Friday, September 3, 2010

The Secret "Law of Attraction": New Age Idea Repackaged

"The secret", as mysterious and tempting as it sounds, refers to a book by the author, Rhonda Byrne. This self help book has become a best seller; after all who can resist the lure of finding the secret to making more money, losing weight, finding the love of your life, and achieving job success- just to name a few.

The author, Byrne claims that this secret, as described in her book, was the key to explaining the success of many successful and respected individuals throughout history. The Secret, otherwise known by the quasi scientific name-  "the law of attraction", states that thoughts have power, and therefore manifest themselves to create the circumstances in our lives. In other words, the “Universe”, is basically a substitute for God. With the power of words and beliefs, one can obtain or achieve anything he or she desires. Basically, God, a.k.a the Universe, is relegated to the position of a magical genie, whereas the universe itself is compared to a catalog. All you need to do is ask for something and believe, and the Universe and/or God will materialize your desire into reality. The overused cliche that you attract what you think about- your thoughts determine your destiny, are deemed to be as reliable as any scientific law. In fact the law of attraction is put on the same level as the law of gravity!Tthe book itself makes this claim: that it is “The Secret to everything—the secret to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth: everything you have ever wanted."  Furthermore, Byrne states that "there isn't a single thing that you cannot do with this knowledge. . . . The Secret can give you whatever you want" (p. xi). By it "you will come to know how you can have, be, or do anything you want" (p. xii).

The Secret is basically a secular version of the “Name It-Claim It, Positive-Confession, Prosperity Theology”.  New age ideas of glorifying and deifying mankind take the place of dependence on God, the creator. The basic idea that if you will sustain the right thoughts, words, and feelings, you will receive whatever you want, is nothing new. But The Secret goes even further by implying that your thoughts can bring anything into your life because you are a god, as expressed in the following quote: “You are God in a physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet” (p. 164). In addition, the following quote appears in the book as well: “The earth turns on its orbit for You. The oceans ebb and flow for You. The birds sing for You. The sun rises and it sets for You. The stars come out for You. Every beautiful thing you see, every wondrous thing you experience, is all there for You. Take a look around. None of it can exist, without You. No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are. You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of Life. And now you know The Secret” (p. 183). These powerful words would be appropriate if it were addressed to God, the creator of Heaven and earth. But according to Byrne this is an appropriate way we should refer to ourselves. Essentially, "The Secret" is nothing less than Satan's original lie in the Garden of Eden, accepted by so many new agers, that "You will be like God" (Genesis 3:5).

Another issue to consider is that Byrne also explains that all religions and their scriptures are equally valid in their authority and basically teach the same thing. There is no such thing as one truth in direct contradiction to Jesus’ own words in the bible stating that he is the one truth and the one way to salvation and eternal life.
As a matter of fact, the bible and Jesus, make a token appearance in the book, thereby drawing in and misleading many into thinking it is compatible with biblical teaching and Christianity. In the few times she mentions Jesus, she simply quotes a self serving passage out of context in order to justify her ideas-  claiming that the teaching to ask, believe, and receive in prayer is the way to "create what you want in three simple steps" (p. 47). Yet, unlike Jesus  who taught that we must ask God, according to Byrne it is not God we're to ask, but "the Universe." Secondly she mentions Jesus in the context of being extremely wealthy, in order to present the desire for wealth as being in alignment with Jesus’ teaching. Nevertheless, it is easy for anyone to over look these inconsistencies,  and attempt to apply Byrne's teachings to that of Jesus.

The biggest selling point of the book,The Secret, is the idea that the information it contains is a rare treasure that " has been passed down through the ages, highly-coveted, hidden, lost, stolen, and bought for vast sums of money. . . . Now The Secret is being revealed to the world". The implication is that the word of God through the bible is incomplete or insufficient and that we should look elsewhere for important knowledge. Basically Byrne is telling us that God is holding out on us and that we can not trust God.  In  other words look at it is this way: does the bible, which is the word of God, mention or refer to a secret source of knowledge that it does not contain? If not, then is it biblical to believe that Byrne has this secret source of knowledge which can not be obtained or even gleened from the pages of the bible? If you believe Byrne, then you are calling God a liar, in which you reject that the  word of God, the bible, states that it contains all the knowledge and teachings we need to know.

There's no mention of sin in The Secret. The cause of all the problems in the world and in our individual lives is simply nothing more than negative thinking, and the inability to recognize and appropriately use the law of attraction. Therefore, according to Byrne, the solution to mankind, and everything for that matter- is within each and everyone of us. Obviously the implication is that there is no need for a Savior, other than ourselves. The cross and resurrection of Jesus become irrelevant as "no one will stand in judgment of [your life], now or ever" (p. 177) "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" (Matthew 16:26). The Secret ignores or fails to mention the fact that God has a law and we have broken it (James 2:10). What Byrne fails to realize about the law of attraction is that our sinful hearts deceive us (Jeremiah 17:9 and can not be trusted.

God sent His Son to save us, and it is only through Jesus, and not through Rhonda Byrne's book, that we may be saved. "The Secret to everything" is not to be found in Byrne’s book, but rather through God’s word alone  which can be found in a the bible, a book that is available to all but largely ignored by so many. It is through God "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). God has freely told us in the Bible everything we need to know about discovering the unlimited "treasures of wisdom and knowledge". It is no secret except to those who have hardened their hearts and willingly deny the truth. As the bible warned us, there will come many false teachers who will deceive and distort the truth, even fooling and deceiving the elect.


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  2. Rhonda Byrne has been writing a new book called The Power, a follow up of The Secret.

    “The knowledge contained in The Power can and will change lives instantly. And the profound revelations are amplified by the book’s breathtaking illustrations – the book’s beauty is truly astounding.”

    The Power is the book Rhonda Byrne was inspired to write after answering several thousands of letters from readers of The Secret.
    I am reading it right now. It is good......I'll get back when I am done reading it:)