Miscellaneous

How New Age Are You?

According to a Pew Research poll from 2018, New Age beliefs are quite common among Americans. 60% of Americans believe in at least one of 4 New Age beliefs, and what’s particularly interesting is how many Christians believe them.

36% of Catholics polled believed in reincarnation, which is not what the Vatican says they should believe. The Vatican also says nuh-uh to astrology, but a third of Catholics are into it. I have no idea if all of these people experience cognitive dissonance about having belief systems that directly contradict one another, but it sure is common.

Pew Research Center

Along with most of the atheists they polled, I don’t believe in New Age stuff. If you know me, this probably won’t surprise you, and you may recognize that I’m practicing restraint and not dropping my full opinion. 😉

Clearly, though, a lot of other people do believe in it. I know that a fair number of people I know in the blogosphere are into this realm, so I thought I’d do a poll of my own. The embedded form below probably won’t show up in the WP Reader, so you might have to go to my actual website to see/fill it.

I added two additional questions besides the ones Pew Research asked. One is about Tarot, and if you’re into Tarot, I’m curious about whether you think the cards make predictions about the future, or if they just get you thinking. I also ask about the law of attraction. If you believe in it, I’m curious whether you believe the nitty gritty details as described in The Secret (i.e. you attract things that vibrate at the exact same frequency as your thoughts, and you can manifest anything as long as you vibrate at the right frequency) or if you believe in it more generally, but not necessarily the specifics about the vibrational frequencies.

You can view the results here (I wish I could embed them so they’d show up right here, but I can’t figure out how). I got us started with my no’s across the board.

Thanks for taking the time to satisfy my curiosity! And if you’re so inclined, let me know in the comments why you do/don’t believe in these things.

65 thoughts on “How New Age Are You?”

  1. This was incredibly thought provoking for me. I am Christian but my beliefs have always been fluid enough to comfortably allow for some of the other things you have mentioned.

    I’m a big science fan. That conflicts directly with those Christian beliefs if you are too rigid to believe science and religion can coexist harmoniously. 😅

    I think after reading this I would call myself more New Age than I thought…but in a closeted manner?

  2. I don’t believe in New age ideas per se; however there is I believe a spiritual aspect to human existence which cannot easily be explained.
    I smiled when you said that you held yourself back from dropping your full opinion in this post. I wonder what you would say, if you did🙂

  3. I am a very logically thinking person but I got into astrology at some point, and then tarot. And let me tell you, there is something about it, but… you can’t use it to predict future or even to aid making decisions.
    Both tarot and astrology can show where you are in your life but if you use it to plan your next move you’re very likely to do something silly. I’ll give an example here: your tarocist tells you, you need to be very careful about making a particular decision because you may lose loads of money if you’re not. You come accross certain problem and think: oh yes, that’s what the tarocist meant. You come up with an idea how to work around this problem and since that time you’re not worrying about anything else. But then there is another, bigger problem coming that you don’t get to see because you’re not looking as you think you listened to tarot so now everything is fine. As a result you lose money. So tarot was right… that’s how it works. So although I believe in it I don’t find it helpful.

  4. I don’t consider myself new age and yet I answered “Yes” to 4 of the questions. I think astrology is a hoot but not something to take seriously – it’s just a fun thing. I only know the basic tenets of the law of attraction so I can’t address it very well. Gypsy magic spells use sympathetic magic…eh. It’s all so complicated, it really is. Do I have personal experience with, and as, a psychic medium? Yup, I do. But we’ve talked about this before, haven’t we?

  5. I see it as less cognitive dissonance and more that the scope of human psyche and belief is larger than any one religious doctrine. This is how you can have accomplished scientists who believe in G-d, people who don’t believe in G-d but practice a religion anyway, people who believe in science and also in lucky numbers and superstitions, etc.

    1. It’s unfortunate that the Pew poll didn’t look at overlap with other religious belief systems. I wonder if there are many people who have New Age beliefs but still identify as Muslim.

      1. There’s a lot I have to say about it all, but I’m also practicing restraint because I don’t know how to express it yet.

        It’s something I’ve been thinking of often—how beliefs can be confused for trends, cultural, social and the like. Belonging to a group, our beliefs as means of justifying ourselves, a mask that much resembles the need to let everyone know of our status through degrees or wealth etc., the pull of desire when it contradicts principle, or simply the lack of knowledge in regards to the beliefs we align ourselves with…

        1. Certainly lots to think about. And I think when there is a lack of knowledge, it’s easy to fill that with ideas about how we want the world to be that may have little to do with how it actually is.

