New Age is a term applied to a range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the 1970s. Precise scholarly definitions of the New Age differ in their emphasis, largely as a result of its highly eclectic structure. Although analytically often considered to be religious, those involved in it typically prefer the designation of spiritual or Mind, Body, Spirit and rarely use the term "New Age" themselves. Many scholars of the subject refer to it as the New Age movement, although others contest this term and suggest that it is better seen as a milieu or zeitgeist.
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- A separate issue is the return of ancient gnostic ideas under the guise of the so-called New Age. We cannot delude ourselves that this will lead toward a renewal of religion. It is only a new way of practicing gnosticism-that attitude of the spirit that, in the name of a profound knowledge of God, results in distorting His Word and replacing it with purely human words. Gnosticism never completely abandoned the realm of Christianity. Instead, it has always existed side by side with Christianity, sometimes taking the shape of a philosophical movement, but more often assuming the characteristics of a religion or para-religion in distinct, if not declared, conflict with all that is essentially Christian.
- John Paul II. Crossing the threshold of hope. As quoted in Swarup, Ram, & Johannes, P. (1995). Pope John Paul II on Eastern religions and yoga: A Hindu-Buddhist rejoinder.
- The above discussion shows why the Pope regards the New Age Movement with hostility. He regards it as an old enemy. If it derives from old Gnosticism... then it is easy to understand this hostility. The Movement is subversive of Christianity – its ideas, its externality, its exclusiveness, its authoritarianism.... All this shows that the Movement has a great responsibility to shoulder and a great role to play - an old role in a new context. To play it adequately and honourably, it has to become more conscious of its inspiration, its underlying ideas and philosophy; it has to become aware of its lost Pagan ancestry, its Eastern links and its common spiritual heritage.
- Ram Swarup. Pope John Paul II on Eastern religions and yoga: A Hindu-Buddhist rejoinder.