There are few things that are liable to rile me up more than the exploitation of one people's culture by another group. The only thing that can usually anger me more are the instances wherein the group doing the exploiting is also responsible for attempting to obliterate those cultures.
New Age religion is just another attack on a former subject race by its masters. Look over the history of the past two centuries and you will find it rife with examples of colonial masters working to suppress people. The easiest way was to destroy their language, which in turn would lead to the suppression of their culture.
In a move typical of empire-building the world over, closely following the armies would come the missionaries to bring the natives news of their salvation. Surely they could not want to live without the benefit of Christ and suffer the eternal fires of damnation.
While the missionaries taught English and spread the gospel according to King James or the Pope from Shanghai to Bombay to the deep woods of Northern Ontario and the Amazon basin, governors passed laws to assist them in their holy duties. The laws would create schools for children to be shorn of their culture, ban the use of religious languages in sacred texts, and encourage the development of the narcotic trade.
Through the obliteration of languages and religion, it became easier to assimilate and convert an indigenous population. The Victorian English gave this process the quaint name of "The White Man's Burden," wherein they saw it as their responsibility to take the coloured people of the world and lead them into civilization whether they wanted to be led or not.
Once they had settled the issue of culture, the creation of the period's history had to be taken care of. Historians and anthropologists would look for proof that supported theories that pointed out the primitive nature of the indigenous people's lives and how much better off they were under their new rulers.
Of primary importance, and before anything else was to turn them into good Christians whether they wanted to be or not, it was just another part of the White Man's Burden to ensure that the poor, ignorant, people werenâ€™t allowed to miss out on having their souls saved from eternal damnation.
So what's changed? Why are the grandchildren and children of the oppressors now seeking answers to their questions about God, religion, and spiritual enlightenment from the same cultures that their ancestors tried to obliterate? Or has anything changed at all in the way cultures of other nations are treated by the people who call themselves New Age.