As we close out 2012, the stage lays set for a global revolution driven in part by the New Age occult. Continuity exists between the ancient mystery religions of civilizations like the Mayans and the esoteric societies of today. Could it be that, as Aztec priests once wowed worshipers with hidden knowledge of astronomical phenomena like an eclipse of the sun, modern wizards of the rhetorical arts are poised to win converts to a New Thought? Many practitioners of New Age occultism believe the winter solstice of 2012 will herald an apocalyptic shift in global consciousness which will fundamentally transform human society. Far from catastrophe, the New Age regards this change as a leap forward in human development, what they term “conscious evolution.”
As we consider such notions, concede that when it comes to analyzing cultural and political trends it matters not whether strange beliefs prove true. It matters what people’s beliefs will drive them to do. With that in mind as we reference spirituality, nevermind whether you believe. The beliefs of others inform their behavior, and behavior has an objective effect in any case.
Understanding what some among the New Age expect and how their beliefs could reverberate with the culture requires an overview of eschatology. That is the branch of theology dealing with the end of history. One of the fascinating aspects of the various eschatological beliefs held by different communities throughout the world is a similarity in expectation. The world exists with flaws. Something or someone approaches to fix it. The faithful anticipate a happily ever after while dissenters may expect exile into outer darkness.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad belongs to a sect of Islam which believes infidels stain the world, a Mahdi shall come as savior, and the global domination of Islam spells salvation. Christianity teaches that the world exists in a state of sin, that Jesus came to Earth as the incarnation of God to atone for mankind on the cross, and that heaven awaits those who repent of their sin and place their faith in the risen Christ. Some New Age thinkers predict the coming of their own Christ figure, Maitreya the World Teacher, who will “inspire humanity to see itself as one family, and create a civilization based on sharing, economic and social justice, and global cooperation.” (That last bit sounds awfully familiar, does it not?)
Despite their broad thematic similarities, these three eschatological views conflict. The Mahdi cannot be Jesus according to either Islam or Christianity, and neither the Mahdi nor Jesus fit the description of Maitreya. However, those among the New Age who anticipate Maitreya view the figure as the messiah which those major religions are looking for.