About a year or so ago I was in Kinko’s (excuse me, FedEx Office…not sure I’ll ever be able to get that right!) with my wife and while she was getting something printed out, I drifted over to the books section.
Most of those are the “you”ll be great IF you do this…” types of publications, often penned by motivational speakers and the like. I’m sure if I sat there long enough I’d be able to run a Fortune 500 company with my eyes closed, but…who has the time, right?
Then a book caught my eye. The Secret. Looked like a fiction novel tucked between a couple Zig Ziglars, so I grabbed it, flipped through a few pages…and then smiled. Aha! A New Age-y trap of sorts. I put the book back on the shelf and went on my merry way.
Fast forward to last night. My wife and I were bored, so of course…Netflix ensued. She recommended that since I’ve been doing extensive researching that we should watch The Secret. Just for kicks, we did. Wow…
The Secret Secret
It’s a “me” religion. It’s all about if it feels good, do it. What’s the actual secret you ask? It is literally the Law of Attraction. As created by…well, the presenters of this documentary/infomercial never really credit anyone. Wait, they do: A genie. Aladdin’s genie to be exact. And this genie is God, the universe, the ether…it’s whatever you want it to be. This movie/book/New Age movement is slick though. Very slick. It’s sprinkled with truths throughout so anyone not well-versed in Scripture will fall for it nine times out of ten. So by “slick” I mean “dangerous.”
Nevermind that a subjective “if it feels good” type of mindset actually being able to bend the universe to your will would contradict someone else’s same mindset if your mindset was set against theirs. So who’s “feel good” is better, thus, more powerful? The whole premise rests on a house cards and the wind is blowing heavy. At one moment a presenter says focus on material things and you will get them, and the next minute another presenter says don’t focus on your outer self and material, focus inward. So, which is it?
The stench factor was high on this one, so I had my phone out to take notes along the way. Here are some gems:
1. God is a rigged vending machine. (Not their exact words, but basically the idea is that the universe will give us anything we want. I asked to wake up this morning with Superman powers, alas I woke up and still can’t fly nor outrun a speeding bullet, and the ornamental kryptonite fragment on my desk doesn’t make me feel weird at all.)
2. No one here is thanking the Person Who provides all these things! JESUS!!! Hello? People kept talking about “the universe provides this” and “the universe will give you that” but no one was talking about Who set the universe into motion, and still runs it. The entire infomercial didn’t mention Jesus once, and there were only two cursory off-hand remarks to “God” but they were referencing His lack of existence in favor of the “always has been” universe. I literally yelled at the scream, “But Who created it?!” My wife laughed.
3. One presenter said, “Turn it over to the universe. Where magic and miracles happen.” Yea, you read that right. The universe is now a thing that can cause miracles. Not the Creator, but the creation. Hm. Does the Bible not mention that people will start worshiping in this fashion? Romans 1:25.
4. They kept saying give thanks, so I kept saying, “To who?” The universe? Aladdin’s genie? Myself? This “Secret” is miles away from Christianity for the simple fact that they can’t even say “Christ.” It was almost as if they were avoiding Him on purpose.
5. Here was a good one: “Love yourself so you can love others. Treat yourself as you treat others.” Er, doesn’t that seem sorta backwards. The Bible says the reverse of this. Actually, it’s one of the two commandments Jesus gave us to follow that sum up all the 613 Laws and the teachings of the Prophets. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” We have to humble ourselves to focus on our neighbors, not the other way around. Of course, we “Love the Lord our God…” first, which this movement completely bypasses.
Add to this the (oft reworked “Golden Rule” of Luke 6:31) “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Sure we need to love ourselves, but self-love can and will get in the way of people love. Plus, the way in which God has wired it, when we do love on others, we will start to love ourselves in return. That’s the course of action we need to follow.
6. This is all about mindsets, and that’s not some hidden secret. This is really repackaged Christianity without the “Christianity” part. Of course God wants us to focus on the positive and not dwell on the negative. That’s not news! If we are always down in the dumps, we may end up living in the dump. If we’re happy and positive people, then happy and positive things will happen. The Law of Attraction belongs to God, not the universe!
And we know that in all things God works for the goodof those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) and “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). God has a plan for us. It may go through paradise, or through the desert, but when we focus on Him, it’s leading to a better situation. A perfect segue to #7…
7. “You are the author of your life.” I almost had to hit pause on the Xbox360 for this. Immediately the verse where Jesus is the author of our lives popped into my head. Here, take a read of Hebrews 12:2: “…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The entire universe was made through the Word. Jesus made everything, and holds it all together. He is the one who shapes our paths towards righteousness.
8. “It’s not your job to change the world. Go with the flow.” Do nothing, focus on yourself. So…somehow, some way the world will work itself out I guess? Tell that to the dude who decided cold rabbit was no longer acceptable and had the first BBQ. Tell that to the two guys who invented airplanes. Write that in a memo and send it to the Ford Motor Company. This type of mentality is what The Secret (movement?) is all about.
9. “Your mission in life what you give yourself.” Hm, here I thought our mission was to do something better. Leave the world better than how we found it. Spread the Gospel to the four corners of the earth. Fulfill the Great Commission. But, according to #8, I’ve missed the mark (which is what “sin” means by the way!) Apparently each one of us can dictate what our goals in life are. I guess you better hope my goal isn’t to negate your goal. Dun dun dun dunnnn…
10. “The Law will guide us, sustain us.” The whole show (and I assume in this whole New Age-y movement as well) the Law of Attraction is personified. I kept yelling at the screen that the Law is a “thing” not a “person.” It can’t do anything because we choose how to react to it. However, when these words were uttered, I knew exactly what they were saying: their “Law” is really the Holy Spirit.
According to me and my faith, the Holy Spirit guides us, sustains us, keeps us humane in an inhumane world. At least George Lucas used “The Force” as a fictional universal ether to refer to the Holy Spirit. I personally don’t hold him responsible for the people who turned Star Wars into a religion. (This is really a thing.)
Candy Sprinkles On A Moldy Donut, Anyone?
There was more – so much more – I could write about, but I think you get the picture. The Secret, with it’s subtle sprinkling of Christianity is very dangerous to a new believer, a jaded believer or someone exploring spirituality for the first time. It is not Christian, it’s pagan. It says the universe is God, and in some cases, everyone is God. That’s playing with matches in a feather pillow factory. A bunch of people running around thinking they can think themselves better begs the questions: Better than what? Better than whom? This, in and of itself, causes division. Well, obviously so does the “if it feels good” 1960s-esque mantra that begets all sorts of grossness.
Your “ups” outside of God will always be someone else’s “downs.”
Don’t fall for this clear-cut backhand to the face of Christianity. Using available, God-ordained, Christian principles to advance your life, but never giving credit where it’s due is straight up wrong. Makes you wonder who’s really giving these people their increase.
Words are indeed powerful, but let’s be sure to let others know where we get the ability to speak them. Oh, and last but not least, life isn’t always gonna be lollipops and sunshine as a Christian. We chose this path because it serves the Master, and we are blessed and honored to do so. Jesus said…
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” – John 15:18
So just because we have a little hardship in our lives from time to time because we are servants of God – to which the Bible says we should be thankful we even get to be beatdown for our praises up – we shouldn’t think there is a better way. Because there is no REAL way outside of Jesus. Positive thinking and pinning up pictures of our dream homes can work from time to time, but we must remember to thank Jesus for everything that comes along, because it’s on the path He’s set.
We are not gods, we are not islands.