"In Christianity, adiaphora means that something is debatable, spiritually neutral. There are essentials of the Christian faith such as the deity of Christ, monotheism, Christ's physical resurrection, etc. But there are also topics that deal with issues that are non-essentials. So in a general sense, adiaphora means those Christian teachings which are neutral, things that are neither commanded nor forbidden in Scripture. An example of this might be what color of carpet to have in a church, or what time of the day a service should be held."(Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry)
So while the color of rugs is debatable, ideas, teachings, and systems that are antithetical to the essentials of the faith are absolutely not debatable.
The biblical mandate where false teachings are concerned is twofold:
1. Do not to hold to any erroneous doctrine or concept. Because faithful Christians cannot protect themselves from false teachings unless the evils surrounding them are exposed we are to actively contend for the faith once given and by way of apologetics/analysis protect the faithful from contagion by vigorously exposing the substratum of meaning, i.e., origins, logical fallacies, deceptions, delusions, errors, consequences and so forth.
2. We are to have compassion and charity for those who are enmeshed in false teachings with the primary objective of winning souls for whom Jesus Christ died.
In short, just as faithful Christians cannot protect themselves from spiritual diseases unless they are exposed, neither can those who are already diseased by them be saved unless their disease is made known to them. Only when their disease is made known to them can they finally be converted to Jesus Christ.
So in obedience to our Lord faithful Christians are not to tolerate or ignore but rather make known the dangerous errors inherent within false teachings.
In our own time, the antithesis of the Revealed Word remains virtually unchanged from what it was in Paul's time:
"Paul was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, "What would this idle babbler wish to say?" Others, "He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,"-- because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?… "(Acts 17:18-19)
The Stoics and Epicureans were the two most prominent schools of nature philosophy/nature science/nature religion of that time. Theirs was an atheistic scientific worldview predicated on a universe of animated (evolving) matter (animism). They were the physicists of their age.
The principle tenet of the Epicureans held that the world was not made by any deity, or with any design, but came into its being and form, through a fortuitous concourse of atoms of various sizes and magnitude that cemented together and so formed the world.
The world and everything in it--life, being, mind--were not created but the emergent products of a great cosmic event (Cosmic Egg/Big Bang) that spontaneously generated matter from nothing. In this way of thinking, humans are aggregates of matter in motion in a human form and the human mind is an active principle of matter.
This way of thinking forms the basis of the psychology of Sigmund Freud as well as of Darwin's evolutionary conception, modern evolutionary biology, secular humanism and trans-humanism.
The Stoics were a celebrated school of severe and lofty pantheists. Like the Epicureans, they were animists. Their main principle was that the universe of matter was under the law of an iron necessity (karma in Eastern creeds), the spirit of which was what they called the Deity or World Soul.
Stoic and Epicurean sages received their ideas from ancient Sumerians (Babylonians), Egyptians and Hindus, whose nature systems extended back centuries before Greek and Roman civilization.
For example, one Hindu belief was that Brahman (the Void or Universe of matter) spontaneously generated itself as something like a seed or singularity about 4.3 billion years ago and then evolved under its’ own power by which it expanded and formed all that exists:
“These Hindus believed in an eternal Universe that had cycles of rebirth, destruction and dormancy, known as ‘kalpas’, rather like oscillating big bang theories. We also read in the Hindu Bhagavad Gita that the god Krishna says, ‘I am the source from which all creatures evolve.” (Evolution: An Ancient Pagan Idea, Paul James Griffith, creation.com)
Modernized Stoic pantheism and its Eastern occult counterpart forms the basis of Carl Jung's psychology, Wicca, occult New Age spirituality, Theosophy, spiritual trans-humanism, Teilhard's Omega, Leonard Sweet's Quantum Spirituality, Michael Dowd's Evolutionary Christianity and modern quantum physics to name but a few permutations.
In “The Making of the New Spirituality: the Eclipse of the Western Religious Tradition,” James Herrick writes that modern physicists claim to have irrefutable scientific proof for the foundational premises of pantheist spirituality. (p. 169)
For example, in the “Quantum Society,” physics writers Danah Zohar and Ian Marshall advocate a new esoteric science of pantheism, psychology and sociology grounded in a breathtaking range of practical implications in the,
“…fundamental physics that underlies all else that is in the universe” lending itself to a holistic understanding that “the nature of the mind, the nature of society, and the nature of nature are all one and the same thing…linked by a common physics.” (ibid, p. 170-171)
According to Zohar and Marshall, the fundamental physics underlying all else in the universe consist of two sorts of particles, bosons and fermions. Fermions are physical matter and bosons are spiritualized matter---the fundamental spiritual/mental forces that not only bind the universe together but are implicated in the evolutionary origins of the human soul and the emergence of both biological life on earth and of the universe itself.
