Second Coming of the New Age (Bancarz and Peck)

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RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Bancarz and Peck. The Second Coming of the New Age: The Hidden Dangers of Alternative Spirituality in Contemporary America and its Churches. Crane, MO: Defenders Publishing, 2018.

Those engaged in counter-cult ministries will welcome this new addition. The book’s base isn’t new, since the New Age isn’t a new phenomenon. On the other hand, there are new practices and “mindsets” that require an updated response.

On Truth

While the section on “truth” was quite basic, the authors point out a problem with pragmatic theories of truth: “we often don’t know what the utility of a belief is ahead of time. We don’t have perfect access to the full consequences of a belief in the moment” (101).

God and the Force

While New Age teachers often point to personal “spirit guides,” God, such as they understand, is an impersonal force. For Christians prayer is talking to a personal God. For the New Age, it is tapping into a force. All of this is old stuff in counter-cult ministries. Peck and Bancarz, however, take the analysis to the next level.

The Bible does talk about a force. It is the personification of Chaos, Leviathan. In the ANE it was also known as “Litanu, Lotan, Behemoth, Tiamat, Mot, Seth-Horus, and Cerberus” (132). I agree with them, but I don’t think Behemoth is in the same category. The authors then note the similarities in vocabulary between the Ugaritic Baal Cycle and the book of Job. This is not to say, of course, that one borrows from the other. Rather, it shows that the people in both used similar vocabulary and concepts.

Let’s assume that Leviathan = Chaos Monster, as both Job and the Ugaritic literature suggest. Could New Agers actually be tapping into this rather infernal entity? Perhaps. We don’t mean to suggest that every time a New Ager meditates she is channeling Leviathan; rather, the possibility is there.

Pantheism

The biggest takeaway is that the Big Bang theory refutes pantheism, since it logically precludes an infinite universe.

Ye are gods

Jesus’s use of Psalm 82 doesn’t lend credence to the New Age claim that “ye are gods.” If the verse refers to Old Testament judges (which I don’t think it does), then Jesus isn’t talking about you. You aren’t an Old Testament judge. If the verse refers to the divine council, and Jesus’s use hints at the sons of God in the New Testament replacing the fallen bene elohim, then it also doesn’t refer to you. Bancarz and Peck seem to clinch the argument with a lexical analysis of Psalm 89. Whoever these bene elohim are, they are in the clouds.

The authors don’t mention it, but the literal translation of Psalm 82 is Elohim takes his stand in the Council of El,” which has a very specific meaning in the ancient world. They didn’t need to mention it, to be sure, since they had already refuted the New Age reading of the verse.

Zeitgeist and Pagan Mythology

Mithra: Emerged from a rock; no virgin birth (John Hinnels; James Hastings).
Dionysius: Zeus impregnated Semele; no virgin birth.

Aliens

More Americans believe in aliens than in the classical doctrine of God. The authors do a good job explaining the general parameters of the discussion. Basically, you have your:

Greys (Reticuluns)
Origin: Zeta Reticuli
Appearance: 3-4 feet tall
UFO: Saucer; sphere
Myth association: Fairies
Claims: cloning; genetic manipulation
Abilities: mind-based

Nordics
Origin: Pleiades
Appearance: 5-7 feet tall

Repitilians
Origin: Draco Star system
Appearance: 6-7 feet tall
Myth association: Dragons; djinn; maybe the Nachash

Mantis Aliens
Origin: Draco Star System
Appearance: 6-7 feet tall; triangular heads

Whatever else we may believe about UFO encounters, they never tell us how they got here (270). They always tell us that we need to promote world government and be inclusive and stuff. The section on why interstellar space travel is impossible is probably the death-knell to all views of aliens. Moreover, if alien technology is so advanced, then why are the so medically inept in their procedures? Our medicine today can do invasive procedures without leaving too much noticeable after effect. When aliens do anal probes (and apologists for our alien brethren, so-called, need to explain why brutal anal probes are even necessary), why are they several decades behind in anestheisa? If they are dark entities, then it makes sense.

