Our 1995 review of
The Celestine Prophecy
by James Redfield (Warner Books, 1993)
When a self-published, self-distributed book is picked up by the powerful publishing arm of the Time-Warner company and soars to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, you know it has an enticing message the world wants to hear -- no matter how deceptive that message might be.
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you be watchful in all things..." 2 Timothy 4:2-5
Has humanity entered a new stage in its spiritual evolution? Is it time to revive ancient mysticism, grow in consciousness through communion with nature, connect with universal energies, and empower one another through love? Could the ancient Mayans have risen to such vibrational heights that they were actually raptured into an invisible spiritual state, leaving only a few mysterious clues to their superior wisdom?
Yes, answers James Redfield in his top-selling thriller, The Celestine Prophecy. Its huge enthusiastic readership proves the appeal of its New Age message. After all, why shouldn't humans take charge of their own evolution? Why not seek telepathic connections with plants and people? Why not believe that today's anger, self-centeredness and "profound sense of restlessness" are merely symptoms of a universal awakening to higher spiritual realities. As Redfield shrewdly argues, the church people who resist this spiritual transformation simply don't understand. Afraid of losing authority, they refuse to accept today's psychic discoveries as tools that would clarify biblical truth and broaden spiritual experiences.
By disguising occult concepts in Christian terminology, New Age books have lured masses of so-called Christians into New Age and Neopagan circles. Just look at America's fascination with Betty Eadie's deceptive visions in Embraced by the Light. Notice the soaring demand for counterfeit angels and feminist distortions of God. Since most contemporary "truth-seekers" have neither the facts nor the will to resist these seductive illusions, a paradigm shift -- a massive change in America's view of reality -- is transforming our culture. "Progressive" educators, writers, entertainers, and media leaders are fast replacing America's "narrow, obsolete" Biblical world view with a utopian New Age/Neopagan paradigm. In his introduction, Redfield summarizes his view of this process:
"For half a century now, a new consciousness has been entering the human world, a new awareness that can only be called transcendent, spiritual... We know that life is really about a spiritual unfolding that is personal and enchanting - an unfolding that no science or philosophy or religion has yet fully clarified... [O]nce we understand... how to engage this allusive process and maximize its occurrence in our lives, human society will take a quantum leap into a whole new way of life...
"All that any of us have to do is suspend our doubts and distractions just long enough... and miraculously, this reality can be our own."
It sounds so tempting. Simply suspend your doubts and flow with the rushing tide. Trust Redfield, a child therapist raised a Methodist, as he outlines the path to global perfection through a set of ancient "Insights." Identify with his fictional characters in their pursuit of the sacred Mayan Manuscript. Follow their growth in consciousness as they experience each new insight. After all, this teaching is validated by history (as interpreted by Redfield) and supposedly researched by sincere scientists. But watch out for the conservative leaders of the religious and scientific establishments (including uncompromising Christians like us). They have initiated a murderous witch-hunt for the keepers of the Manuscript, the true saviors of the earth.
The Manuscript's nine Insights are worth noting, since they illustrate today's steps to social transformation. They beckon young and old through classroom encounter groups, multicultural curricula, earth-centered movies, and New Age books. Blending psychology, pseudo-science, occult spirituality and utopian visions of the future, they teach fantasy instead of facts, and disguise their deceptions in subtle imitations of biblical truth:
1. Be open and alert to the spiritual forces guiding seekers from behind the scenes.
2. Re-imagine history. Realize that the old values no longer fit.
3. See the interconnected universe as a vast energy system responsive to human thoughts and dreams.
4. Know the cause of human conflict: misunderstading and misusing this cosmic energy.
5. Resolve conflicts by drawing wisdom and energy from a higher source.
6. Discover you true selves through oneness with the universal energy.
7. Seek guidance from dreams, thoughts, coincidences....
8. Stay centered. Project energy to others for mutual empowerment.
9. Envision a spiritually evolved and unified humanity living on a planet radiant with health and energy. Live and share the message.
The Ninth Insight predicts global transformation. In the next millennium, humans "will voluntarily decrease our population so that we all may live in the most powerful and beautiful places on the Earth... we will intentionally let the forest go uncut so that they can mature and build energy... Our needs will be completely met without the exchange of any currency, yet also without any overindulgence or laziness... Guided by their intuitions, everyone will know precisely what to do..."
"Once we reach the critical mass," continues Redfield, "the human race will...see trees and rivers and mountains as temples of great power. We'll demand an end to any economic activity that threatens this treasure... someone will intuit alternative [solutions] as they seek their own evolution."
Strange as they sound, these illusions have taken root in mainstream America. They permeate today's global, multicultural and environmental curricula. They are transforming churches. World-class education - the aim of international leaders as well as President Clinton and the NEA - call students to save the earth from wars and pollution by embracing a global spirituality, a seductive blend of the world's earth-centered religions. Al Gore calls it a "panreligious perspective" based on "the wisdom distilled by all faiths."
In his book, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, our vice-president points his readers toward a global spirituality that would restore "our feeling of connectedness to the rest of nature" and lead us into a better world. Quoting excommunicated Catholic priest and scientist, Teillard de Chardin, whose message of humanity's spiritual evolution echoes Redfield's, Gore writes, "'The fate of mankind, as of religion, depends upon the emergence of a new faith in the future.' Armed with such a faith, we might find it possible to resanctify the earth, identify it as God's creation, and accept our responsibility to protect and defend it..."
That pace-setters like Redfield and Gore promote pagan spirituality as the path to global harmony should come as no surprise. As always, when God's people neglect biblical truth, they drift back to earth-centered religions. Americans may hide their pagan beliefs behind Christian terminology and, like Redfield, voice sincere sentiments about love and unity, but they cannot fool our sovereign God. He has warned us that "other gods" and "deceiving spirits" lead to death and destruction, not peace and perfection.
As the masses trade truth for myths in a feverish search for power without accountability, God's people need the unchanging, uncorrupted word of God. As our nation rationalizes sin and idealizes paganism, Christians had better heed the warnings of scriptures and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As schools and churches become mission stations for global spirituality, our children had better know the strategic truths of God's armor (Ephesians 6:10-18), which can equip them to discern and counter every deception of the enemy.
Remember, our Lord has promised to "supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Those who accept his provisions for victory in today's intensifying battle for truth, can count on His promise in Romans 8:37: "But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us!"
James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecies (New York: Warner Books, 1993), 222-223.
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