No one explains the basis of the new spirituality better than psychology professor Charles Tart. He lets us know in the clearest terms that it represents a rejection of the Bible and of biblical Christianity. The new spirituality is based entirely upon one’s personal experience in an altered state of consciousness. No criteria can be used to evaluate whether such experiences are real; but reality, as in the case of Karen Mains and so many others (like those caught up in the “Toronto Blessing,” the “Pensacola Revival,” and the new “Spiritual Warfare,” as we shall see) is defined by the experience itself. Says Tart:
“When you believe a prescribed doctrine, you tend to become rigid, and rigidity is hard to hold onto in a world where change is the norm. So what the spiritual psychologies offer people is a chance to explore the transpersonal realm for themselves. People can directly experience themselves as entities connected with the universe. That’s a lot to offer….
The notion that science or psychology can make such a distinction [between a genuine spiritual experience and a bogus, self-delusionary one] doesn’t hold up very well…. Lots of techniques exist throughout the world for inducing religious experiences—from fasting, to meditation, to dance…. Perhaps transpersonal psychology can increase the efficiency of progress on the spiritual path…. I…advise people to shop around [for a suitable technique]. To just ‘jump in’ and get totally involved with the first or second path you find could be dangerous, if not wasteful. But don’t shop around casually. Give some energy to a particular path. Give it a month or two to see where a given practice is leading you…. When you find a spiritual path with real heart for you, you might think of making a commitment to it. See where it leads you…. I’m hoping that the study of transpersonal psychology will gradually give rise to spiritual practices that are more effective and less cluttered with outdated cultural baggage. Then people can embark on the spiritual path without risking their mental health. Or having serious problems during their journey.”
Amazing! Here is an intelligent, highly educated, and sophisticated man, a university professor, who advocates taking a “spiritual path” that could go anywhere or nowhere, which he admits could be dangerous and which science and psychology can’t evaluate. “See where it leads you,” he suggests, ignoring the possibility that one could find out too late that it leads, in fact, to eternal destruction. Of course, he doesn’t believe in heaven or hell. All that matters is how it suits one’s fancy.
Such a mentality is the basis of the new spirituality: the idea that there is no truth, no right or wrong, just “experience.” This delusion comes from Eastern mysticism and is gaining increasing acceptability and credibility in the West.