The book ends with a critique of New Age practices that one might find in American churches: contemplative prayer, yoga, labyrinthine prayer, Angel boards, etc.

Criticism

I hate to do this next part because it seems like I might imply the book isn’t worth getting. One of the problems of Defenders Press is the lack of good editing. The physical quality of Defenders books is quite good. The binding is good and the cover has a nice feel to it. The artwork is also fun. The typos and omission of proper formatting threatens to undo the whole project. For example:

* Titles of books are never italicized. I don’t know why they routinely fail to do this.
* Concerning our heavenly bodies, they write, “This begs the question” (254). It raises the question. Begging the question is a logical fallacy. What they meant to write was “raise the question.”
 

Brian T

Puritan Board Freshman
Bancarz and Peck. The Second Coming of the New Age: The Hidden Dangers of Alternative Spirituality in Contemporary America and its Churches. Crane, MO: Defenders Publishing, 2018.

Those engaged in counter-cult ministries will welcome this new addition. The book’s base isn’t new, since the New Age isn’t a new phenomenon. On the other hand, there are new practices and “mindsets” that require an updated response.

On Truth

While the section on “truth” was quite basic, the authors point out a problem with pragmatic theories of truth: “we often don’t know what the utility of a belief is ahead of time. We don’t have perfect access to the full consequences of a belief in the moment” (101).

God and the Force

While New Age teachers often point to personal “spirit guides,” God, such as they understand, is an impersonal force. For Christians prayer is talking to a personal God. For the New Age, it is tapping into a force. All of this is old stuff in counter-cult ministries. Peck and Bancarz, however, take the analysis to the next level.

The Bible does talk about a force. It is the personification of Chaos, Leviathan. In the ANE it was also known as “Litanu, Lotan, Behemoth, Tiamat, Mot, Seth-Horus, and Cerberus” (132). I agree with them, but I don’t think Behemoth is in the same category. The authors then note the similarities in vocabulary between the Ugaritic Baal Cycle and the book of Job. This is not to say, of course, that one borrows from the other. Rather, it shows that the people in both used similar vocabulary and concepts.

Let’s assume that Leviathan = Chaos Monster, as both Job and the Ugaritic literature suggest. Could New Agers actually be tapping into this rather infernal entity? Perhaps. We don’t mean to suggest that every time a New Ager meditates she is channeling Leviathan; rather, the possibility is there.

Pantheism

The biggest takeaway is that the Big Bang theory refutes pantheism, since it logically precludes an infinite universe.

Ye are gods

Jesus’s use of Psalm 82 doesn’t lend credence to the New Age claim that “ye are gods.” If the verse refers to Old Testament judges (which I don’t think it does), then Jesus isn’t talking about you. You aren’t an Old Testament judge. If the verse refers to the divine council, and Jesus’s use hints at the sons of God in the New Testament replacing the fallen bene elohim, then it also doesn’t refer to you. Bancarz and Peck seem to clinch the argument with a lexical analysis of Psalm 89. Whoever these bene elohim are, they are in the clouds.

The authors don’t mention it, but the literal translation of Psalm 82 is Elohim takes his stand in the Council of El,” which has a very specific meaning in the ancient world. They didn’t need to mention it, to be sure, since they had already refuted the New Age reading of the verse.

Zeitgeist and Pagan Mythology

Mithra: Emerged from a rock; no virgin birth (John Hinnels; James Hastings).
Dionysius: Zeus impregnated Semele; no virgin birth.

