The Footprints of the Serpent: A Review Of The New Age Movement And Its Influence Upon Our Culture

Serpent Eyes

Footprints of the Serpent

This series, although somewhat modified in its present form, first appeared in 1986 in the old Gospel Anchor. There was a fair amount of research that went into the series. It was designed to enlist the reader in a critical examination of the philosophically united confederacy that was then beginning to call itself “the New Age movement.” This movement, which was referred to by some of its adherents as “the Aquarian Conspiracy,” was a curious blending of Humanism, ancient sorcery, Eastern religion, the occult, Gnosticism, the Human Potential Movement, and last, but not least, a smattering of modern physics thrown in for good measure. It reflected the shift that was then taking place in the worldview of Western culture—a worldview that has now been largely reformulated along New Age lines

Although Kipling told us that “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,” in reality, Western culture has been looking to the East for quite some time now. This has been going on long enough now that much of this no longer seems strange to many, even Christians. One of the purposes of this series is to document the shift that was already well underway some thirty years ago. When this series is behind you, you will have little problems understanding just how much you have been affected by this movement, as the shift that took place in the worldview of Western culture has truly touched us all, often below the level of conscious perception. For me personally, discovering the numerous influences of the New Age movement in my life, and in the lives of those around me, was much more shocking than when I first became aware of the threat of Humanism—a discovery that was nothing short of overwhelming.

It was in the wake of that Humanism that America became secularized. As a result, our institutions were cut off from Bible-based morality. We are adrift in a morass of existentialism, positivism, pluralism, and relativism. That this is entirely opposite of the Founding Fathers’ intent is easily deduced from an unbiased investigation of history. Contrary to the wishes of the Framers of the Constitution, Secular Humanism is now the entrenched religion of America.

Loss of Spiritually

As Western culture accepted the teachings of Humanism, spirituality was lost. Man, according to Humanists, is nothing more than a happening of cosmic chance who evolved from a bubble of amino acids into mechanistic life. As such, religion may be interesting from an anthropological perspective, but otherwise irrelevant. According to Humanists, man can legitimately be viewed only from the standpoint of biology and chemistry. Being, therefore, part of a closed system, man, according to this way of thinking, has no windows through which to see into eternity. Unable to probe eternity, Humanists have determined there is no God who can save them, and no moral absolutes by which they are to be governed. Believing “man is the measure of all things,” Humanists believe they are nothing more than animals, albeit somewhat more evolved than the rest of the animal kingdom, and as such, completely devoid of spirituality. According to these Humanists, if man has any chance of being saved, he must save himself.

Deified Man: The God Who Failed

At first, Humanists were quite optimistic about saving themselves. But after one utopian dream after another went awry, such optimism turned to pessimism and despair. World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, and hundreds of other little wars, as well as the specter of nuclear war that continues to overshadow the world, all served to demonstrate that deified man is not only a god who has failed, but one who has done so miserably! Well has Scripture said, “It is not within man that walketh to direct his steps.”[1]

When Humanism sours, it necessarily turns to nihilism, which is the belief that everything is meaningless and absurd. Bertrand Russell, one of its most famous adherents, wrote:

That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms: that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave: that all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried underneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy that rejects them can hope to stand. Only [on] the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation be safely built.[2]

Although Secular Humanism crowned man as the measure of all things, nihilism, its inevitable result, mocks the Humanist and informs him that he is the lord of nothing—nothing but a meaningless universe with no direction, destiny, or purpose. Even though Bertrand Russell seemed to have resolved himself to the meaninglessness and despair of nihilism, man, who has been created in the image of God, seeks transcendent meaning, purpose, and value in his existence. This is the way God made us, and although the Humanist intellectually rejects such a view, deep within him (in his heart, his soul, his spirit) he seeks, as do all, the true meaning of life.

Re-Discovering The Spiritual Nature Of Man

Faced with the bleakness of nihilism and prodded by his true spiritual nature, secular man began to seek answers to the important questions of life: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? Does my life have any meaning? Is there life after death? Deep within secular man, his neglected spiritual nature could no longer be suppressed. It told him that man’s existence was not as Shakespeare had said, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Quite to the contrary, secular man was again beginning to realize there was much more to life than simply the physical, mechanistic things. Indeed, there was something more to life than that which could be measured, weighed, touched, tasted, and seen. There was real spiritual significance to man’s existence, and he intended to re-discover, re-think, and re-learn all he could about it.

The Quest

Of course, the most likely thing for secular man to have turned to for instruction concerning his spiritual nature would have been the Bible. There he would have learned his true spiritual nature. There he would have learned about his glorious Creator. There he would have learned of a Creator who loved him so much that He was willing to give His only begotten Son so that he (man) could have eternal life. But, alas, the Bible was not what secular man turned to for enlightenment. Although realizing he had been wrong about his spiritual nature, secular man, who had allowed himself to be so thoroughly indoctrinated by Humanistic philosophy, was convinced that Christianity was a corrupt and worthless religion. Thus, having lost his religion, Western secular man began his quest for spiritual insight in a direction diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Bible. In doing so, he found it necessary to journey to the East. The result of that journey is what this series of posts are all about.

