God, allocative aspects.
When asked whether God is personal or impersonal, contradictory and questionable answers are given. Not only do respondents have different opinions among themselves, but the question seems difficult to already out for everyone.
Yes, I think the universe is burging, the universe is learning the whole… Kind of like a fractal, like a tree, it kind of… We can be seen as a… When we look out into the world, we really look back at ourselves and ourselves. The universe looks back at itself through us.
The interviewees agree that God, whether personal or impersonal, has a vast extent. Life itself can be said to be this God. Everything is part of this system, everything and everyone is part of the same deity's body. With his soul or psyche, the individual is a part of this god: "Our individualized self is only part of God's self. So we are part of God's self," said one respondent. The universe is a single living being, where physical reality constitutes the physical side of God. A respondent refers to how this has been described in the Bible:
The tree that grows over here is like nothing but God. It's not that there's a tree, and somewhere else there's God, and if he wants to, he can snatch it away. It's part of his being. And this is really… There are also such thoughts in Christianity. Paul is… For it is in God that we live and are.
This god or larger, coordinating instance is called "Universe", "Power of God", "A strong energy of God", "Pure Love", "A loving force", "The Great System of Life", "Something", "Cosmos", "A Higher Consciousness", "An Energy", "The Universe" and "Light".
When Freud writes about religion, it is often about the projected "Father" proclaimed to space, who is supposed to be a guarantor of justice and prosperity. Such descriptions are more closely related to traditional religion. The interviewees in this study do not talk about an animated god figure, but more about things like "love" and "light". This comes closer to what Freud (1929/2008) refers to as the "oceanic" feeling, that is, an experience that "relates to limitlessness and union with all things" (p. 406). Freud is equally skeptical about this.
Vitz (1977) writes about a god image that describes him as "energy" and that seeks to nullify all opposites: "New Age mentality attempts to break down distinctions between things and their opposites, and to claim that there are no seriously important boundaries" (Kindle location 2024). God is everything and everywhere, but perhaps the new man can miss him anyway?
God, constitutional aspects.
God is above every duality. God is neither man nor woman, or both. The individual will become like God: "They say that you become one with everything when you are enlightened. Yes, but then you become God and then it will be amazing in the whole world," says an interviewee.
In traditional religion, God is seen as something fundamentally different from man. It's not just a degree, it's a species difference between the two. Sometimes God can't even be called. To believe that you can be or be compared to God is called blasphemy. Here, the new spirituality differs from many other spiritual or religious teachings. Wikström (1998) describes how there was a clear homogenization idea from the start in the new age. Prominent teachers and leaders of the movement could be likened to the biblical Jesus as they were all perceived to be animated by the same spirit.
God, vertical aspects.
God is just. He works through the laws of nature, which for the respondents also includes the idea of reincarnation and the law of karma. Therefore, it can be argued that God is someone who helps us along the way, forward to the goal of becoming more humane. That he contributes to our suffering along the way, he does this out of love. He would not let anyone suffer for what someone else has done. He will also not allow us humans to blow up ourselves and the planet, for example, according to one respondent: "He has no gain from us all disappearing, what is he going to do? He has no one to coach."
A respondent likens God to a supervisor or teacher: "If you now say that you finish and become an angel then, for example, I think it is like the angel's boss in some way, who constantly teaches everyone around him about the vessels." The same respondent continues: "But it's just a force so that somehow… They say you have God in you. He's everywhere, so maybe he's not a man, but there's some power everywhere."
The answer to the question of whether God is someone with whom the individual can have a relationship becomes contradictory. However, there are many other beings with godlike qualities that the individual can be helped by. Guardian angels, angels, and other highly evolved individuals who, from a spiritual dimension, can assist the individual. When the individual is to leave the spiritual world and incarnat again in a physical body, he is assisted by sympathetic and highly developed individuals who are on the other side. These are likened to "heavenly advice." Former relatives or friends, who have died and are now in the spiritual dimension between two incarnations, can take on the task of acting as guardian angels.
There are also perfect souls who no longer need to incarnat in the physical world for their development but who have an interest in, for example, teaching us who remain here. These can sometimes communicate through so-called "channels", as mentioned above. Some animals, such as dolphins, can be far developed and serve as a "guide" for humans.
The individual can be guided by these invisible beings. Their answers or advice are heard as "voices" or "words", but not in a way that the interviewees find morbid. The existence of God is possible in parallel with other communication. One of the interviewees uses this type of communication in his or her work as a healer. Since she is unsure of exactly how it works, she turns to many different instances at the same time with her prayers:
But as when I stand and give healing, then in the face of healing, I ask Jesus Christ, God, and all my guardian angels and guides for help, for I have not really… I don't know what it is. I know there's something higher that helps me and guides me, but I don't really know what it is.
Even the planet is seen as a living organism with parent-like characteristics: Mother Earth. So too are visitors from other planets watching over us. These have progressed further than humanity in development and possess a more advanced technology. Their involvement increased after World War II, when a country used atomic bombs for the first time in warfare.
While God for the Christian is a living mystery, he does not appear to be to the respondents. He is apparently difficult to grasp (personal or impersonal) but respondents have clear answers to questions about God's qualities in general, his extent, his role in the world and relationship with the individual, as administrator of our karma, etc. So in some sense, the newness has detonated even God. With psychoanalytic terminology, it could be said that the followers managed to see through God, "penetrated" and triumphed, even over him?