Zohar and Marshal also find that when physicists probe the deep recesses of the universe they are confronted by a void, an indefinite and seemingly infinite field of energy that they call the ‘quantum vacuum,” a background without features that seems empty yet is where all physical objects originate:
“All the waves and particles that we can see and measure, literally, as in the Greek, ex-ist or ‘stand out from’ an underlying sea of potential that physicists have named the vacuum….just as waves undulate on the sea.” This ‘sea’ of proto-physicality is an “all pervasive, underlying field of potential…the vacuum.” (ibid, p. 172)
According to Zohar and Marshall, the ultimate discovery of quantum physics is scientific proof of the basic correctness of pantheist theology---matter, collectively speaking, is the divine one substance (god).
Zohar and Marshall call their divine one substance the quantum vacuum. Their quantum vacuum is strikingly similar to some Hindu and Buddhist accounts of the origins of everything that exists as emanations from the One Substance and/or the Void. Nor do Zohar and Marshall deny the similarity:
“The vacuum spoken of by quantum physicists, like the Buddhist concept of Sunyata, or the Void, to which it is so similar, is replete with potentiality.” (ibid)
The Void is the ultimate ground of being and true mystical religious experience. As the beginning and ending of all reality, the Void or vacuum is “the vast sea of all else that is.” Moreover, humans are excited aspects or modes of the Void:
“…the vacuum has the same physical structure as human consciousness.” As this is the case, then the soul of the Void and soul of the human are one and the same substance.
This means that 'god' is within the human mind. Reality is therefore within human consciousness because man is an aspect of the divine substance:
“There is…quite possibly a common physics linking human consciousness to the ground state of ‘everything that ever existed or can exist’ in the universe (and we) are part of it. Each one of us as an individual is an excitation of the vacuum, an individual being on the sea of Being” and this is a straightforward conclusion of “orthodox physics. It is…proven.” (pp. 172-173)
Because the divine substance is within human consciousness then we can plug into it, said Emergent Church leader Rob Bell. According to Bell, the animated divine substance is,
"…. a spark, an electricity that everything is plugged into. The Greeks called it zoe, the mystics call it 'Spirit,' and Obi-Wan called it 'the Force'.....This energy, spark, and electricity that pulses through all of creation sustains it, fuels it, and keeps it growing. Growing, evolving, reproducing..." (Love Wins, pp. 144-145)
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ." Colossian 2:8-9
Paul warned about being taken captive by "elemental spirits" that are “not after Christ." By perpetrating deceptions through the elements and powers of the cosmos, Satan lures people away from off the Lord Jesus Christ and onto other beings that inhabit the universe, whether real or imagined. What this means is that the impersonal, mystical 'powers' ascribed by apostate theologians and pagans to the Void, World Souls, Divine One Substances, Teilhard's Omega, Karl Marx's dialectical (thinking) matter, divine sparks, the Force, evolution, chance, zoe, prakriti matter and so forth are the powers of elemental spirits applied to the inventions of deluded, superstitious men.
Over the past three hundred years the Western Christian tradition grounded in the Revelation of God has been incrementally eclipsed by pagan ways of thinking that have been artfully revamped and revised for modern Western consumption.
In “The Making of the New Spirituality,” James Herrick masterfully demonstrates how each major tenet of the Revealed Word has been radically reinvented and is being disseminated by certain scientists, apostate theologians, new religious cults, through books, speeches, magazines, popular TV programs, plays, radio interviews, music, and websites.
With regard to the Revealed Word, Herrick lists seven major tenets:
1. The supernatural authority of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures: Beginning with the Genesis account of creation ex nihilo, the Bible is taken to be divinely delivered, thus uniquely authoritative as a source of ultimate truth.
2. A personal, creating and wholly other God: God is all-knowing, all-powerful, present everywhere and possesses traits of a personality—thoughts, motives, and the capacity to form relationships. He created the physical and spiritual worlds ex nihilo, or out of nothing. Moreover He is neither contained in nature in any way nor equivalent with the created order, meaning that man does not have a share of God’s substance as pagan thinking maintains.
3. God’s creation of the human race: The Revealed Word teaches that the human race is a special creation of God, the only part of the creation to bear His spiritual image (mind/spirit). Man then is not a product of strictly natural processes.
4. An intervening God: The Revealed Word affirms that God’s activity includes involvement in the lives of individual human beings. On occasion God’s personal involvement is in the form of communication and at other times He miraculously alters the ordinary course of cause and effect. Though He invites address and petition through prayer He is not at the command of human beings.
5. Humankind’s Fall: The human race fell into sin at the beginning of its existence as a consequence of their refusal to accept divinely mandated limitations on their activities. The Fall carried with it various catastrophic consequences including spiritual confusion, a state of spiritual separation from God and the inevitability of death.
6. Jesus Christ is God Incarnate: Jesus Christ uniquely manifested God in human form. Jesus is a revelation of God’s nature in person and the only human being to ever fully express the divine nature. His death and resurrection are uniquely redemptive of fallen humanity. These events are the sole provision by the living God for the salvation of the human race. There is no other way but His offer of salvation.
