Monday, June 25, 2007

"the secret" exposed

I've often been amazed at the number of Christians who get on board with "Oprah Mania". I agree that she is an intelligent, funny, ambitious and often compassionate woman. She is amazing!

HOWEVER, she is also a self-proclaimed spiritual leader. Her religion sounds good on the surface (with hints of Christianity and other philosophies sprinkled around here and there). But at its very core there is a self-focused, humanistic message which excludes the love of God and runs contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

That's why this recent article from "Christianity Today" caught my attention. I know it's a pretty long read. But I think it provides some valuable insight.

As followers of Jesus, we need to have a well-developed filter that sees through the philophies being subtly promoted through movies, magazine articles, and pop culture gurus like Oprah.

Let's pray that God will reveal himself to her in a beautiful way. Can you imagine what Jesus could do in her life?

The Secret Exposed
Mel Lawrenz 6/18/2007

You can gain anything you want in life—wealth, health, the perfect mate, business success, respect from others—literally anything. That is the promise of the No. 1 best-selling book The Secret (Beyond Words). The editor, Rhonda Byrne, explains that "the secret" can be found in everything from Babylonian religion to Buddhism to Albert Einstein. The Secret (available as both a book and a DVD) is no secret now, however. It has become a global video event, a clever cross-promotional marketing plan, and a book touted by Oprah.

Byrne, an Australian television talk-show producer, discovered the secret just over two years ago. The book's contributors are described on the official website as: a "philosopher" who "developed The Science of Success and Harmonic Wealth® which teach [sic] people how to yield unlimited results in all areas: relationally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually" (James Arthur Ray); a "business building and moneymaking" expert (John Assaraf); a "doctor," "philosopher," and "international speaker" (John DeMartini); a "metaphysician" and "one of the top marketing specialists in the world" (Joe Vitale); and "a nonaligned, trans-religious progressive" (Michael Beckwith). Such titles reveal the new kind of gurus to whom millions of people give credence today.

The secret is simply "the law of attraction." Think about wealth, and you will become wealthy. Think about that new car, and it will come. Think about getting a good parking spot, and one will open up. Think about your ideal weight (really, dwell on that number, write it on your scale), and you will attract that reality to yourself. Byrne reports that since deciding her "perfect weight" was 116 pounds, she has reached it, and nothing has moved her from it, no matter what she does or eats.

"Thoughts are magnetic, and thoughts have a frequency," the book assures us. "As you think, those thoughts are sent out into the universe and they magnetically attract all like things that are on the same frequency. Everything sent out returns to the source. And that source is you."

Now here's the bad news: Whatever happens to you—the good and the bad—was attracted by your thoughts. Appendicitis? Auto accident? Poverty? You brought it on yourself.

Obsessed with the Self

Bible verses are misquoted. Ray, "an expert on many Eastern, indigenous, and mystical traditions," says: "Here's the question I want you to consider—do you treat yourself the way that you want other people to treat you?" Ray's TWIST on the Golden Rule becomes the ultimate form of self-centeredness. Oh, and you can attend Ray's "harmonic wealth weekend" for only $997. Somebody has figured out how to attract wealth to himself.

The Secret, you see, is all about the self—it's for the self, obsessed with the self. Newsweek offers this critique: "On an ethical level, The Secret appears deplorable. It concerns itself almost entirely with a narrow range of middle-class concerns—houses, cars, and vacations, followed by health and relationships, with the rest of humanity a very distant sixth."

Professor Robert Thompson of Syracuse University says: "The Secret promises this heaven on Earth in one fell swoop by simply desiring something, by simply wanting it. It's amazing how we really are a nation of, at best, great optimists, at worst, real suckers."

What The Secret reveals is that so many people are so desperately unhappy that they will snatch up anything offering hope—or simply offering quick and easy wealth. My question is, who will be there to pick up the pieces when they discover that they bought into a lie? And who will help the people who believe that they brought every misfortune on themselves because they sent negative thoughts and feelings out into the universe like a human radio transmitter?

How different from the message of Jesus: The first will be last, and the last will be first. Lose your life, and you will find it.