The new god has not created men, as we have existed forever. Therefore, there is also no guilt or reason to feel or show him any gratitude. This God has not let his son die on a cross to lighten our burdens. There is no debt of gratitude either. This God does not help or assist us in any active way. Man is thus independent, both in relation to the earthly parents and to God. However, Arlebrand (1992) believes that there is a missing object behind the new search. This search has degenerated into "spiritual materialism and consumerism. Without contact with God, man is forced to fall into the worship of himself and his personal needs. Man seeks not "anything", but "someone". 224f).
At the same time, the image of God that fades out is quite strange. He is not powerful or stern, like the god of the Old Testament, but rather turned away, indifferent, or with an almost instrumental relationship with men. It's not exactly the image of a "good parent" fading out, seen with attachment theoretic eyes. He lets people suffer, but he does this out of love, explains one of the respondents. For us to be perfect. At the same time, it is obvious from the interview answers that there are many people in the world who will have to suffer severely in the future. It is close at hand to ask whether the image of God and attitude to the outside world do not interact in any way, and unless the relationship of God has been given the features of "identification with aggressor".
One of the respondents believes that the state of the world shows that there must be a competing force in existence: "But I believe in more than just God, if you say so, i.e. I am not like monotheist in the sense that it is a god and so it is humanity, or so" (p2).
The world is created by a kind of higher power, or powers, but it was not meant, so to speak, as it now looks, it was not intended as… The original as divine creation… If so, it would have been all good, and really a kind of perfection really… Thus, an imperfect world must reflect an imperfect creator, whether one has that it is a creator, or vice versa (p2).
God, horizontal aspects.
We meet God, among other things, through our fellow human beings, who are part aspects of this all-encompassing deity: "But if everything is God, you live in a constant correspondence with god. When we meet a fellow human being… "It's a part of God," said one interviewee. It is possible to feel a deep affinity with all creation, as everything in existence is connected to visible or invisible bonds. This brings with it a sense of purpose and community:
Yes, it has to do with everything then being connected, if you are then into this with thoughts and feelings and all that stuff, so as the whole world is connected, even… I mean, there are different waves of life, with man, with the animal kingdom, with the plant kingdom, and with the mineral, and they are kind of more connected than you might think (p2).
No one is ever separated from God. No one needs to feel alone. It is also natural to share, even your possessions. The belief has an ethical meaning:
I don't feel alone, so alone. I don't feel separated from… I feel like I'm part of… So life becomes more meaningful, the more meaningful it makes more sense to SHARE, for example. Because everything I do, I do to myself because I'm connected to everything. I'm not separated. It's not like that. Oh, MY stuff, like, like, like that (p10).
I have a… Not the god we worship in the Church, or, no, not that kind of thing. I don't believe in God, or Jesus, as any person like that. I don't have that faith. Without me, I think this… God is within you, within each. And then, this one… The message is love for all, it is my faith. And then we are all little gods, more or less (p7).
Granqvist (2014) has found differences in the image of God in traditional believers and people who are interested in new age or newness. The former have a "safe harbor" or a sense of someone who is greater and more wise than themselves to turn to, while the latter seem to lack this. Perhaps it can be said that the new-age god possesses certain horizontal (allocative, as well as constitutional), but largely devoid of vertical, characteristics?
God, capacitive aspects.
God has no way of destroying and changing the fate of the individual. But from a different perspective, it is still possible to see everything as a collaboration or communication with God, where even the painful experiences are part of a re-creation of man. This is something God participates in out of love:
He helps us, and there is nothing to develop on other than suffering. And the sooner we learn that love and humanity apply, and peace, he will show us the way. And since we can't learn if we don't suffer, this is going to continue. So it's out of love (p3).
Christians tend to submit to God and expect them to be able to come and sort out their problems. They are also too focused on how they are doing in this one life, and are unable to see that this is just a small piece of a much larger panorama. Moreover, they do not understand that the individual himself is responsible for his fate. With the new spirituality, the image of God changes, what he can and cannot do, and thus also the expectations the individual can have about someone who will fix problems and make things right. Prayer has a function, but for the individual himself, one of the respondents describes it as. A form of self-care.
Nor is it a god who will intervene or actually answer the individual's prayers. God already knows what to ask for, says one respondent, referring to the Sermon on the Mount in the Bible. One respondent believes that God is not more aware of us than we know the cells in our body.
"He's everywhere, so maybe it's not him, but there's probably some power everywhere." (p3).
God is also not evil or good: "So there is no good and evil, there is no such duality, for God is everything, even evil, so to speak. So only we see evil as evil, for that contradiction is not in God" (p1).
God cannot directly influence the fate of the individual, but is more of a kind of administrator of the individual's own karma, both the pleasant and the unpleasant. God reminds us of a kind of rounding mark for the individual's own energies. An administrator of the suffering of the individual. The Theodicé problem is hereby solved.
A god who gives hope, says that the individual is good enough
God, declinative aspects.
A god who soothes, comforts
God, terminal aspects.
God who greets, sleeps, will guard