The New Age Movement
Other Main Names:
The New Age Movement has been described as "Hinduism for the West." The movement has no single leader, no definite doctrine, and no single headquarters. It is a write-your-own religion where the practitioner is free to pick and choose any elements they like from a long list including such things as reincarnation and evolution towards godhood.
The New Age Movement is not new, but is probably gaining popularity now because of a post-scientific backlash due to a loss of faith in science being able to provide all the answers to the questions of life. The "new" in New Age refers to a new astrological age that was supposed to start a few years back (there is disagreement amongst New Agers as to which year it actually was) and does not indicate that the New Age Movement is something completely new or recent.
The New Age Movement is about feeling good about oneself through whatever means the practitioner feels they like. The actual truth is ignored. Indeed, a typical new age statement is "There is no absolute truth." The statement is self-refuting since if there is no absolute truth, then the statement itself cannot be true. Similarly for "Nothing is knowable." Much of the New Age Movement is similarly self-contradictory or soundly refuted by science (eg homeopathy) but practitioners do not care as long as they feel good about it.
Note that many new age activities are also occult - see the Closeup on the Occult.