The article starts out with a narration of Mr. Horn’s emotional turmoil during and after his visit to a New Age store. The following is a quote from the passage: “In a derisive tone I said to my wife, ‘Can you believe some people's lack of intelligence?’” Is Mr. Horn saying that he is more intelligent than many people?
I then went on to read more and found Mr. Horn’s reactions after he leaves the store amusing. The following is his account of the incident: “Suddenly, a dull sensation hit me. It began in my stomach and shot upward through my head, impacting my equilibrium. As I stepped outside, into the main mall walkway, my head started to spin, my hands started shaking. I felt as if I was going to faint. It was literally as if an invisible terror had ‘jumped’ on me, and was somehow injecting powerful feelings of nausea and anxiety throughout my entire body. I tried shaking it off, but couldn’t. I attempted to walk it off and failed. At last, feigning interest in something, I moved away from my wife and began to pray. I asked the Lord to forgive me for my sarcastic attitude, my lack of caution, and for my want of concern for the lost. I prayed for deliverance from evil and for healing of the body and mind. After several hours of such walking and praying, I was finally restored.”
I would like to propose two alternative explanations to his reactions. The first explanation is that his feeling of guilt for being sarcastic probably manifests into physiological symptoms. The second explanation is a metaphysical one; God is working on him. God wants him to take a closer investigation of the materials in the store. That is why God causes the physiological symptoms in him to encourage him to stay in the store. That perhaps explains why his symptoms exacerbate after he leaves the store.
I am not trying to say that these ARE the explanations. I am only pointing out that Mr. Horn’s conclusion is premature because he fixates on believing that his explanation is the only plausible one. The truth is that there are millions of other explanations that could account for his symptoms.
For the rest of his article, he details that the New Age Movement is nothing but an act of the Devil. He even goes further into grouping all the major world religions and even breathing practices, which are health exercises, into his definition of the New Age Movement. He writes in his article: “Then the New Age Movement came along with its focus on human-potential and self-empowerment … Old-fashioned gospel preaching was replaced with positive thinking, self-realization, and pop psychology, and mystical experiences which tantalize the flesh were sanctioned as ‘the last great revival. … an inward-focusing generation … willing to trade their soul for whatever makes them happy is exactly what is necessary for the appearance of Antichrist, ‘stamp my hand if you’ll give me what I want’ is the required attitude.” Mr. Horn appears to be saying that New Age believers care nothing but their own selfish and immediate gratifications and in some cases, those gratifications are purely physical. I would like to challenge his believe by asserting that many New Age believers are people of high integrity. The idea behind self-empowerment is that once we take care of ourselves, we will have energy for others. When our needs are not met, our mental energy naturally focuses on fulfilling those needs and we thus have little resource left for others. Contrary to Mr. Horn’s belief, taking care of oneself is a vital part for the spiritual enhancement of humanity as a whole. Ideally, if each one of us could take care of ourselves, the entire humanity would automatically be healthy because individuals would no longer need to acquire help form others. Let me also stress that self-empowerment is a spiraling process that is in no way selfish. When we empower ourselves, we also gain energy to empower others. When we see others benefit from our efforts, we feel more empowered. It is therefore faulty to believe that self-sacrifice is the only way to enhance humanity’s growth.
The fallacy of Christian fundamentalism is that it believes Christianity is the only way to achieving salvation. When this belief is ingrained into our mind, we turn rigid and refuse to accept new ideas. We are conveying to others that we know the ultimate truth. When we think we already know the truth, we cease to learn and grow. This is an egocentric attitude.
Our believe systems are founded upon the assimilation of our personal experiences and knowledge up to the present point of our lives. For someone who has been exposed to Christianity and believes in it, Christianity automatically becomes the “right” religion. Same can be said for another person who has been exposed to, say, Muslim and believes in it; they both believe that they are right. Who then has the right belief? The answer depends on whom you ask. A Christian would most likely say the Christian had the right belief while a Muslim would say otherwise. Therefore, it is once again about ego; it is about demonstrating to others that you are more intelligent and thus able to find salvation while others cannot. This egocentric point of view could occur in a subconscious level. The persons themselves may not be aware of it.
To me, faith has two components: The first component is that faith is not swayable by external forces. The second component is that faith is yieldable to external forces. Furthermore, these two components make up a continuum of varying degrees of the two. These two seemingly contradictory components are beautifully represented in the Yin/Yen symbol. When one’s faith is strong, no demons can penetrate one’s believe. If Mr. Horn had strong faith in his religion, he would not have had all the physiological symptoms in the New Age store. Rather, being exposed to the “Devilish” materials would have only reinforced his belief. This is thus a good example for the first component of faith. The other components of faith can be illustrated by another hypothetical situation occurs to Mr. Horn: If Mr. Horn took the time to investigate in some New Age teachings and came to the conclusion that his former belief was flawed and reestablished a newly refined relationship with God, he would then yield to a positive external force. Although the external forces swayed his past belief, it reinforced his faith in God by switching to a new paradigm. In sort, both components are essential to one’s faith and spiritual maturity.
I am not trying to convey the message that the New Age movements are the only correct ways towards spiritual enlightenment. In fact, I believe that there are many bad elements in these movements and we need to constantly exercise cautions while embarking on such spiritual journeys. It is paramount for us to constantly apply our intelligence and ask questions (faith component two). Do not afraid of making mistakes for that is how your faith grows. Do not expect quick answers. Chances are that the ultimate answers would never come. They would just get closer and closer and your faith would thus be further strengthened (faith component one). The journey could be frightful. Therefore, always arm yourself with humbleness and ask for God to be your shield.
(P.S.: I sincerely apologize to Mr. Horn’s for my at times poignant remarks in this article. It is not my intention to induce any personal attacks on Mr. Horn. Unfortunately, I found it helpful to quote excerpts from his article and comment on them to better illustrate my conviction.)