Aliens

More Americans believe in aliens than in the classical doctrine of God. The authors do a good job explaining the general parameters of the discussion. Basically, you have your:

Greys (Reticuluns)
Origin: Zeta Reticuli
Appearance: 3-4 feet tall
UFO: Saucer; sphere
Myth association: Fairies
Claims: cloning; genetic manipulation
Abilities: mind-based

Nordics
Origin: Pleiades
Appearance: 5-7 feet tall

Repitilians
Origin: Draco Star system
Appearance: 6-7 feet tall
Myth association: Dragons; djinn; maybe the Nachash

Mantis Aliens
Origin: Draco Star System
Appearance: 6-7 feet tall; triangular heads

Whatever else we may believe about UFO encounters, they never tell us how they got here (270). They always tell us that we need to promote world government and be inclusive and stuff. The section on why interstellar space travel is impossible is probably the death-knell to all views of aliens. Moreover, if alien technology is so advanced, then why are the so medically inept in their procedures? Our medicine today can do invasive procedures without leaving too much noticeable after effect. When aliens do anal probes (and apologists for our alien brethren, so-called, need to explain why brutal anal probes are even necessary), why are they several decades behind in anestheisa? If they are dark entities, then it makes sense.

The book ends with a critique of New Age practices that one might find in American churches: contemplative prayer, yoga, labyrinthine prayer, Angel boards, etc.

Criticism

I hate to do this next part because it seems like I might imply the book isn’t worth getting. One of the problems of Defenders Press is the lack of good editing. The physical quality of Defenders books is quite good. The binding is good and the cover has a nice feel to it. The artwork is also fun. The typos and omission of proper formatting threatens to undo the whole project. For example:

* Titles of books are never italicized. I don’t know why they routinely fail to do this.
* Concerning our heavenly bodies, they write, “This begs the question” (254). It raises the question. Begging the question is a logical fallacy. What they meant to write was “raise the question.”

Thanks for the time you put into these synopses. I always enjoy reading them.

Hmm...I might have to pick this one up.

No mention, I assume, of the self-transforming fractal machine elves in DMT hyperspace??? That's a rather new wrinkle in the New Agey nonsense that's been gaining in popularity since the 90s. At least they've solved the problem with interstellar travel: just do DMT and the aliens come to you! Funny thing is, something like 90% of people who do DMT report seeing these damned things, including the likes of Joe Rogan. And their descriptions are eerily similar across the board: weird fractal-like appearances and their transmitting messages of peace, love, universal brotherhood and one-world government LOL.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Thanks for the time you put into these synopses. I always enjoy reading them.

Hmm...I might have to pick this one up.

No mention, I assume, of the self-transforming fractal machine elves in DMT hyperspace??? That's a rather new wrinkle in the New Agey nonsense that's been gaining in popularity since the 90s. At least they've solved the problem with interstellar travel: just do DMT and the aliens come to you! Funny thing is, something like 90% of people who do DMT report seeing these damned things, including the likes of Joe Rogan. And their descriptions are eerily similar across the board: weird fractal-like appearances and their transmitting messages of peace, love, universal brotherhood and one-world government LOL.

They mention DMT, though they don't deal with it in detail. I'm surprised they didn't mention Enneagrams, which I always thought were Myers-Briggs test for yoga moms.
 

Brian T

Puritan Board Freshman
They mention DMT, though they don't deal with it in detail. I'm surprised they didn't mention Enneagrams, which I always thought were Myers-Briggs test for yoga moms.

LOL I had almost forgotten about the Enneagram. I think I came out as a #3 competitive achiever.

Books like this do have value, because most of this new-agey nonsense is far from just innocuous and innocent diversions by bored boomers and soccer moms. There is a supernatural realm all around us and very bad things live there. And a lot of these new agey practices tap into them and empower them. Even something as seemingly trite and harmless as some Gen-X chick chanting a mudra during her Saturday morning yoga class accomplishes this. I think that most people are dismissive of it all because they don't really take the supernatural seriously, and don't have a supernatural mindset because they've ultimately taken over the modern world's naturalist mindset.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
Pantheism

The biggest takeaway is that the Big Bang theory refutes pantheism, since it logically precludes an infinite universe.
Sounds an interesting book.

