Challenge Match: 1littlewolf vs Druid42: The New Age movement is the natural progression of human b

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posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 11:22 PM
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Firstly I would like to thank both the ATS members and the mods who have breathed new life into the tired old debate forum. Secondly I’d like to thank my opponent Druid42 for allowing my first foray into the debating world to be based around a topic so aligned with my own personal beliefs. So without any further ado I present to you

The New Age Movement is the natural progression of human beliefs



Arguing the ‘Pro’ position is myself, 1littlewolf
Arguing the ‘Con’ position will be Druid42

 
 



The New Age movement itself is subject to no small amount of derision both here on ATS; and outside within wider society as a whole. I myself do reluctantly admit that such antagonists will find no shortage of examples within the New Age community which can be used to support their claims.

However, what these deriders often fail to realize is that the New Age movement is not a strictly defined system of beliefs, but rather an eclectic mix of teachings based around a core set of spiritual ideals aimed at bettering society on both an individual and a global level.

Before we progress further in this debate though it is necessary to firstly define exactly what we are talking about when we use the term 'New Age'.

Wikipedia states:


The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational psychology, holistic health, parapsychology, consciousness research and quantum physics".
It aims to create "a spirituality without borders or confining dogmas" that is inclusive and pluralistic. It holds to "a holistic worldview," emphasising that the Mind, Body and Spirit are interrelated and that there is a form of Monism and unity throughout the universe. It attempts to create "a worldview that includes both science and spirituality" and embraces a number of forms of mainstream science as well as other forms of science that are considered fringe.
en.wikipedia.org...


Essentially the New Age belief system is a synthesis of many of the core or mystical tenants of most major belief systems. This synthesis of beliefs is constantly evolving as more is learnt about not only other forms of spirituality, but also the world itself through established methods such as science. Also unlike any other belief system that has come before it the New Age movement is inclusive of many differing points of view, adapts as new information becomes available and has no established hierarchical structure.

Unfortunately these very aspects of the New Age belief system which are its strengths also leave it wide open to abuse by those who seek to profit through the naivety of others; and also those who may well be better off under professional psychiatric care. But these problems can be found in all belief systems and indeed most aspects of life as a whole.

This debate seeks to determine whether the New Age movement is a natural progression of human beliefs. My argument is that as humanity itself progresses and the world gets smaller and smaller; mankind is becoming exposed (more so now than at any other time within the entirety of recorded history) to an ever increasing variety of alternate ideas, cultures and beliefs. It is not only a natural progression that human spirituality move towards a more fluid, inclusive and holistic model; but in fact it is inevitable.

The New Age movement provides, through its practical application on a socio-economic and political level, the means for humanity to enter a seemingly utopian existence. On a deeper spiritual level none of its core beliefs run counter to anything thus far proven through established scientific means. In fact many of these tenants that have existed within the movement now for decades are only just beginning to be supported through various scientific fields such as quantum physics, neurobiology and human behavioural science.

I am not here to debate the claims of every New Age devotee who happens to be selling orgone negative energy dispersers or claims to have channelled some interdimensional being/ascended master. These are simply sub-beliefs of various factions which have been lumped under the New Age umbrella; and are themselves simply a reflection upon those particular groups as opposed to the movement in its entirety.

Rather I am here to lend a credible voice of support to the New Age movement as a whole and to clarify my beliefs that the movement itself is part of an inevitable progression within the spiritual psyche of humanity. It is a progression unfettered by traditional religious dogma, guided but not bound by current scientific theory and mirrored in current global socio-political developments.
edit on 14-9-2012 by Skyfloating because: Moderator-Edit - misspell in title
edit on 14-9-2012 by Skyfloating because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 13 2012 @ 12:24 AM
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There's a fine line between what you and I think.

I commend my opponent, 1 littlewolf, for such a strong and decisive opening to his position, and congratulate him for a solid position in this debate. I thank the Staff of ATS for actively Moderating the debate forum again. It's a pleasure to see fine minds presenting topics for debate once again, and engaging as such.

I'll counter by saying that the New Age Movement is nothing more than a band of loosely knit charlatans preying on the needs of a desolate society, and therefore gain popularity with their guises.

