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On the new Age-Occult Connection
On Monday morning, August 26, 1991, residents of Waterville, Maine, opened their morning newspaper to find a column by Bill Cripe entitled “New Age Advocates Are Entering the World of the Occult.” Bill’s extremely articulate column, “Looking Up”, appears biweekly in the Central Maine Morning Sentinel.
On August 26, Bill wrote that the one thing horoscopes, tarot cards, channeling, Ouija boards, spirit guides, crystals, meditation, guided imagery, and visualization have in common is that they are all elements of the “new religion” which has been subsumed under the broad classification of The New Age.
Bill wrote that “the New Age Movement is a counterfeit religion bent on destroying the freedom, will, and well-being of its adherents. At the core of the movement,” he said, “is the ludicrous assertion that we are all gods. Well-meaning devotees are, however, being duped, for they are merely pawns in a spiritual struggle for their minds and souls,” wrote Cripe.
The column went on to rather carefully document these bold charges. Cripe quoted from such New Age authorities as author Ruth Montgomery and Theosophical Society founder Helena Blavatsky. He concluded his column by suggesting that the “ascended masters” and “spirit guides” that New Agers are inviting to inhabit their bodies are none other than the “deceitful spirits” that the Bible warns about in I Timothy 4:1. “The goal of the New Age is not global peace and harmony as its victims suppose,”, stated Cripe. It is rather “a doctrine of demons perpetrated by deceitful spirits against the unsuspecting”.
Nine days after Bill Cripe’s column appeared, Patrick Bagley of Madison, Maine, wrote a letter to the newspaper editor. In his published letter, Bagley charged Cripe as trying to be scholarly, but said that he was really a “melodramatic paranoid” who must have crawled out from under some rock. He agreed that the New Age movement has roots based in pagan beliefs, but stated that New Age proponents are really trying to return to an age of simpler religion when people worshipped the forces of nature. He said that the New Age Neo-Pagans –Wiccans and Druids– really have no need to try to make themselves look good to “puffed up, self-righteous hypocrites who claim to be the majority”, i.e. Christians.
Bagley went on to point out that Christianity has also incorporated many elements of Paganism. He said that today people do not even question the origins of their beliefs, but simply go along with what the establishment tells them. He concluded by quoting television (CNN) magnate Ted Turner who once said, “Christianity is a religion for losers.” “Right on, Ted”, wrote Bagley.
I’ve never met Patrick Bagley. Although I tried calling him, I was unable to reach him by phone as this thoughtletter was being prepared for publication. I do, however, know Bill Cripe. I have never known him to demonstrate any signs of “paranoia”. To my knowledge, Bill lives what he writes and can hardly be considered a “puffed up…hypocrite”. Furthermore, I am convinced that Bill’s column was largely motivated out of a genuine concern for those “unsuspecting” individuals who are looking for something more in life, but who are really getting a lot more than they are bargaining for in the “package” of New Age religion.
Finally, as it turns out, Bill’s contentions are not without substantial documentation. After considerable research of my own, and with all good will to Patrick Bagley and others who may disagree with us, I am most definitely weighing in with Bill Cripe’s conclusions. For readers interested in further study, I am recommending five books, all of which can be ordered through most retail bookstores:
1) America: The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice, Hunt & McMahon, Harvester House, 1988