  6. Good question. I’ve never thought to ask myself why I don’t believe in any of those things. They just always seemed like hogwash and parlour games, nothing to be taken seriously. Of course, I don’t believe in any of the “Old Age” bunk either 🙂

  7. I was raised Nazarene but I’ve never felt quite at home in any church or organized religion really. That’s doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God. I just believe that He can talk to us in all sorts of manners. Therefore, I try to keep an open mind to everything and see what there is to learn before just going Nope and chucking that view in the bucket!
    However, there are some absolutely out there theories and views which each person can gather themselves, but most know right away it’s mumbo jumbo!

  8. I don’t believe in anything, lol. J/k. Of course there are real things you can’t see or measure, such as love. But that still doesn’t cross into the realm of New Age aka woo. I do believe that if you are open minded, kind, and emotionally generous you will be more attractive to people, and if you are easily annoyed, judgmental, and bitchy-faced (hello) you won’t attract anyone. This is easily proven from direct experience, no woo necessary!

  9. Despite my lack of belief, I assume that astrology and other such things as tarot cards provide fuel for thought. Conversely, I believe in the law of attraction. As humans, we are energy, as is everything else in the universe. A vibrating field of energy acts as a magnet, attracting energy with the same oscillating frequency. The more vibrating energy that is condensed into this field of energy, the stronger the vibration inside that field becomes. The energy field eventually develops as matter. What you put out is what you get back—every thought, every action generates vibrations that travel through the vast field of consciousness and resonate at different frequencies. As a result, it’s good to be conscious and intentional about the energy one brings and sends into the universe. Also, keeping in mind that energy is contagious.

  10. Interesting…. I don’t actually “believe” because I am very science-minded. However I enjoy astrology, phases of the moon, tarot, crystals, all that stuff. Because it’s fun, and because it gives me a platform for self-reflection and provides a way to connect with my friends.

  11. I am Catholic so no, I don’t believe in any of these and think that taking these things seriously ranges from a waste of time to spiritually harmful. Most Catholics don’t know their own religion, sadly. They also don’t know that it’s irrelevant what the Vatican says; what is relevant is what the Church teaches. The Vatican =/= the Church.

      1. It’s just a summary of the Church’s teachings as a reference. It’s not a Bible or anything. The Vatican is really just the visible hierarchy of the Church. If they say something correct, that’s great. If they don’t, then they should be ignored. Contrary to what many people mistakenly think, the Pope/Vatican have no ability to alter the teachings.

  12. While we don’t believe most new age or old age teachings, we don’t find one less or more “credible” than the other. Is it more or less believable or preposterous that stars influence our actions or that a pissed off deity created us all, kicked us out of paradise, put a baby in a virgin, etc.; or that magic rocks have healing power? Seems about the same genre to us: if you have faith in it, it has value to you. We don’t judge people who have faith in anything. But we also know what worldviews that we’ve encountered do and don’t allow us to live with the least suffering and greatest chance to improve.

    To the people who find meaning and purpose in religion or other spiritual practice, congratulations. Sincerely. But to the evangelists of religions and other spiritual practices, please back the fuck away from us. Sincerely

  13. I don’t believe in any of these, although with reincarnation I’m probably agnostic rather than a total unbeliever, by which I mean if someone could prove to me that reincarnation was real, I’d be surprised, but not totally disbelieving, whereas if someone proved any of the other things to be real I’d be totally astounded and wouldn’t know what to think.

      1. That’s really why I’m agnostic about it. Kabbalists and Hasidim are very into reincarnation, less so people outside very mystical communities. The earliest reference to reincarnation in a Jewish context is Rav Saadia Gaon in the tenth century, and he was saying why he didn’t believe in it and felt it was a foreign belief that was drifting in. I’m inclined to agree with him for various reasons, but if it turned out to be true it’s not without Jewish precedent, unlike some of the other beliefs mentioned.