Nevertheless, secular man’s rejection of the Bible as a book with spiritual significance is not to be blamed totally on the influence of Secular Humanism. Many who have called themselves Christians are also to blame. Although those of us who have obeyed the gospel recognize that much that passes for Christianity has absolutely nothing at all to do with the religion of Christ, the truth of the matter is that most people in the world do not understand this. In reality, true New Testament Christianity is quite rare in the world. As a result, secular man has witnessed the sham of that which has prostituted itself as the real thing and has concluded it to be worthless. Mistakenly, he has thought the Bible to be the source of all the confusion, division, and downright meanness that has passed itself off as “Christianity.” And why not? Have not all the Catholic and Protestant churches, while teaching widely differing doctrines, claimed the Bible to be the source—and if not the source, then, at least, a source—of their authority? Is it any wonder then that secular man has considered the Bible, the book alleged to be the source of so much confusion and obvious evil, to be absolutely worthless?

Tuning Out And Turning On

The materialism that has become so prevalent in Western culture has been seen by many to be the direct result of “Christianity.” In trying to understand this reasoning, it must be remembered that when the philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, or economists use the term “Christianity,” they are not speaking of true Christianity at all. Instead, they are talking about the distorted, corrupt, and downright false religion of which we have already spoken. Furthermore, the “beatniks” of the fifties, the “hippies” of the sixties, the “me generation” of the seventies, and the “New Agers” of the eighties, may be correctly seen as a single continuum that is best described as a “counterculture.” All the bad aspects of Western culture, and the religion that supposedly made it that way, became the number one enemy of that counterculture. Claiming to be “turned off” by flagrant materialism, as well as the many other negative aspects of Western cultere, those in search of their spiritual roots during that time began to “tune out”” and “turn on.” The altered states experienced by the drug culture that ensued became the seedbed for the mystical experiences that many seemed to be searching for. Even those who were not turning on to drugs were having the same mind altering experiences through the various meditational techniques taught by Eastern religion.

The Counterculture Became Mainstream

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, a generation that had tuned out, dropped out, turned on, and freaked out, was no longer the counterculture. America’s pluralism obligingly provided the room for the counterculture to integrate itself into the mainstream of our modern secular and religious cultures. As a result, the Western worldview, which was originally grounded in a belief in the God of the Bible, was changed dramatically. Instead of the personal God of the Bible, much in post-Christian America now reflects the Eastern pantheistic concept of God as an impersonal Force that is everything. By altering his consciousness, Western man now claims to have discovered what has always been a major tenet of Eastern religions: Everything is God, and God is everything. Another way of saying this would be: All is one, and one is all. What it all means is that we, individually and collectively, are “God”! This was recognized almost forty years ago when the Spiritual Counterfeits Project of Berkeley, California, in their journal of August 1978, said:

At this point in Western cultural history, it is an understatement to say that Eastern metaphysics and the New Consciousness [the God within concept] have gained a significant following in our society. Just ten years ago the funky drug-based spirituality of the hippie and the mysticism of the Western yogi were restricted to the counterculture. Today, both have found their way into the mainstream of our cultural mentality. Science, the health professions, and the arts, not to mention psychology and religion, are all engaged in a fundamental reconstruction of their basic premises.[3]

The New Age And An Old Lie

The main impetus of the New Age movement was/is a very ancient lie. Satan, man’s ever present nemesis, is still in the business of selling the same old lie he sold to Mother Eve at the very beginning. In Genesis 3:5, it is recorded that Satan said, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” The deification of self, regardless of whatever particular form it takes, will always be the downfall of man. Instead of fulfilling its whispered promises of liberation and exaltation, the promises of personal liberation and exaltation that are imagined to come from discovering the so-called “God-consciousness” within have been, and will continue to be, the mechanisms Satan uses to degrade and enslave man.

Make no mistake about it, Western society is presently reflecting a new order, a new worldview, a New Age. It is nothing other than Humanism doctored up in spiritual terms. As such, it is but another attempt by Satan to destroy the work of Christ. The Old-New Age concept that man can achieve Godhood “is an integral part of the mystical world view that is making a coordinated thrust into every aspect of our cultural consciousness… It is not a fad, it will not go away, and it is fundamentally hostile to Biblical Christianity.”[4] As Marilyn Ferguson, herself an admitted “co-conspirator” and chronicler of the New Age movement, has so chillingly pointed out in her magnum opus:

Western society is at a pivotal point … Cultural transformation announces itself in sputtering fits and starts, sparked here and there by minor incidents, warmed by new ideas that may smolder for decades. In many different places, at different times, the kindling is laid for the real conflagration—the one that will consume the old landmarks and alter the landscape forever.[5]

Welcome, my brothers and sisters, to the NEW AGE, a religious movement that is currently eating our spiritual lunch. We’ll continue this study in the next post in this series


1Jeremiah 10:23.

2Bertrand Russell, Why I am Not A Christian, 1957, p. 107.

3Cited in Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy, 1980, pp. 369-370.


5Ferguson, Op. cit., p. 37.

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