by Clete Hux –
The New Age Movement is religious in nature in that it is a blending together of eastern mystical religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, the Occult, etc.), embracing these religions’ beliefs and practices (pantheism). It replaces the personal God of the Bible with an impersonal universal force or energy.
It is philosophic because it is a world and life view of reality that has penetrated every area of society. No stone has been left unturned by its infiltration.
There are many examples which could be given and easily recognized as sensational quackery in the field of holistic medicine. It is crucial to look at one of the more subtle and winsome personalities.
Enter Dr. Bernie Siegel. His loving, caring and almost pastoral approach has gained wide acceptance, especially among cancer patients. Of course, this is not to downplay this sensitive style because there is much to be said for a doctor with a caring bedside manner.
However, Dr. Siegel’s approach is most likely how some people became involved in New Age medicine.
Bernie Siegel has good medical credentials. He was educated at Colgate University and Cornell University Medical College (holding membership in two scholastic honor societies, graduating with honors).
His surgical training took place at Yale’s New Haven Hospital. He was a pediatric and general surgeon in New Haven, Connecticut. Because of his popularity, he now spends most of his time lecturing and keeping up with correspondence.
His books, Love, Medicine and Miracles and Peace, Love and Healing have sold like hot cakes for many reasons, one of which is Siegel’s approach.
Another is because of people’s desire to try to find something new to help their condition. Unfortunately, this search for the new is leading many into the New Age.
Siegel was introduced to New Age medicine by O. Carl Simonton, who directs the Simonton Cancer Center in Pacific Palisades, California. Along with his wife Stephanie, Carl authored the book of Getting Well Again.
This book reveals the origin of the New Age and Occultic ideas that have shaped their work. Siegel’s books promote the same.
Prominent influences include Silva Mind Control; thanaolgist and medium, Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (On Death and Dying, 1969) and Mind Dynamics Inc. There are many other Occultic influences in the suggested reading list of the Simonton’s and Siegel’s books (see SCP Journal 9:3).
As for Siegel himself, he explains in his book how he was introduced into the holistic medical movement.
He states, “In June of 1978, my practice of medicine changed as a result of an unexpected experience I had a teaching seminar, a workshop: Psychological Factors, Stress and Cancer.
“The Simonton’s were the first western practitioners to use imagery techniques against cancer, the Simonton’s taught us how to meditate, to find and meet an inner guide” (Love, Medicine and Miracles, pp. 18-19).
Dr. Siegel said he was a skeptic, not believing it would work yet “still sat down, closed my eyes, and followed directions.
“I met George, a bearded, long-haired young man wearing an immaculate, flowing white gown and a skullcap. It was an incredible awakening for me because I hadn’t expected anything to happen” (Ibid, pp. 19-20).
He began receiving insights from George and later in the book Siegel recommends the practice of kundalini Yoga (serpent force arousal) and transcendental meditation in order to have “breathtaking experiences of cosmic-at-oneness and enlightenment” (Ibid, pp. 148-150).
Later in the book, Siegel deteriorates even further as he teaches the value of communicating with the dead through seances, which he calls “healing circles” (Ibid, pp. 220-222).
This is postured in the caring mold. In Peace, Love and Healing, he tells how a person can get to heaven without dying, that he himself has visited there more than once (p. 245).
In Peace, Love and Healing Siegel describes his view of God.
He says, “As you know, I think of God as intelligent, loving energy. So, I expect everything in creation to be meaningful. After all, the same messenger molecules that I talked about earlier are in all living things” (p. 247).
He elaborates further: “Just as I believe that love and laughter and peace of mind are physiologic, so I also believe that in our earthly lives we exist as physical manifestations of the loving, intelligent energy that we call God, the wholeness of the individual is the wholeness of the universe in microcosm. Atomically, anatomically, and cosmically we express this unity whether or not we are conscious of it” (p. 252).
This is the impersonal god of the New Age Movement, not the personal God of Bible.
He also seems to promote the New Age idea of reincarnation. He says, “From my experience I feel that we do live on in some other form of energy after the body dies. I don’t just say this to make people feel better, but because I have seen and heard about such extraordinary events” (p. 254).
With this he gives stories of patients who have had departed loved ones appear to them in different visible forms.
Siegel promotes the same moral relativism in his meditative techniques as does the New Age. He explains,” Remember there are no right or wrong ways of doing these visualizations. Do no judge yourself” (p. 261).
In one meditation he instructs a person to basically manipulate reality when he says, “¼ absorb the energy of the earth and sun. Once again open yourself, every cell, to light and love. Harmonize the organs. Create the person, the new self” (p. 265, emphasis mine).
This is based on the idea that one can create reality because all is God. This is god of the New Age – not the Bible!
First available on Watchman Fellowship, Inc. Website