With regard to the part I've quoted above, what roughly is their argument? Given the Big Bang is fictional, it seems to be a pretty poor refutation of pantheism, unless I'm missing something?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Sounds an interesting book.

With regard to the part I've quoted above, what roughly is their argument? Given the Big Bang is fictional, it seems to be a pretty poor refutation of pantheism, unless I'm missing something?

At its most basic, the Big Bang is simply a scientific model showing the universe began to exist. If the universe began to exist, then it isn't infinite and eternal. On a similar point, if the universe is currently expanding, then it can't be eternal. This is a common point in apologetics. It isn't original with them.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
At its most basic, the Big Bang is simply a scientific model showing the universe began to exist. If the universe began to exist, then it isn't infinite and eternal. On a similar point, if the universe is currently expanding, then it can't be eternal. This is a common point in apologetics. It isn't original with them.
In fact it's a historical (not scientific) hypothesis giving an alternative (i.e. unbiblical) explanation of how the universe began to exist. It's a poor argument because we know that is actually not how the universe began to exist, the Big Bang never happened.

That the universe is currently expanding and therefore not eternal is a scientific model, and a perfectly valid argument - it's quite different from the Big Bang argument though. That is sort of why I was interested in what the book actually argues contra pantheism - if it's espousing the Big Bang Theory (poor argument), or using the expanding universe model (valid argument).
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
At its most basic, the Big Bang is simply a scientific model showing the universe began to exist. If the universe began to exist, then it isn't infinite and eternal. On a similar point, if the universe is currently expanding, then it can't be eternal. This is a common point in apologetics. It isn't original with them.
Maybe I’m not up to speed with my cosmological models, but I thought the Big Bang theory states that the Big Bang is not the beginning, but merely the most recent of many, since the universe is in an eternal cycle of expansion and contraction. Am I wrong about that?
 

Brian T

Puritan Board Freshman
Maybe I’m not up to speed with my cosmological models, but I thought the Big Bang theory states that the Big Bang is not the beginning, but merely the most recent of many, since the universe is in an eternal cycle of expansion and contraction. Am I wrong about that?

The Big Bang explains the origin of the current universe. (Edit to add: I don't buy it, so when I say "explains" I am referring to those who believe the model!)

Some models have the Big Bang Event occurring at time 0 and then the universe expands forever into eventual heat death.

Other models have the Big Bang Event occurring at time 0 and then the universe expands to a certain gravitational limit, at which point the universe begins to contract back to that initial singularity. Once the universe contracts back into a singularity, the Big Bang Event may reoccur...or not.

Of these two overall models, the former seems to be most favored today, since (according to the cosmologists/astrophysicists) most of their data indicates that the universe is expanding faster and faster away from everything the further out into the universe you go. This can't happen on the latter model, where there would have to be an eventual slowdown in the universe's overall expansion before hitting that gravitational limit, at which point in space-time the contraction would then begin.
 
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RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
In fact it's a historical (not scientific) hypothesis giving an alternative (i.e. unbiblical) explanation of how the universe began to exist. It's a poor argument because we know that is actually not how the universe began to exist, the Big Bang never happened.

That the universe is currently expanding and therefore not eternal is a scientific model, and a perfectly valid argument - it's quite different from the Big Bang argument though. That is sort of why I was interested in what the book actually argues contra pantheism - if it's espousing the Big Bang Theory (poor argument), or using the expanding universe model (valid argument).

Neither they nor I am throwing all the weight upon one argument. It was simply one line in many. But to alleviate concern, we will go with the expanding universe model (which also refutes Kant).
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Maybe I’m not up to speed with my cosmological models, but I thought the Big Bang theory states that the Big Bang is not the beginning, but merely the most recent of many, since the universe is in an eternal cycle of expansion and contraction. Am I wrong about that?

Some physicists go with the eternal cycle model. It seems too ad hoc for me and it is almost certainly used to get away from the fact that the Big Bang was starting too sound too much like God.
 

