Once upon a time, Shirley MacLaine was just an actress. But that was before her book, Out on a Limb, which documents for the dubious her spiritled travels into the unseen dimensions of time and space. Now Dancing in the Light shows MacLaine rushing headlong into the darkness, chanting mantras and using crystals for spiritual power.

As preposterous as all this may sound, MacLaine’s New Age gospel has millions of adherents—and is anything but new. Rooted in the so-called ancient wisdom (a creative mixing of Eastern mysticism with Western occultism), the New Age movement is simply pantheism with a twentieth-century facelift. However, since the sixties, its influence has affected every major facet of contemporary culture.

And that’s why we felt it was time to look critically at the philosophical/theological basis of this confusing—and popular—movement. Applying the critical ink is Canadian author Bob Burrows, editor of publications for the Spiritual Counterfeits Project (SCP). It was Bob’s essay on the New Age in a recent SCP Newsletter that initially caught the attention of CT associate editor David Neff, who called the SCP offices in California and made the assignment.

Bob’s response was, well, overwhelming: 35 typed pages. Whittling down such a mass of words is not usually a problem for someone who carries a blue pencil the size of David’s. But alas, he had 35 well-reasoned, well-written pages to edit down to 25. The cuts came hard. But what was spared “Neff’s knife” is a cover story addressing what Burrows calls “man’s major preoccupation throughout history”; namely, his desire to be in control of his universe—his desire to be a god.

HAROLD SMITH, Managing Editor

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