The natural progression of human beliefs is not a movement at all, not New Age, neither Old Age, but an underlying yen for all of humanity. To label a progression of human evolution is somewhat of a travesty, but within the confines of this debate, I'll remain.

I'll posit than human nature seeks what works. If a belief of a fact is verifiable, then it remains. Otherwise, there is a portion of any given geographically located civilization that produces a variation on a theme, such as spirituality.

I'll further my point on the need for a spiritual connection further on in this debate, but for now I'll rest on the issue that there is a need for something "other" in the human psyche than just a mundane existence. We want more out of life, and are open to more than just conventional religion. Staying focused, we'll discover that New Age beliefs are only a re-hash, a convenient medley if you will, of other religions blended together, completely orchestrated by humans, with a specific agenda, and also a "for-profit" motivation linked within.

There is money to be made within the realms of human gullibility.

Socratic #1: Within the past 3000 years, say, has there been a religion without a connection to a monetary "contribution" that became mainstream? I'll define mainstream by the number of adherents, and for the sake of the question, let's put it at 1 million adherents for a baseline.

Given the fact that religion has been present since the dawn of recorded history, there should be a progressive evolution of beliefs. (Wide open for attack here, 1littlewolf.) However, the church has throttled and curtailed beliefs to fit only within their dogma. The Crusades? Not going there. My final opening point is that even though major religions "snuff out" competing religions, schisms of truth should evolve. The New Age movement is still a disorganized and shambled attempt at creating truth, and perhaps may never attain such status, especially compared against mainstream religion, and therefore, can't be a natural progression, merely a figment of human manipulation.

Over to you, 1littlewolf.



posted on Sep, 13 2012 @ 10:56 PM
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”…A band of loosely knit charlatans preying on the needs of a desolate society…”

Sounds a lot more like my Nan describing ‘those pesky brats from down the street’ and not the sort of generalizations I would expect to hear in a debate such as this…

One wonders exactly how much money is to be made off a group off whose overall life focus is not on material gain; and who generally don’t have a lot of money due to this very reason. As already alluded to in my OP there are con artists to be found in all aspects of life, the New Age movement is no exception.

To answer your Socratic Question: No - there are no mainstream religions within the past 3000 years that I know of that have not relied upon some monetary contribution.

The relevance of the question is itself lost on me as the New Age movement itself falls far outside any definition of ‘religion’ that I know of. And which particular faction of the New Age crowd is meant to be ‘mainstream’? The Wiccans were up there for a while I guess after that movie ‘The Craft’ came out. Variations on the Ascended Master Teachings have definitely been picking up a bit of steam lately especially with the ‘Spirit Science’ series on YouTube. The Pantheists are surprising everybody… But overall, apart from the growing trend of Buddhist inspired platitudes pasted over scenic landscape pics which seem to now flood my Facebook newsfeed, there is no one aspect of the New Age movement which could ever really be labelled ‘mainstream’.

I will definitely concede much to my satisfaction that the movement as a whole is growing ever larger, but that growth is not limited to any one subgroup.

My Socratic Questions to you:

1 In line with your comment regarding ”The natural progression of human beliefs is not a movement at all, not New Age, neither Old Age, but an underlying yearn for all of humanity, how exactly does this ‘yearning for all of humanity’ manifest in not only in a practical sense in terms of the lives of the everyday person walking down the street…

2 …but also in their core beliefs which underlie how they view their fellow man and everything around them?

----------------------------------

The New Age movement has no hierarchical structure that requires significant monetary support. The ’convenient medley of rehashed truth’ you describe is the very reason the New Age movement is the natural progression of human beliefs. Ancient teachings are stripped of their associated dogma, their core truths aligned and then infused with knowledge gained from the physical world.

On the practical side the New Age movement champions sustainable living, respect for fellow humans regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation, the ending of needless war, etc. But the mind must act before the body will follow. The case could be argued that humanity in all likelihood will need to adopt a far more New Age outlook on life merely just to survive. And this progression of beliefs is made all the more easy by the fact that most of the core New Age tenants are supported more so now than ever not just in the findings of the ever popular quantum physics; but also in human behavioural science, neurobiology, ecology and cultural/human anthropology.

