The Importance Of New Age Spirituality

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It is nothing new to stand in line at the grocery store checkout and overhear a fellow shopper complain about celebrities and their New Age religions as they peruse the headlines of People or US Weekly. While it is easy for them to judge Tom Cruise and his dedication to the Church of Scientology, or harrumph Madonna and the red string that adorns her wrist as she walks into The Kabbalah Centre, some of the people passing judgment may be overlooking a religion that hits a little closer to home for many Americans, Christianity. While Christianity and exotic New Age spirituality may seem worlds apart, a newer form of Christian spirituality which is promoted as the “Prosperity Gospel”, mirrors many of the habits of its New Age counterparts from …show more content…
It also takes the faith past its humble roots and forces the intended purpose of Jesus’ ministry to take second place to Western ideals such as capitalism and individualism. In addition, the rise of megachurches and their charismatic leaders pull the focus off God, and onto self-image. Overall, the Christian church suffers, as it continues to evolve past the original ministry of Jesus with preachers and followers treat spirituality as a commodity rather than an vital part of their faith. Jesus gained fame among his people when he began to perform miracles, often healing those that society would shun. Those miracles were not done with the expectation of payment, but as a sign of an ultimate love. While tithing is nothing new within Christian churches, the churches who sell the “Prosperity Gospel” often treat miracles and financial well-being as products that can be bought by members, bringing to mind the excesses of the Catholic Church at the time of Martin Luther when priests used to sell indulgences as a way into heaven. In The New York Times article “Preaching a Gospel of Wealth in a Glittery Market, New York”, reporter Michael Luo documented how followers of Reverend Creflo A. Dollar …show more content…
The “Prosperity Gospel” becomes the exact opposite as members ask for blessings in the form of money and property. Instead of serving others, members realign their values to the more Western notion of putting themselves first. The reason for this is explained by esteemed religious professor William C. Martin in Luo’s article on Creflo Dollar. Luo writes of Martin, “"One of the goals of America is for you to become prosperous," he said. "For the church to put a blessing on that and say, 'God wants you to be rich, ' is quite appealing"” (1). Essentially, followers have found a way around compromising the traditional Christian values set forth by Jesus, by convincing themselves that their American or Western values line up to what God wants of them. Famous prosperity preacher Joel Osteen has even written to his followers, “God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us”, (Falsani). By telling his followers that God wants them to have money in order to fulfill God’s plan, Osteen is again helping followers ease any guilty consciences they may have, because they can convince themselves that prospering in material goods is actually an essential part of their spirituality. Again, this idea that wealth is a

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