The theme of the best seller The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, is not a secret, it is the same old “you are God / you can become God” nonsense that has been around since Genesis 3. The claims in the book are false and contradictory, but discernment in this culture seems to be at an all time low. For example, one of the keys to The Secret is the law of attraction, which demands only this:
- Know what you want and ask the universe for it.
- Feel and behave as if the object of your desire is on its way.
- Be open to receiving it.
There are many flaws with this philosophy. But one is completely fatal to its premise and nearly self-evident: What if two people want the same thing, such as marrying the same person, or opposite things, such as the farmer wanting rain and the family wanting a sunny picnic?
This flawed worldview is really tragic. I know a person who is consistently miserable but holds tenaciously to the view that he creates his own reality. Without me even having to ask, “So, uh, how’s that working out for you?,” he’ll concede that it isn’t working well at all. He thinks he just has to try harder. He is immune to logic.
Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason wrote an excellent and important article about the book. I encourage you to read it all. Oprah Winfrey’s worldview is based on The Secret and is one of the most popular in the country today. It is basically a mix of the American prosperity gospel (“God wants you to be rich”) and Hinduism. With just a little thought people should realize that the premise is ridiculous, but they want to believe it is true.
Oprah Winfrey is the “pastor” of the largest church in the country. “The Church of O,” Christianity Today noted, has a congregation of 22 million vigorous, faithful, evangelistic members, making Oprah Winfrey one of the most influential spiritual leaders in America.” Oprah’s theology is based on a secret. That secret is in a book: The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne.
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Generally, no spiritual lie is pure falsehood, but rather a clever example of truth twisted. There is always some legitimacy in even the darkest deceptions. That’s what makes them so appealing. It’s also what makes them so nefarious. The Secret is no exception.
The smidgen of truth found in The Secret is this: If you mentally focus on some end, you are more likely to accomplish that end.
I’ll stick with the Gospel. It isn’t a secret, but it is true and it has the power to save and transform lives, now and for eternity. Living according to The Secret is a sure path through the wide gate. As Koukl notes:
The Secret is a lie because what it teaches is false. It’s appealing because it takes something true (the ability to use thought and language to focus our wills to accomplish important goals) and twists it into something poisonous by grounding it in a lie: You are God.
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Rather, God is the Creator of the universe. God is the center of reality. We are His rebellious subjects. We are under His judgment. And unless we surrender, we are destined for an eternity of suffering and anguish that will never end, this at the hand of the real Master of the universe.
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The truth is no secret. It is being proclaimed from the rooftops by Jesus’ faithful followers. There is rescue for rebels, forgiveness and eternal friendship with God for those who lay down their arms and appeal for peace on God’s terms.
And the only “law of attraction” in operation is the one that flows from the cross: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:32).