Friday, May 08, 2009

The Secret vs. Christianity: An Interlude

In the introduction, I made a claim which my wife points out that I did not back up. She doesn't dispute the claim, she's just pointing out that I failed to back it up, and that I should back it up. Thank you, Aprille, for that because it is valuable! I claimed that Rhonda Byrne claims that "The Secret" and/or the "Law of Attraction" (one and the same) are "entirely compatible" with Christianity. Now, this was a paraphrase and a summation of several statements, but I thought it wise to point to those here just so it's understood that I'm not mischaracterizing Ms. Byrne. I wrote:

One claim put forth in Rhonda Byrne's incredibly popular book "The Secret" is that the "Law of Attraction" is entirely compatible with Christianity, and not just compatible, but is even taught in the Bible and used by Jesus Christ.

So, let's look at a few passages from the book and see if I made anything up:

On page 4, Byrne writes:

"Religions such as Hinduism, Hermetic traditions, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and civilizations, such as the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians, delivered it through their writings and stories."

She's claiming here that "The Secret" is actually taught within Christianity. Totally false. Here's another from page 47:

"The Creative Process used in The Secret, which was taken from the New Testament in the Bible, is an easy guideline for you to create what you want in three simple steps.”

"The Secret" is so compatible, in fact, with Christianity (according to Byrne) that it was actually taught in the New Testament.

On page 54 she hi-jacks the words of Jesus by using two verses from the NT and uses them as support for "The Secret". She cites Matthew 21:22 where Jesus says:

“…whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive"

And then she cites Mark 11:24 which also quote Jesus as saying:

“What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them”

The clear implication here is that Jesus taught "The Secret". This is how she's using these two verses. Now without going into too much detail here, looking at the context of these respective verses will quickly exclude Rhonda Byrne's interpretation and use of these verses. Briefly, note that Jesus is not a pantheist. He believed in, and in fact WAS, the God of the Bible. And Jesus made it very clear elsewhere that He is the only way to salvation. As we'll see shortly, Rhonda Byrne denies that salvation in the Biblical sense is even necessary. But since Jesus is not a pantheist, we know that when He teaches the disciples here to ask for something in prayer, He's telling them to ask God the Father, the God of The Bible. He's not telling them to ask "The Universe" for anything and He's not telling them that whoever they think God is is fine with Him. There's no pluralism here.

So, I think it's pretty clear from these statements that I represented Ms. Byrne's claims accurately. And once again, thank you to my wife, Aprille, for the excellent suggestion.

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