the manipulation of the mind, the desire for money and accumulation of wealth, music—what a recipe for feeling! One practioner of Ayurvedic medicine sums it up by saying that you can create your own universe out of desire; that when you empty your mind and focus on the thing you want, the distance between you and your desire disappears, your brain cells rejuvenate, and you become open to all possibilities.
Such is the vocabulary and narrative of the New Spirituality, which has leveraged and thrived on a privatized logic while claiming the ultimate strength of philosophy wedded to science. But how did we get here? How did we reach such an incredible way of reasoning? Who stole the fire of reason from us? As an easterner, raised in the East, I see such irony in all this. A short time ago I was asked to address a small group of the entertainment elite in the East. They sat listening with courtesy and concentration as I reminded them that they were the icons of our time, the envy of the masses, while they themselves knew that inside each of them was a big vacuum.
By the end of the talk, some were in tears and after the talk there was a lineup of these successful people, asking for time alone and the opportunity to open up the depths of their own struggles.
I admired their candor and transparency. As I left that setting, I thought to myself, Why are we always beguiled by something foreign? The movies of the East have been played out in an artificial dream world interwoven with the spiritual long enough. The lyrics of their music often speak of disappointment. The setting for a very popular song in the Hindi language is a man standing in front of a sage, asking his advice. He sings that he has been to the holy river and to the holy sites, but his heart is still searching for fulfillment.
It is not gold or silver that he is seeking; it is the fulfillment of his soul. Pilgrims go to the sacred sites of India by the millions, in search of inner liberation. The devout of every religion embark on spiritual journeys in the hope of finding God. The song describes the thrill of touching the green, green grass of home and seeing loved ones long missed.
But as the story progresses, we get to the last verse. Yes, those who know the song know the ending. The singer is on death row, and the morning brings the harsh reality of his last steps to the grave, a different green, green grass than that with which the song begins. We all have yearnings and longings.
We all dream of hope and peace. We all long to align our hearts with ultimate reality. We need to be grateful for at least one thing that the New Spiritualists have done: They have awakened us to a place of our need. We all search for deep fulfillment and yearn for answers that are satisfying at the level of our feelings, not just at the philosophical level of truth and logic. Is there somewhere that the two existences align? Stay with me as we endeavor to broach this subject in the pages ahead and find some life-transforming answers.
Barely twenty years after trying to reshape the world in the horrific aftermath of the Second World War, America was caught in a war of her own making from which she has not recovered. In the backdrop was the Civil Rights movement, guilt over the past, cultural blunders, and spiritual hungers.
And in the foreground was a brewing rebellion as the young questioned why they were being sent into a war in Vietnam that they felt was unnecessary and ultimately unwinnable. It was the perfect storm for the overthrow of what had been believed and held inviolable for generations. This was also a time of forging new horizons, nationally. The landing on the moon did not merely happen; the nation actually watched it happen on the new television sets in our own living rooms.
The medium of viewing at home made the war cabinet room not a single location in some subterranean setting where war strategy was determined. Rather, every household was able to watch the carpet-bombing by the Bs. The pictures of war that could be seen and experienced at home through television changed the war from one fought just on the battlefield and brought it into each home.
The burning of draft cards and the uprising from within the nation made the Vietnam War a very personal thing. More than fifty thousand individual lives were ultimately lost. And the nation returned from the war with its soul in a body bag. The camera had won the battle of seeing and believing. The world, and America in particular, was foundationally transformed. The zeal of the young, combined with the material means that their parents had fought to give them and the invasiveness of the medium of television, made for a powerful overthrow of the reigning worldview.
There were really several wars going on. It was really the absolutizing of relativism, the new anti-values value. The Cold War was at its grimmest and weapons of intimidation and destruction were piling up, with each superpower living in fear of the other.
Why Jesus?: Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spiritu – Covenant Bookstore
The battle was carried into the universities, whose own academic experts were flaying America, and the intelligentsia hit hard at political demagoguery, as they called it. At the same time, the race struggle was reaching conflagration points on many fronts. Watts became synonymous with rioting. And all this was reflected in the arts as rock stars changed the mathematical rules of music and discord became entertainment.
Noise became deafened to reason. Woodstock became the stage for selling propriety in exchange for public nudity. Sexual mores were questioned as the gender exploitations of the past came home to roost. In all of these areas of debate there was just one identifiable winner. At the time, most people failed to understand the power of the media to change their views and reshape their thinking.
Instead of viewing the world through the medium of television, they allowed the medium to define the world for them. A new purveyor of truth and relevance was in the making, one that has triumphed over all and is here to stay. There is a war raging. It is the battle for thought and belief through a weapon of mass deconstruction. In that battle, it is not firepower we need to fear as much as it is electronic power.
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From the conscious to the subconscious we are in its grip. From wars in different lands to battles for moral acceptability, the television set has won the day. I stress this because I believe that almost none of the New Spiritualities would be so pervasive if it were not for the genius and built-in distortion of television. It reinforces what we want to believe, and if what we want to believe is what we are told to believe through the medium, no amount of logic or argument can shake that conviction.
Whichever way you want to look at it, television—and now viral media—is the shaper of everything we think and believe. We are intended to see through the eye, with the conscience. Instead, the visual media, especially television and movies, manipulates us into seeing with the eye, devoid of the conscience, whose role it is to place parameters around what we see. The supremacy of the eye-gate makes it easy to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. Seeing is believing, it is said. But by seeing something only in its narrow sense, one may miss the big picture and believe something that is actually not true.
And that belief, even though it may be false, may become the generator of culture and national mood. What is it about television and movies that makes them both attractive and dangerous? In so many ways, television is truly a fantastic medium. Which of us who watched the first landing on the moon can ever forget the awe-inspiring sight? How incredible it is that we can sit at home and watch some of the greatest performers, as if they were in our own living rooms! The experience of being able to watch a great sporting event or national and world event such as a royal wedding or the funeral of a great leader or a national memorial service is a memory that lasts forever.
It allows the imagination to soar and gives wings to dreams. The imagination is one of the most vulnerable, though fascinating, faculties that we humans have. No, he said, he was not a dreamer, just offering possibilities.