  14. That’s very interesting! To me as a Catholic, especially what you mentioned about 36% of the polled Catholics believing in reincarnation is rather intriguing. Not that I didn’t realise that there are people who identify as/were raised Christian who have pretty fluid beliefs like that but I don’t think I realised that there could be actually a lot of such people judging by that.
    I consider myself a very non new-agey person, though there was a time in my life when it was different and so I totally see why people would find it appealing in one way or another. For me it was a little weird, or at least I guess so, because I was raised in a fairly devout Catholic family, then went to a Catholic school just because the only blind school my parents knew about was Catholic. Then as a teenager I hated anything to do with the school as I didn’t really feel I belonged there, and I also realised I disliked the way they approached religion, I think it just wasn’t for me and my personality and I didn’t feel that my faith was particularly growing on the sort of soul food they were providing me, and my brain was definitely being depleted of energy meanwhile. 😀 At that time I started reading all sorts of new-agey stuff and got very interested in many new age things. I badly needed some new coping skills and all the new age provided me with a lot of opportunities for escapism, haha. It was all rather erratic though because I actually still believed in God very much the Christian and Catholic way, just rejected all the bells and whistles that my school put on it, yet I guess I wanted to be different or something, or just didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted, so I identified as something between an atheist/agnostic, even though as you say a proper atheist wouldn’t believe in new age either. 😀 I don’t have very clear memories from that time because my brain was rather messy but from my current perspective, despite I had such a strong interest in new age I doubt I actually, truly believed in most of that. I lived like that for a few years and then had a string of powerful experiences and situations in quite a short time that led to me eventually going back to my original faith. I just had to figure that out for myself that even within one denomination where people believe in exactly the same things, they can sort of express it in different ways, glorify God in different ways, etc. The fact that some Catholics like stuff like charismatic movements for example, with lots of socialising, singing, guitar playing, hand clapping, sharing your testimonies with the whole world, is great, but doesn’t mean I have to go into that too to be a Catholic. After I left that place, slowly and gradually (it’s still very much work in progress) I’ve started discovering that I am more inclined towards the traditionalist Catholicism.
    Thus, concerning your questions, I answered No to all of them. I am very much into crystals, and I like to know what sort of things people associate with them, or how they were used historically, but that’s just because I’m curious rather than because I use my vast collection of crystals to attract happiness, health, wealth, a soulmate or whatever else people want to attract. They’re just really beautiful and interesting. I used to be very deeply into astrology during my new age phase, and I still think that when it comes to for example zodiac signs and personality traits that are associated with them they can often be fairly accurate for a lot of people, though there are limitations. Yet now that my beliefs are a bit more solidly formed, I don’t think astrology is reliable at all for predicting the future or making decisions or anything like that, and even if it was reliable, I still wouldn’t use it anyways because I no longer believe it’s the right thing to do for someone who wants to put their trust in God and don’t even have any desire for that. Even with the personality stuff, I think there are better ways of analysing an individual’s personality and I’d never do something like considering someone “incompatible” with me, just because according to astrology our signs don’t get along together. I really don’t think it’s as simple as that. Also I think with stuff like astrology it’s difficult to find consistent information and sift through all that is available because while I suppose the actual astrologists have something consistent that they all base their predictions and analyses on, a lot of astrology stuff on the web is just someone random writing whatever comes to their mind without checking anything, or so it looks. Quantity seems way higher than quality.

  15. It won’t load for me, but I don’t believe in any of those sorts of things. Except… I’m inclined to think there is a substance or aspect of the universe we might call consciousness. I like the idea of a particle of some sort or a force, like gravity, that all living things share. So yeah, whacky I guess. But committed to a scientific explanation, ultimately

  16. I have a feeling that some things like prayer and tarot prime one’s mind to respond consciously and react to something externally which it was already maybe subconsciously loaded to do, because they are about interpreting their own results. Eg if someone prays for a sign to tell them to take an opportunity, they ready themselves to see an omen around them and make that leap. Sort of like a self-made placebo – which in my view isn’t a write-off as silly. Placebos are receiving more attention in the scientific world given how inexplicable and powerful they can be.

  17. I have recently gotten hard core in tarot but I use it as guidance. To me it’s like opening a Bible and picking a scripture and applying your definition to the meaning to yourself. It’s a mixed bag for me but it’s what I’m into right now. On a side note before medicated and when manic I would believe I was psychic. I can think of a number of instances where I predicted stuff that came true. In general I think I’m very intuitive and not psychic which is good for my work field but not good when manic

  18. I used to believe in many things – l don’t any more.

    I was shifting before Thrive, after reading Thrive all it has done is confirmed that l have started to see things and beliefs and people very differently. There are some things l still believe in, but l have always NOT believed in the Hollywood version of things, but find that many beliefs of certain things always lie in people and the influences they have experienced.

      1. I think that makes good sense. I would also be curious if it is a reaction ( in part) to our unsettled world and the need for making meaning and safety. It’s such a good topic.

  19. I’m Buddhist but i’ve been “newage” for long time. Finally i opened my eyes and get off all that toxic “love and light”.

    1. Another commenter mentioned that too. I figured if I included a maybe/not sure option, a lot of people would go with that, and I was curious what choice people would make if they actually had to choose yes or no.

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