Brian T

Puritan Board Freshman
Some physicists go with the eternal cycle model. It seems too ad hoc for me and it is almost certainly used to get away from the fact that the Big Bang was starting too sound too much like God.

One of the funny things about all of the cosmological models: Einstein's theory of general relativity (which was concerned with gravity) assumed a static-state universe, which was the accepted cosmological model in his day. Not too soon afterwards, however, all the data indicated an expanding universe. Einstein was completely befuddled by that, as that was impossible on his general relativity model.

So, he literally conjured up a number out of thin air, now known as the "cosmological constant", to account for the expansion.

The problem now is that his fudged number no longer works either, since the data shows an increasing acceleration of the universe's expansion. That is why there are now all these "theories" about dark matter and dark energy.

At the end of the day, it's obvious that it's all bunk.
 
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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
I found this article helpful.
~~~~~~~~

When writing a paper, do I use italics for all titles?

Answer​

Simply put: no.
APA's Publication Manual (2020) indicates that, in the body of your paper, you should use italics for the titles of:
  • "books, reports, webpages, and other stand-lone works" (p. 170)
  • periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)


Beyond APA's specific examples, know that certain types of titles are almost always written in italics.

A general rule of thumb is that within the text of a paper, italicize the title of complete works but put quotation marks around titles of parts within a complete work.

The table below isn't comprehensive, but it's a good starting point
Titles in ItalicsTitles Placed in "Quotation Marks"
Title of a periodical (magazine, journal, newspaper) Title of article in a periodical
Title of a book Title of a chapter in a book
Title of a movie or playName of an act or scene in a movie or a play
Title of a television or radio series Title of an episode within a tv or radio series
Title of a musical album or CDTitle of a song
Title of a long poemTitle of a short poem
Names of operas or long musical composition
Names of paintings and sculptures
Title of a short story
On an APA-style reference page, the rules for titles are a little different. In short, a title you would italicize within the body of a paper will also be italicized on a reference page. However, a title you'd place in quotation marks within the body of the paper (such as the title of an article within a journal) will be written without italics and quotation marks on the references page.

Here are some examples:
Smith (2001) research is fully described in the Journal of Higher Education.
Smith's (2001) article "College Admissions See Increase" was published in the Journal of Higher Education after his pivotal study on the admissions process.
Visit the APA Style's "Use of Italics" page to learn more!
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
I found this article helpful.
~~~~~~~~

When writing a paper, do I use italics for all titles?

Answer​

Simply put: no.
APA's Publication Manual (2020) indicates that, in the body of your paper, you should use italics for the titles of:
  • "books, reports, webpages, and other stand-lone works" (p. 170)
  • periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)


Beyond APA's specific examples, know that certain types of titles are almost always written in italics.

A general rule of thumb is that within the text of a paper, italicize the title of complete works but put quotation marks around titles of parts within a complete work.

The table below isn't comprehensive, but it's a good starting point
Titles in ItalicsTitles Placed in "Quotation Marks"
Title of a periodical (magazine, journal, newspaper) Title of article in a periodical
Title of a book Title of a chapter in a book
Title of a movie or playName of an act or scene in a movie or a play
Title of a television or radio series Title of an episode within a tv or radio series
Title of a musical album or CDTitle of a song
Title of a long poemTitle of a short poem
Names of operas or long musical composition
Names of paintings and sculptures
Title of a short story
On an APA-style reference page, the rules for titles are a little different. In short, a title you would italicize within the body of a paper will also be italicized on a reference page. However, a title you'd place in quotation marks within the body of the paper (such as the title of an article within a journal) will be written without italics and quotation marks on the references page.

Here are some examples:
Smith (2001) research is fully described in the Journal of Higher Education.
Smith's (2001) article "College Admissions See Increase" was published in the Journal of Higher Education after his pivotal study on the admissions process.
Visit the APA Style's "Use of Italics" page to learn more!

I agree. The problem was that they didn't use italics for anything.
 
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