The past 100 years of scientific theory have only shown us that the reality we see around us as filtered through our senses (themselves merely tools with limitations) is a far cry from how things truly are. It has been proven that our bodies are nothing but space containing energetic particles; particles which actually react to human consciousness. Yet for all our searching we still cannot actually locate human consciousness itself within the brain. We still struggle even just to define the term ‘consciousness’. Sure we can see the symptoms within the human body of actually possessing a ‘consciousness’. But figuring out what exactly it is is a whole different ball game and quite clearly beyond the grasp of current scientific scope.

You see science is very good at answering the ‘how’ part of the question. But it cannot answer the one thing that we all truly want to understand. It is the question that burns upon the lips of every four year old child; and is in fact the cause of your so called ‘yeaning for humanity’.

What I am referring to is the ‘why’ part of the question.

The answer to this has always belonged to the realms of the spirituality, and it is why humanity will always remain mainly agnostic in their beliefs. Because mainstream science never was intended to answer the ‘why’…

What the New Age movement offers is a chance to find the answers yourself by providing every possible option and allowing you to pick one. The answer you choose may well be wrong, but the chance of it containing some grains of truth is much higher as it is an answer relevant to your own individual life circumstances.



posted on Sep, 13 2012 @ 10:57 PM
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Apologies - Double post
edit on 13/9/2012 by 1littlewolf because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2012 @ 12:30 AM
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What we think is as different as we are as people.



My Socratic Questions to you:

1. In line with your comment regarding ”The natural progression of human beliefs is not a movement at all, not New Age, neither Old Age, but an underlying yearn for all of humanity, how exactly does this ‘yearning for all of humanity’ manifest in not only in a practical sense in terms of the lives of the everyday person walking down the street…


Religion, reduced to a simple belief system, has been present since the dawn of the actual consciousness of humankind. The ancient Egyptians believed a God drove a chariot harnessed to a scarab beetle across the sky everyday, producing the sunrise and sunset, and based their insights to reality upon that. They wanted to understand the nature of reality around them, but didn't have the tools to properly discover scientific truths. They stuck with a flawed premise, and created a Pantheon around it. It's proven in the historical record that different cultures create their own Gods. We WANT an explanation, and without a direct explanation, humans are very good at "creating" an explanation, and often extrapolate such explanations to unfalsifiable conclusions.


2 …but also in their core beliefs which underlie how they view their fellow man and everything around them?


The key to answering your question is the basis of this debate. The New Age movement is a culmination of non-sequential belief systems, collected over time, some sound beliefs coupled with totally irrational ones.

To make it simple, everyone needs to believe in something. It's the essence of consciousness. That something that you believe in doesn't need to be real. I'll diverge on a tangent briefly:


Gödel's incompleteness theorems are two theorems of mathematical logic that establish inherent limitations of all but the most trivial axiomatic systems capable of doing arithmetic. The theorems, proven by Kurt Gödel in 1931, are important both in mathematical logic and in the philosophy of mathematics.


To put it in plain English, Godel, in 1931, proved that mathematics is a self-referencing system, meaning we simply believe that 2+2=4. The "self-referencing" aspect has since been carried over into all the sciences. There is no external frame of reference outside of what we deem to be human consciousness, so basically, what we make up in our own minds, as long as everyone agrees on the definition, is the standard by which we function. That person walking down the street, with a mindful of good ideas? He's just the product of years of consensual agreement on whatever topic. You and I are both victims of the same "assumptions", but we both agree on them, and therefore, they are REAL to us.

If the sciences are self-affirmed, what does that say about personal beliefs? Rhetoric.

While it seems that over the years one belief system would rise up and take a forefront, dominating all the others, the truth of the matter is that there really is no "correct" belief system, not one in the sense of catering to every person's individual beliefs. The New Age movement attempts to compensate, by collectively assimilating many mainstream religions, but still falls short, represented by the fact the there is no "absolute truth". The perfect religion hasn't been presented to us yet.

I have reservation using the word religion, but a definition needs to be presented. A movement about spiritual effects does tend towards a "religious" connotation, so therefore it bounds within this discussion.

I'll posit that religion is man-made, and thus, anything classified as such is considered the result of human origin. The true heart of the debate hinges upon a natural inclination towards humans needing a dependence upon religion, and society eventually creating a "universal" religion that caters to every individual, not just specific groups.