7. Human destiny and divine judgment: The Revealed Word insists that the eternal destiny of the human race is to be determined only by God. Neither the present earth nor the human race exists indefinitely. Human beings live but one life. They do not spiritually evolve or reincarnate. A final judgment of the human race will occur, and each individual human being will be held accountable for the life lived.
Herrick calls the new pagan spirituality “the New Religious Synthesis” and lists seven of its major components:
1. History is not important: As evolution is a primary doctrine of the new spirituality, and evolution implies continuous change, then history as a record of events in space and time is as useless and absurd as are unchanging higher truths and moral absolutes.
2. The dominance of reason: Reason—also mind, Christ-consciousness, intellect, awareness, divine spark, pattern, mind-stream or imagination—is the divine essence in humans. It is virtually unlimited in its potential development through scientific study, evolution, and mystical experiences. The divine essence is the gateway to human apprehension of spiritual insights such as ‘oneness’ and ‘interconnectedness’ coming to those with the most highly evolved consciousness:
“Perhaps the most vital function of psychedelic drugs and plants is their ability to reliably produce spiritual or mystical experiences. These transpersonal experiences of “oneness,” or inseparability, often result in an increased sense of ecological awareness, a greater sense of interconnection, a transcendence of the fear of death, a sense of the sacred or divine, a desire to help humanity, and an identification with something much larger than one’s body or personal life.” (Psychedelic Drug Research Heralds the Future Science of Divinity, David Jay Brown, Santa Cruz Patch, June 2012)
3. The spiritualization of science: The tool employed by divine reason to acquire new spiritual truths
4. The animation of nature: Nature (matter) is infused with and animated by divine spirit, the Force, Zoe, consciousness, serpent power or life force
5. Hidden knowledge (gnosis) and spiritual progress: Gnosis is the key to spiritual insight and human progress and is the preserve of some scientists, mediums and a new class of Western shamans. Such knowledge comes by means of science and spiritual technologies that lead to direct communication with the Ultimate Source ( also monistic One Substance, Chaos, Divine Abyss, Primordial Matter, Void, Omega, Quantum Void).
Emptying the mind and disconnecting from reality are the goals of spiritual technologies:
“…..spiritual power and a vibrant connection with the universe (is attained by) emptying the mind, leaving reality and getting “high” within. Meditation (sometimes facilitated by, in a Woodstock way, listening to rock music, experimenting with sex, and smoking pot or popping hallucinatory drugs—you know, a little help from “my friends”) often induced what can be called “altered state[s] of consciousness….” “Ecstasy can be deliberately induced using religious or creative activities, meditation, music, dancing, breathing exercises, physical exercise, sex or consumption of psychotropic drugs.” (Altered States: A Different Gate, Sarah Leslie and Pastor Larry DeBruyn, Herescope, April 2011)
6. Spiritual evolution: Spiritual evolution is not simply change but advancement that occurs incrementally over time as the initiate achieves greater and greater interconnectedness with the Ultimate Source. The eventual result of this process will supposedly be human divinity.
7. Religious pluralism as rooted in mystical experiences of the Ultimate Source: Mystical experiences of interconnectedness or oneness provide a basis for religious pluralism:
“Bishop William Swing, of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of California, thinks he is building a religious bridge to the new millennium, and he wants everybody on Earth to cross it with him. His United Religions Initiative (URI) is trying to create a United Religions, a world parliament of religions, “a permanent assembly, with the stature and visibility of the United Nations, where the world’s religions and spiritual communities will gather on a daily basis, in prayerful dialogue and cooperative action, to make peace among religions and to be a force for peace among nations, to address urgent human need and to heal the earth.” (The United Religions Initiative—Foundation for a World Religion, Lee Penn)
According to Swing’s experience of oneness:
“Religion is concerned with the relationship of human beings with their spiritual Origin. We believe in the universality and eternity of the Spirit. We believe that all religions derive their wisdom from that ultimate Source. Therefore, the world’s faith traditions share in common wisdom, which can be obscured by differences in religious concepts and practices. … The United Religions promotes dialogue. A theology of acceptance will help the world’s people explore common ground. Our awareness of unity within religious diversity promotes ever-increasing kinship.” (ibid)
So stunning has been the transformation of Western consciousness under the shaping influence of the New Religious Synthesis that it has now supplanted the Revealed Word as the religious foundation of a large and growing number of Westerners and Americans....including large numbers of uninformed Christians. James Herrick comments:
“For many Westerners, the long-prophesied new spiritual age certainly has arrived. The Revealed Word and its busy, personal God have faded into our collective spiritual memory, and bright new spiritual commitments encourage fresh religious thought.” (Herrick, p. 16)
As Herrick demonstrates, the pagan way of thinking represented by occult Eastern pantheist creeds, the Stoics and Epicureans are the principle enemies of the Revealed Word and by extension, of salvation unto life eternal. Thus in obedience to our Lord, and as an act of agape love for the faithful and all who are open to truth, we are to actively contend against these infernal pagan teachings even though our paganized culture and increasingly paganized church not only ridicule, scoff, scorn and reject us but accuse us of insanity, judgmentalism, intolerance, divisiveness, and hate.