By Thomas Horn
On Wednesday night Carlos Santana walked away with 9 Grammy's and eleven nominations at the American Music Awards. With top honors, album and record of the year, Santana's Supernatural album (1999, Arista) tied the record set by Michael Jackson in 1983 for most trophies in a single night.
The guitar great whose popularity erupted following Woodstock eventually garnered fourteen gold and nine platinum albums. Yet in a career spanning over 30-years, Carlos obtained only one minor Grammy until now.
But to "Cosmic Carlos" (as his friends know him) recognition is only part of the equation. "This album is going to spread a spiritual virus," he said in a Latin Style magazine interview. The whole idea for the Supernatural album actually came from "angels" according to Santana.
Aaron Gallegos of Sojourners Online explains:
"Fifty-two-year-old Santana [and musicians like him] perform music with the conscious aim of transforming their listeners and creating positive change in the world." "Many fans and performers haven't learned to respect the force music has to unleash either angels or demons. Supernatural shows that Santana is fully aware of this spiritual dynamic and has made a conscious decision to heal people."
Carlos himself says, "We want to use music to bring harmony and unity and for healing this planet.''
If this all sounds a bit New Agey, it is. And I am disappointed. I remember attending Peoples Church in Salem, Oregon, a decade ago, and listening to Santana discuss his quest for spirituality and his discovery of Jesus Christ. Reformed Woodstock types like me were delighted that one of our hero's had responded to the Gospel.
Unfortunately, Carlos connected with Indian guru Sri Chinmoy (seen at left) at some point and has been a devoted follower ever since.
When asked by NY-ROCK where he finds musical inspiration, Carlos answered, "From my mother, my four sisters, and my wife. I am also very in touch with my feminine side--in touch with the balance and my inner chi. It's important to know that everything in life is balance. That melody is the woman and rhythm is the man."
BLACK MAGIC WOMAN
Years ago Santana sang about a black magic woman "trying to make a devil" out of him. These days he trades monkish bows with Buddhist actor Steven Seagal, illustrating a glamorous New Age spirituality that sees "the divine in everyone."
Throughout Hollywood, government, cyberspace, and even the church, people today are enamored of such ideas. The broad appeal of the New Age Movement as a western phenomenon can be explained to some degree as the result of a changing culture. As Americans gradually abandon the fundamental precepts of Christianity which provided the cornerstone of civil life and jurisprudence in American society for over 200 years, baby-boomers focus on human potential and the "god within us all." Eastern philosophies of Monism, Pantheism, Hinduism, and Self Realization, provide Americans and "Christians" like Santana an alluring opportunity to throw off the "outdated ideas" of fundamental Christianity, and to espouse a more "enlightened" worldview of God and reality.
Celebrity types have rushed to join the Santana-style New Age spirituality, including Hillary Clinton, Shirly MacLaine, Dick Gregory, Lindsay Wagner, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Dennis Weaver, Dirk Benedict, Cloris Leachman, Richard Gere, Ally Sheedy, and the late John Denver to name a few.
Even some churches have come alongside, and believers that once held strong doctrinal positions of the supremacy of Christ have abandoned those views in exchange for a New Age universal philosophy.
"HEY CARLOS, IT REALLY IS SUPERNATURAL"
The sad fact is, Carlos Santana's migration from spiritual hunger to Christianity to New Age mysticism, is a microcosm of modern American culture.
New Age expert Kerry D. McRoberts explains that
"The New Age is not simply another new cult, but an emerging world view, a new way of thinking that is being subtly introduced to multitudes in Western civilization. [It] weds the humanism of the West with the spirituality of Eastern occult mysticism. The union of these two unlikely bedfellows inflates former concepts of human potential in the West to unlimited proportions, generating a belief in the deification of man."
Spirituality is, according to the New Age, an expansive idea centered around the birth of a new world "consciousness." As a religion of monism (all is one), New Agers hope to accomplish what the builders of the Tower of Babel failed to do--unify the masses of the world under a single religious umbrella, and, at the macro level, harmonically converge the worldâ€™s energies with the power of Gaia (the earth as a living sentient organism).
To promote such goals, New Agers claim that God is pantheistic (God is all and all is God) and that humans are divine members of the whole "that God is."
According to New Ageism, Jesus came to reveal this pantheistic nature of God and to teach humanity the gospel of Self-Realization. After illustrating the divine principle of "God within us all," Jesus ascended (so they say) to a place of distinction to live among the Masters of the Spiritual Hierarchy--Buddha and Krishna. Jesus promised that the essence of God would be revealed from time to time, and thus New Agers look for the imminent appearing of a World Teacher who will, as Jesus did, illustrate the divine human potential. In this way, New Age theology prepares the world for the coming of the False Prophet and the Antichrist.
Pagans claim the principles of "Self-realization" and inner divinity as taught by New Agers is older than Christianity. Thatâ€™s true. The gospel according to the New Age Movement--a gospel of "becoming god"--is as old as the fall of man. It began when the serpent said to the woman "ye shall be as gods" (Gen. 3:5), and it will zenith during the reign of the Tribulation god-king.
The New Age movement provides the perfect creed for implementing such a system. It unifies the religions of the world. It consecrates the forces of nature. It provides for human divinity, and it is vogue, post modern, and politically correct. Tal Brooke, former New Age disciple of Hindu holy man, Sai Baba, confirms that "the New Age movement, and its progeny, Gaia, are spiritually correct for a new world order. Christianity is not."
Thus, history repeats itself, and the ancient Egyptian gospel of men becoming "gods" is fashionable again! New Age celebrities like Carlos Santana and Shirley MacLaine represent themselves as "I AM that I AM" at human potential symposiums around the world, and the Vice President of the United States, Al Gore, describes God in terms of "a constant and holy spiritual presence in all people, all life, and all things." Hillary Clinton channels the spirits of the dead, and members of the House of Representatives warn Congress of increasing evidence of a "government-sponsored religion" in America that is "a cloudy mixture of New Age mysticism, Native American folklore and primitive earth worship."
BREACHING THE NEW AGE WALL
New Age experts like Kerry McRoberts and Judy Vorfeld tell us that Christians can effectively respond to New Agers by remembering:
People like Carlos Santana and Stephen Segal are sincere, moral people. They are not the enemy.
The New Ager is not so much hostile towards Christianity as they have concluded that the Christian world-view is outdated and incapable of meeting the great socio-political and ecological needs of the modern world.
New Agers are not really concerned with what is theologically correct but rather with what will work. Therefore, Christians should emphasize the biblical meaning of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ instead of seeking to dismantle the New Age world-view through doctrinal debates (if the personal reality is in place, the opportunity to critique the New Age will eventually come).
Finally, the Christian must keep in mind that the New Ager is a sinner whose disposition is set against the Cross. Therefore, "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Eph. 6:12).
When NY-ROCK asked Carlos Santana, "If you were an animal, what would you be?" Carlos answered, "I would be an eagle because it truly represents liberty, equality, and justice. Those are the things I treasure the most. You can have the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. I'll deal with that when I get to the other side; but right now, I want liberty, equality, and justice."
Our prayer, Carlos, is that you will deal with the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost now, while there is time. We want you to know that we love you, and Jesus does too.
By Thomas Horn