There are members of the human race that have set aside "religious" beliefs, and as such, function as participating members of society. The premise presented in this debate denotes that all humans will eventually conform to some aspect of a "New Age" belief, which is obviously not so.

That said, I rest, and await my opponent's closing statement.



posted on Sep, 19 2012 @ 04:32 AM
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Religion, reduced to a simple belief system, has been present since the dawn of the actual consciousness of humankind.


Religion and spirituality, though related, are two distinct entities with religion being formalised through civilization and then corrupted through the self-serving agenda of mankind.

The New Age movement for all its flaws is not subject to the same level of corruption which has plagued religion, simply because there is no ‘middle man’ between the individual and a higher understanding of the spiritual realm.


It's proven in the historical record that different cultures create their own Gods. We WANT an explanation, and without a direct explanation, humans are very good at "creating" an explanation, and often extrapolate such explanations to unfalsifiable conclusions.


The ol’ ‘God of the Gaps ‘scenario eh…

What you must understand is that the topics the New Age movement are speculating about are those which current scientific method cannot answer. We do not deny scientific knowledge regarding the physical world. Instead that new knowledge is incorporated and in many cases actually built upon in order form our worldview.

This is one of the New Age movement’s great strengths – its ability to change and adapt as new information becomes available.


The New Age movement attempts to compensate, by collectively assimilating many mainstream religions, but still falls short, represented by the fact the there is no "absolute truth". The perfect religion hasn't been presented to us yet.


My personal view is that each religion is a different facet upon the gem of ultimate truth. I do believe there is such a thing as ‘the Ultimate Truth’. Whether it’s something that we as beings existing within this truth will ever be able to grasp is another question entirely. If your definition of the ‘perfect religion’ is something that presents this ultimate truth, then yes I would agree that it does not exist. But at least those partaking in the New Age Movement are free to figure this out for themselves.


The premise presented in this debate denotes that all humans will eventually conform to some aspect of a "New Age" belief, which is obviously not so.


And herein lies the entire crux of this debate…

Nowhere have I stated that all humans will eventually ‘conform’ to some aspect of the New age belief system. For starters the New Age Movement is itself is not about conforming to some set dogma because none exists in the first place. The New Age can be likened almost to a spiritual version of Humanism.

The world as we know it is speeding up at an ever increasing, exponential pace. The rate of technological innovation is doubling every few years or so and an awareness of how we as humans can affect our planet in terms of the environment, economics, and socio-political issues is expanding like never before. We are finally grasping that each and every one of our actions can affect not just ourselves but other people and things on a global scale

Everything you see around you is a symptom of mankind’s restlessness for something new to emerge. The old ways are beginning to crumble and this can be seen in the economic status of the world, the increased bullyboy tactics of the U.S. and the acceptance of it by the rest of the nations, the Occupy Wall Street Movement, the War on Terror and the near simultaneous outbreak of rioting in many of the more oppressed areas across the globe.

Other symptoms of this change include the internet – we are communicating and sharing ideas with more people than ever before. The increase automation of menial tasks, the advances in our understanding of energies and quantum physics, the linking of eastern philosophies with western mysticism, the discoveries in the field of medicine about just how our expectations and stress levels can affect our health. The genetic revolution is another – we are moving beyond limitations of our physical bodies not just on a spiritual level but also within the material plane itself. And we are now just beginning to realize just how connected everything really is.

As alluded to earlier the of New Age movement champions sustainable living, respect for fellow humans regardless of race or creed and the ending of needless war. Sooner or later we will have no choice but to adopt most of the practical components championed by the New Age Movement.

As for the spiritual side….

We live in a world where our minds have been shown to affect the very building blocks which make up not only ourselves but everything else in the universe. As technology improves science is only now beginning to prove that which the ancients have known all along. Sooner or later it will actually become illogical[i/] to believe that we are merely static observers in a world beyond our control.

In my opinion we are already there…




posted on Sep, 20 2012 @ 12:34 AM
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Our thoughts our the essence of what we are.



What you must understand is that the topics the New Age movement are speculating about are those which current scientific method cannot answer.


