It seems that in early-1990, there was a particular concern among certain circles of the American evangelical Christian milieu regarding the rising popularity of ‘New Age’ beliefs and practices. Evangelical leaders like Pat Robertson denounced the “blatant demonism” of the ‘New Age’ (not dissimilar from other, not entirely unrelated, ‘satanic panics’). Among those called upon to offer talking points in defense of the general ‘New Age’ orientation was Terence McKenna. The particular article that was selected for the Random Item today was written by friend of the TM Archives, Don Lattin (who has a new book out that you would do well to check out). It appeared, in a truncated form, in the Daily Breeze newspaper of Torrance, CA (May 12), but I also found the same article in the San Francisco Chronicle (April 25, where it originally appeared in full), the Daily News of Los Angeles (April 28), the Sun Sentinel (April 28), and the Daily News of Los Angeles again (June 2, with a slightly different edit), with respective titles, ‘Christians Balk as New Age Gains Acceptance’, ‘Warning of New Age Threat’, ‘New Age Thinking Seen as Threat to Christianity’, ‘New Age Beliefs Worry Christian Leaders’, and ‘Conservative Christianity, New Age Beliefs’.
In response to the attack on his general community (though, many will be familiar with his distaste for the ‘New Age’ and many of its denizens as well–Terence did once say, after all, “I have nothing but scorn for all weird ideas other than my own.”), Terence is quoted as having retorted, “We have a different approach to nature… The Judeo-Christian ethic is that man is the lord of creation and can do as he wishes. The pagan, archaic revival point of view is biological, ecological, and stresses co-adaptive relations. We are in a global, suicidal crisis — and Christianity has a lot to answer for.”
I’m also including a photo of the Catholic church that Terence and Dennis grew up attending that I took last year on a trip through their hometown, Paonia, Colorado…and a link to one of my favorite stories of Terence’s about growing up at that church.