Friday, July 24, 2009

"The Secret" or The Bible

Before I begin, I know what I'm about to say is controversial at best.  I know it will ruffle more than a few feathers.  If you want to argue with me in my comments section, you're welcome to do so provided you do it in a respectful and polite manner.  I may even choose to respond.  As always, all posts that are not respectful and polite will be deleted.  

This post is addressing "The Secret" and the Law of Attraction that it seeks to promote from a Christian stand point.  If you are not a Christian, this is not written for you.  I am not here seeking to persuade anyone that the Bible is the true, inerrant Word of God.  For the purposes of this blog post, I am taking that as fact.  If you disagree, you will find little to no merit herein, so it may be a better use of your time to go read something else.

The book and video "The Secret"  has been around a while now and I don't think there are many out there who don't know what it's all about.  It promotes "The Law of Attraction," the concept that whatever you want you can have if you just direct enough positive energy toward it.  While this may on the surface sound like a good thing, it is a very dangerous theology for Christians to buy into.

Let me repeat that.  It is a very dangerous theology for Christians to buy into.

Many will read this and say "Wait a minute.  The Secret is not theology."  They will be wrong.  The secret teaches that the universe (or is that Universe... capitalized in the book) is just waiting to give you everything you want.  Sound like they're making the universe into a sort of god?  That's because they are.

Let me clarify something.  I do believe in the power of positive thinking to an extent.  I believe that we each get to choose our own attitude.  Our attitude effects the way we interact with the world around us.  If we maintain a positive attitude, we will interact in positive ways.  When we are polite, friendly and happy toward others, they're more likely to respond in kind.  When we look for things to be angry about them, we find upsetting situations everywhere.  Similarly, when we are looking for things to be thankful for, we will see the blessings that surround us.

Our positive mindset does not make these things come about.  It simply puts us in the position to see them.  A person in a bad mood may walk into the kitchen, see a mess on the counter and have yet another reason for their bad mood.  A person in a good mood may walk into the same kitchen, notice that the reason behind the mess is that their teenage son or daughter has decided to fix dinner, and be thankful for such a thoughtful and helpful child.  The circumstances did not change, only the outlook of the observer did.

So where does this fit in with "The Secret"?  Well, it takes this simple truth and blows it way out of proportion.  Instead of realizing that there are both good and bad things going on all around us, and we choose which we take notice of, "The Secret" says that we can make good things happen to us by simpling willing them into existance.  Want a BMW?  Transmit to the Universe that you want a BMW and the Universe will grant it to you.

I don't know about you, but that's not the world I live in.

What child has not spent days, weeks, years wishing for something they are just certain they have to have, only to be disappointed when it never comes?  How many people foolishly have spent their time wishing themselves out of a bad situation, only to find that their inaction has made the situation grow worse? 

I have news for anyone who believes in "The Secret."  The universe is not on your side.  It does not desire to give you good things.  It does not desire anything at all because the universe is not sentient.

"The universe is an analogy for God," you may respond.  See, I told you this was theology.

In that case, lets see what God's word has to say about it.

For those who want to believe it, it would appear that Jesus also promoted the law of attraction.  After all, He did say "“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Matt 7:7-8 NKJV).  That sounds an awful lot like the secret, right?


Yes, the Father does desire to "give good things to those who ask Him," (Matt 7:11) but He has His own definition of "good things" which doesn't necessarily line up with ours.

"The Secret" is all about gaining health, wealth and the things of this world.  God's stated agenda is the furtherment of His Kingdom.  These two desires don't equate with one another, and guess whose will wins out?  I'll give you a hint -- it's not ours.

So what then can we expect for God to provide for us?  Just a single chapter earlier, Jesus gives us the answer.  "'Therefore do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.'" (Matt 6:31-34 NKJV)

Did you catch that?  "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."

God will provide our needs -- not necessarily our wants.  He has promised to do this if we FIRST seek to glorify Him.  Equally important is the fact that we are not promised Armani suits to wear, grand mansions to live in, or gourmet meals catered by five star chefs.  Truth is, most often these materialistic desires are in contrast to the Will of God. (cf. Matt 6:19-21, 19:16-23)

It seems to me that either "The Secret" is true or the Bible is true (or neither is I suppose) but both can't be true at the same time.  I guess it's easy to see which I believe.


Andy D said...

Very good post. I have only a passing knowledge of The Secret but I had heard the basic theory of positive energy into the universe. As a Christian, I was instantly uneasy about this. I think you have done a much better job of arguing the reasons why I left the book at the bookstore when I read it's cover.

It's very easy to get caught up in fads and self help theories that seem harmless but can actually lead you into a very dangerous place. I think you have painted a light on "The Secret" that others should really consider before buying into it.

Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis of "The Secret". Someone close to me gave my wife a DVD on "The Secret" as a Christmas gift. I only had a passing understanding of the concept from a few other people and the website, but didn't clearly understand it. This person asked us to watch it with them. First off the DVD was too long, but that was only exasperated the experience. It gave me such a uncomfortable feeling deep in my soul. About halfway through my spirit was just wanting to scream, but I stuck with it out of respect for the person who so wanted us to see it. But I knew I could not keep quite after the DVD.

After the DVD was complete I shared with this person and some other family members why my spirit, as a follower of Christ, was so bothered. You highlight this in your post as well. The Secret is all about how to get things you want. Everything is centered on my comfort, my happiness, my needs, my, my, my... me, me, me...

I cannot imagine in any way, in any form, Jesus expressing these desires. In fact Jesus expressed and did the opposite. Jesus desired only to do the Fathers will and save others. He put everything aside for others. While those around Jesus were seeking wealth, status, and power, Jesus was giving it all up on the Cross so "others" would find happiness, actually Joy, and salvation. Jesus was all about "others". As a follower of Christ I believe I am called to be all about others not myself. Let me be honest I do not succeed in this as often as I desire, but that is my calling. As believers in Christ that is the calling for all of us. I don't believe this means we sacrifice all comfort and enjoyment in things here on this earth, but it certainly means I can't put my needs first in everything. It certainly means that a belief system that is designed to find a way for me to attain every "thing" I want can not possible be Christian. That can't possibly be what Christ would do and believe.

Sorry for my lengthy response, but I am so encouraged to read your similar reaction and very glad you have written this post.

peace & grace in Christ,

BunGirl said...

Thanks for the kind words guys. I just post whatever's on my mind and heart and recently I've seen a few strong Christians fall prey to this false doctrine and couldn't keep quiet about it anymore! I don't think people realize how dangerous this kind of thing can be. "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also," (Matt 6:21) and this "secret" is certainly not directing hearts toward God!

Duke_of_Earle said...

BG, Well written, well thought out, and lines up with Scripture. Gee, sounds like a great post!

Thanks for the comment on mine. Did you find me from Jan's "Poodle and Dog" blog?

I'll be back.


BunGirl said...

Sure did -- been a fan of Jan's blog for years!

LindaCCC said...

My church did a series last year The Secret vs. The Bible or something similar. Thank you for clarifying some things for me that I've forgotten.

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