Metaphysics: A New Religion?
Metaphysics: A New Religion?
By Christine Breese, Ph.D., Founder of University of Metaphysical Sciences
Did you know that Metaphysics is considered a “new emerging religion” by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) of the United States? Representatives of the IRS explain that they do not determine what a religion is or is not. As long as no crime is being committed, all religions are considered valid simply by saying it is a religion! Truly, this is the only way to preserve freedom of religion as the Constitution of the United States depicts. Metaphysics is also considered a “new emerging field of study” by the Department of Education.
But what does Metaphysics really mean? Many people would say they are interested in metaphysical subjects, practices, and techniques. Many would even call themselves metaphysicians. Some call themselves New Agers, or New Age, which is another synonym for Metaphysics. There are several Metaphysical churches, schools, colleges and universities where a person can even get a degree or ordination in Metaphysics just like any other religion. There are metaphysical bookstores and gift shops, expos and fairs, magazines and even metaphysical chat rooms and e-zines on the Internet. However, no one seems to know exactly what Metaphysics is. It is the most commonly asked question in our inbox at University Of Metaphysical Sciences!
First, let’s look at what the word Metaphysics means. It was coined by Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher. “Meta” means beyond, “physics” means the physical. Therefore, Metaphysics literally means “beyond the physical.” Aristotle summed up what could be considered the core of all religions: that which is the intangible spirit underneath reality, our purpose, and our identity as sentient beings in a universe full of mysterious unseen dimensions.
Many would say Metaphysics includes meditation, affirmations, yoga, Buddhist teachings, mind powers like using the Law of Attraction to create your reality, and other spiritual modalities that are not considered mainstream world religions. However, none of these are new. The practices in Metaphysics have been around for millennia, and even go as far back as ancient Egypt. It seems to be a catch-all phrase that encompasses a broad myriad of religions, and yet no particular “one” religion comes to mind when speaking of Metaphysics. It is not a new idea that you can use thought to create matter as in the Law of Attraction, nor is it a new idea to meditate or use yoga as a method to enlightenment, neither is it a new idea to practice being in the present moment and stopping the mind from moving, in essence “being here now.” In fact, nothing in Metaphysics is new at all!
In my opinion, Metaphysics is the re-emergence of ancient religions that were either widely practiced in regions unknown to Western civilization until the age of communication made it possible to know of all the world’s religions, or once had to be practiced in secret if anyone dared to practice them at all. Some of the religions prohibited by whatever religious leadership was in charge at the time have re-emerged under the category of Metaphysics. For instance, witchcraft and other nature-based and magical religions were prohibited during specific times in history. To practice them would have surely meant death. Now these religions are widely practiced without fear of persecution in countries that are allowing of religious freedom. Even the mystical beginnings of Christianity were persecuted as certain traditions were established in the Christian faith, but now even mystical Christianity is practiced without hindrance.
Some people say that Metaphysics takes the “best” of all religions, using the most liberal parts, and puts them together with an attitude of tolerance and inclusiveness to all paths. I have heard people say that they belong to no religion, and yet they are very spiritual indeed. They often categorize themselves as a “metaphysical type of person,” but since Metaphysics isn’t normally what a person would call it, they have to settle for an undefined religion that has no particular name. Up until now, there was no name for this collection of spiritual practices, but Metaphysics seems to be turning into the word most often used to refer to it. In a way, Metaphysics is the melting pot of all religions and is inclusive of every spiritual practice.
So is Metaphysics really new, or is it just that there is now awareness where there was none before? Metaphysics may be a relatively new name for a religion that embraces all spiritual paths, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been around for a long time already. Questioning what’s “beyond the physical” is an ancient practice indeed!