The System of Antichrist
Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age
The System of Antichrist examines the present religious and cultural scene from the standpoint of traditional metaphysics and critiques the New Age spiritualities within their postmodern context. Its many references to Rene Guenon and Frithjof Schuon also help introduce these important but little-known ‘traditionalist’ thinkers. The book presents lore relating to the ‘latter days’ of the present cycle from the vantage point of comparative religion, drawing upon relevant doctrines from Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, and the Native American traditions. It also speculates upon the social, psychic, and spiritual nature of that being known to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam as the Antichrist, presenting him as both an individual and a system and warning those willing to be warned against the spiritual seduction and terror he represents, and against the regime which will be—and is—the social expression of that seduction and that terror. Finally, in tracing the roots of Antichrist in the fallen nature of man, the author sketches the particular quality of spirituality proper to apocalyptic times, the dangers it faces, the unique opportunities open to it. And along the way he describes his own course from the ‘spiritual revolution’ of the 1960s, through the world of New Age spiritualities, to the threshold of traditional esoterism and metaphysics. As he says, speaking of the angst that characterizes the modern world: The specific medicine for the shock of despair is the deeper shock of meaning. Nothing but the weight of eternity, breaking through the thin, brittle shell of the postmodern sky, can set us on our feet.
Table of Contents
PART ONE: TRADITION VS. THE NEW AGE
Foreword—Postmodernism, Globalism, and the New Age—Who are the Traditionalists?
What is the New Age?—i . A Short History of the 'Spiritual Revolution' and the New Age Movement—ii. The Dangers of the Occult—iii. New Age Doctrines Refuted
New Age Authorities: A Divided House
i. The Fallacy of the Psychic Absolute: Truth and Deception in The Seth Material—ii. The Postmodern Traveler: Don Carlos Castaneda—iii. Transcendence without Immanence: The Neo-Gnosticism of A Course in Miracles—iv. The Celestine Prophecy: a Pre-Columbian Singles Culture—v . Having It vs. Eating It: The Entrepreneurial Hinduism of Deepak Chopra
PART TWO: SPIRITUAL WARFARE
The Shadows of God—The War Against Love—UFOs and Traditional Metaphysics: A Postmodern Demonology—Vigilance at the Eleventh Hour: A Refutation of The Only Tradition—Comparative Eschatology—Facing Apocalypse—Index
Charles Upton is a serious thinker from whom I have learned much. His writing merits close attention.
Huston Smith, author of The World"s Religions
Charles Upton has set out to portray the spiritual landscape of our time, from the subtle appeals of New Age spiritualities to the enlightening perceptions of the Traditionalist writers. Along the way, he has succeeded in lifting the mask of today's world to reveal the dark and sinister forces that prevail everywhere and that actually herald the coming of the Antichrist. In this tour de force, the author takes the reader on a journey to places he could not get to on his own.
John Herlihy, author of Near and Distant Horizons
The kind of critique and discernment that Charles Upton brings to the subject of contemporary spirituality is much needed. He wakes us up to the metaphysical hazards, spiritual toxicity, and moral pathology latent in the spiritual teachings we embrace without sufficient awareness of their implications. He offers this analysis not in the name of any 'ism' but with a deep awareness of the perennial wisdom behind all authentic sacred traditions. He is a responsible guide in the bewildering territory the searching soul must traverse in these times. I consider him a friend of the Truth.
Kabir Helminski, author of Living Presence and The Knowing Heart
About the Author
Charles Upton, poet, author, activist, and veteran of the counter-culture, developed an interest in metaphysics 'via mythopoeia' and, having survived the social upheavals of the Sixties, and the psychic allures of New Age occultism, awakened at the end of the Eighties to the esoteric teachings of the traditionalists, eventually becoming initiated into Sufism. His critique of New Age occultism and modernism is his best-known work and is published under the title, The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (2001). Sophia Perennis has published many other books by Charles Upton. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, in Lexington, Kentucky.