It's the field of Metaphysics, I'll agree. Tons of speculating, and no scientific fact. It's a fringe science, and will remain as such. There are many thoughts, experiences, and ideas, all being shared across the internet always shaded unfairly by shadow of "wyrd" experiences. The New Age movement will never escape that shadow.

The New Age movement is a sound paradigm for it's own believers, but it doesn't round out a philosophy that every human must adhere to, and pointing back to the topic of this debate, it's not something that will overrule all previous religions. A natural progression is a series in which a previous scenario compliments the next, and they flow together to create a logical flowing thought process.

I'll drift a bit here, and say that the Catholic Church had an agenda, the Crusades, and wiped out most Pagan beliefs. I don't need to go further by stating all the travesties committed, nor the woeful loss of knowledge that occurred. The only other event in our history that can compare was the burning of Alexandria in Egypt.

The Crusades ended the Old Age, and eradicated the "common knowledge" of the base survival skills, and caused everyone to conform.

The small percentage, the "NEW AGE" people stepped up, split aside, and rendered a belief system that was broad and encompassing.

I'll end my drifting now, and paddle my small raft ashore.

I stand firm, once again upon the shore, looking out upon the sea of humanity. I see many religions as I gaze out upon the horizon, all special, all different, but nonetheless encompassing every aspect of humanity.

Within that, I see the New Age Movement as an embryo, something that needs developed, and while I hope for a successful birth of a New Age, I'm hindered by the presence of previously defined beliefs that the majority cling to.

The New Age has a chance as a religious meme, but honestly, it's just another competing meme in the harsh reality of human perception.

Look 100 years back. There was no New Age. A hundred years in the future? We'll have thought of something else.

I'll close this debate by saying that the New Age Movement is nothing more than a unification attempt consolidating fringe religious beliefs. Good enough, well played. Almost anyone not mainstream religion can join. To say every will be drawn to that is quite a stretch, and wherefore I refute my opponents claims.

With a world population of 6.9 billion, and only 245 million in the USA, we have to recognize that China has 2.6 billion citizens, and they are Buddhists. The Chinese aren't interested in budging from their paradigm. There will always be 2.6 billion Buddhists in China given the current trends.

Conclusion: The New Age movement is a localized event mostly in the USA, and UK, for those disillusioned by a mostly Catholic indoctrination. To be honest, it's a payback from the Crusades. It has nothing to do with an evolved belief system for all of humanity. Not at all.



posted on Sep, 23 2012 @ 01:48 PM
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Judgments are in...




You are going to hate me for this.... I'm calling this a draw. Both participants make strong points and I was left feeling like this debate could have and should have been given more time or an additional post or two. I have read this 3 times already and I have spent that last 2 days mulling it over and I am not closer today than I was yesterday at being able to say that one case was stronger than other. My hats off to both participants, and I feel that being unable to come to a conclusion is doing a huge disservice to both. I literally felt like a ping pong ball, moving from one camp to the other as I read and reread this debate.






In the opening statements, both debaters give their opinions of the new age belief. While 1littlewolf brings forward strong points highlighting what it is and what it is not, Druid42 focuses on the religious connotation of the belief. 1littlewolf describes the belief with a wider and more detailed analysis than Druid42 and therefore I give this Round to this debater.

In the second round, 1littlewolf picks up on the religious theme and comes back with even stronger points than his opening. Druid42, on the other hand, sticks to the religious connotations aspect of it and explains them in a beautiful way. Both debaters were outstanding in this Round. However, as Druid42 has forced the focus of the discussion on the religious side of it, which his opponent fell for, a nice move actually, this Round is his for the taking.

The closing statements: 1littlewolf brings in fringe topics, science and metaphysics, interesting but lacking the strength of the first two rounds. Druid42 briefly touches his opponent’s conclusion and goes further into his religious connotations, which is good, but mentioning a payback for the crusades, as concluded, is quite a stretch. Nonetheless, both conclusions are still great reads and both debaters did well but it leaves me hungry for more. So this Round would be a tie.

For the overall debate, both did exceptionally well and it was an excellent read. However, I give the most scoring points for penetration of the belief, in explaining where it’s from, where it’s at and where it’s heading. With that in mind, I find that 1littlewolf made a clearer case and is the winner of this debate.

It was a good match!



1littlewolf wins this debate by a very close margin.





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