Signs of time
Signs of time
Some further evidence that these are notions that are very much present in everyday life.
(Tidblom, 2000) Many therapies and philosophies associated with the New Age are more established and accepted today than they were just ten years ago. The concepts of the New Age as pseudo-religion have become less alien to more people than just within the Circle of New Age followers. Television broadcasts programs about spirits and ghosts, the yoga tradition spreads to gyms, schools and hospitals, and "Lifestyle Fairs" offers Healing and Tarot. This may explain that many people who believe in the beliefs in the beliefs of life included in the New Age (for example, paranormal phenomena and reincarnation) do not consider themselves to be part of the New Age, neither as a movement nor as a philosophy of life. TidblomA_Nyandlig_personlighet_2010.pdf
A reading of the tv tableau for a week at the end of November-December 2014 (29/11-5/12) indicates that there are at least six different reality series with alleged experts on spirits and supernatural phenomena that are public help in solving various problems: Medium in the name of the law, Rescue mediums, The Unknown, Ghost Hunters, The House of Evil Spirits (all on Channel 7, included in TV4). To this will be added the autumn big bet on TV4/Kanal 7: "A night at the castle". The latter is an original series in eight episodes, where famous Swedes get to spend a night at Bogesund Castle in Vaxholm in the company of "the nordic region's foremost and most respected medium Lena Ranehag" (TV4, u.å.). "Lena will be the link between the stars and the spirit world, the stars will get a glimpse of their future, face the past and experience the spirit world".
SvT 2 (SvT Play, u.å.) this week shows an episode of "From Sweden to Heaven", which on the channel's website is presented as a "[s]Vensk lifeview series", with the host Anna Lindman. This week's episode is described as follows:
"Anna goes to Karlstad and meets Anna-Lena, who calls herself a medium and says she can find missing things, talk to the dead and see who comes around the corner. Anna-Lena was born in Lapland and was told when she was a child that she had special gifts, but anyone can learn, she says, and takes Anna out to practice."
The Oprah Winfrey Show (Oprah_Winfrey, 2014, December 20) airs for 25 seasons between 1986-2011. Over the years, she is visited by several people who are already or afterwards become prominent figures in the new world, such as Deepak Chopra, Gary Zukav and Eckhart Tolle. When Winfrey brings the latter's debut book "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" into his book club in 2005, it sells over time, reportedly (Boog, 2011, May 25) in just over 3.3 million copies.
Criticism has come mainly from Christians. Garcia (2008, April 23) in an article in the magazine Christian Post, quotes evangelist Bill Keller who likened Winfrey's activities to providing viewers with a powerful drug: "I believe these New Age teachings are like 'spiritual crack' because people are hungry, the teachings satisfy and then they are hungry again."
Olav Hammer comments on descriptions in an IKEA catalogue, where customers are encouraged to decorate in a certain way so that "the energy will flow freely". A color is recommended for its healing qualities. The author writes that "what had only a decade ago been perceived as a moderately controversial and exotic interest is today almost part of the Swedish average culture" (Hammer 2004, p.16).
The Church of Sweden has also been impressed by these new trends. In Engelbrektskyrkan in Stockholm, services are arranged for a period with so-called "Oneness blessing", also called "deeksha" (Oneness University, u.å.). The church's newspaper is on site during the premiere and reports on unusually many and active visitors, as well as about a relatively low average age:
"Last Wednesday, about four hundred people made their way through rain and wind to Engelbrektskyrkan in Stockholm to attend Europe's first oneness blessing service. It was undoubtedly an unusual evening, it is not common for the church to be full on a weekday evening. It is also not common for so many people to actively participate in the fair, nor that the average age of visitors is between 35 and 40 years" (Hägglund, 2009, 12 November).
The Christian-oriented website Bibel Fokus comments on the event: "The Church of Sweden offers the occult 'spirit' in Mass!" (Jareteg, 2010, October 29).
KG Hammar, Archbishop of the Church of Sweden 1997–2006 (Church of Sweden, U.Å.) In 2004, I published the book "I Don't Have the Truth, I Seek It." Hammar, who will be the last archbishop to be appointed by the government, has been debated for his views during his tenure. Journalist Sievert Öholm (2013, 11 October) calls KG Hammar's episcopal act a "religious experiment", his belief for a "private religion" and to evidence that K G Hammar's religiosity is of the freer kind, Öholm refers, among other things, to a stage performance the archbishop made together with the Dalai Lama at Scandinavium in Gothenburg in 2005, where Hammar's concluding line is said to have been: "Deep down, I'm probably a little Buddhist."
The Dalai Lama (DalaiLama.com, u.s.) who, incidentally, on his website, expresses that if he could decide for himself, he would be the last in his post:
"In the future, if the Dalai Lama's institution is no longer relevant or useful and our present situation changes, then the Dalai Lama's institution will cease to exist. Personally, I feel the institution of the Dalai Lama has served its purpose."
A reporter from Dagens Nyheter describes in the report "Spiritual smorgasbord or cultural Prozaj – the new times are here" (Utterström, 2014, April 13) how surprised he is to find Korskyrkan represented at the Body and Soul Mass in Solnahallen, surrounded by a variety of activities and services of a new age character. "Do you want to get well? We pray for back and joint problems, headaches, allergies, vision or hearing problems, pains or injuries in the body, etc.," the church banner reads. The reporter thinks back to his upbringing in a free church home, where he learned to despise newness: "Those who meditated with crystals or engaged in reikihealing were lost souls. Even psychologist Lars-Eric Uneståhl, who helped elite athletes with mental training, was considered suspicious and possibly in connection with evil powers."
Another phenomenon is the so-called twelve-step movement or the "recovery movement" (Alcoholics Anonymous), which also has a spiritual superstructure. Their "creed" reads: "I believe in something greater than myself, etc.?" "If we go to the United States from where the big waves of trends come from, today the movement we call the recovery movement is stronger than the New Age" (Månsus, 1997).
Critical voices are not lacking. One skeptic who is of particular interest to the area's contemporary beliefs is the magician James Randi. Since the 1960s, he has promised a larger sum of money (currently USD 1 million) to those who, under scientifically acceptable forms, can exhibit so-called "paranormal abilities". Many have tried over the years, but no one has yet earned the prize money, as stated on the website (James Randi Educational Foundation, u.å.).
In the autumn of 2009, the Humanists Association conducted a high-profile campaign, with newspaper advertisements and advertisements in the public sphere, under the slogan "God probably does not exist". This campaign lives on on a website of the same name (Humanisterna, u.å.). The Association of Science and Popular Education annually awards the prize "The Fool of the Year" to a person or organization that the association perceives spreads pseudoscience (Science and Popular Education, u.s.).
The religion that has long been the dominant in our part of the world is no longer able to attract as before, while beliefs that are not sanctioned by it have received great acceptance (Dagen, 2008; Centre for Social Research, 2009).
Perhaps the Swede harboured these performances, even if they didn't tell us about them. This is hard to know. One guess is that these are new influences. For example, more and more people are embracing the idea of reincarnation, i.e., that man is born again in a new body, which is not an element of conventional Christian theology.
There are also those who question the idea of secularism itself. Berger (1999, referenced in Houtman and Aupers, 2007) makes the following analysis:
"The assumpion that we live in a secularized world is false. The world today… is as furiously religious as it ever was, and in some places more so than ever. This means that a whole body of litterature by historians and social scientists… is essentially mistaken" (page X?)
Ahlbäck (2012, referenced in Frisk & Åkerbäck, 2013, p. 215) argues that the West has even entered a post-secular era: "A post-secular society combines a renewed openness to spiritual issues with customary critical thinking."