Not.

Thanks, a great deal, to everyone who left a response to Julia, the New-Ager about whom I wrote in A New-Ager Asks: MUST I Know Jesus Before I Can Know God? Lots of marvelous stuff, from both sides of the God/No God aisle. Way to reward me for blogging, people!

My own answer to the question, "When Julia is deep in [her New-Agey] meditation, and feels what she experiences as nothing less than the full and absolute presence of God, is she simply and absolutely deluded about that?" is no, she's not deluded about that. That is God she's feeling. But that peaceful, I'm In Touch With The Universe feeling that everyone experiences when they meditate or behold the majesty of nature has about the same relationship to the totality of God as the soundtrack of a movie has to the movie itself.

I like movie soundtracks. One of my favorite is from Peter Weir's The Witness. It's beautiful music: uplifting, rich, inspiring, powerful. But it's not the movie. It's connected to the movie. It derives from the movie. One could make a case for it being the very essence of the movie. But it's no more the whole of the movie than its preview is, or a clip of it on YouTube.

To really experience The Witness, you have to see and watch the film itself. Not doing so means never understanding the context in which its soundtrack achieves its full purpose and meaning. It's not necessary to see a movie in order to enjoy its soundtrack. But if you don't---if you just stick to the soundtrack---then you'll always be lacking the big picture.

Julia's experience of God is to the totality of God what a chocolate-chip cookie is to the totality of a three-course meal. It's tasty, and sweet---but it has no substance. She can enjoy it, but she can't live off it.

For the record, I have a lot of experience as a New-Ager. My mom, a late-blossoming hippie, was a fervent New-Ager, and I myself embraced it, until its fuzzy, crystal-vibey vagueness drove me to the brilliant philosophy of Zen, where I stayed (and from which I greatly benefited) for some two decades. (For a bit about that, see Me, My Wife, Zen, and the Evangelizing Christian Who Broke the Great Commandment.) I've also lived in a couple of New Age Meccas, such as Santa Cruz, California. And you can't get more New-Agey than where I live now: Encinitas, CA, home of the Self Realization Fellowship Temple and Ashram Center.

I've taken many a yoga class. Enough said.

Ultimately, the New Age belief system fails like a symphony conductor on crack. In my next post, I'll talk about exactly why that is. (And then I promise--assuming anyone actually cares, of course---to get back to answering why I think the Holy Spirit receives so very much less attention than either Jesus or God.)

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