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The Seduction Of “The Secret”


For the sake of being informed, my wife and I watched a video explaining the message of “the Secret”, something Oprah has promoted of late.  The Secret isn’t really a secret anymore since it’s been nicely packaged into a movement with books, videos and weekend conferences.     


The message of the video first grabs your attention by appealing to your selfish nature.  There’s nothing wrong with improving your lot in life, but excessive selfishness that the Secret seems to preach  is not Christian.  Contentment and godliness is great gain according to the Bible. (1 Timothy 6:6)    


The Secret’s message claims that it can make you rich.  I’ve heard this before in the “Prosperity Movement” within the church.  This group teaches that “you are important, so God is obligated to give all you ask Him for”.  I don’t think God is obligated to give us anything, especially after giving us Jesus.  The apostle Peter didn’t expect God to make him rich.  He was penniless. (Acts 3:6)  Paul spent lots of his post conversion days either in prison or in chains.  He actually left great  wealth to follow Jesus. (Philippians 3:4 - 11)  


The video explains the “law of attraction”, something it claims is based on quantum physics.  It works this way.  Your thoughts produce a certain frequency or wave length, much like sound or electromagnetic waves.  These thought waves leave your mind and travel throughout the universe until they are attracted to other similar waves.  These waves join forces and return to you with the reality of your original thought.  So think hard about a new car, and it will appear in your driveway. This also works in reverse.  Think negatively and you might end up in a car accident. 


Some of what the Secret teaches sounds like the Biblical concept of “what you sow you reap”, but don’t be fooled.  It’s not.  False thinking always has its roots in truth, that’s why it’s so deceptive.  The Biblical teaching of sowing and reaping concerns reaping the results of  your hard work.  If you buy that new car with hard earned money, there’s nothing wrong with that, but this isn’t what the Secret teaches.   


After watching the video for a while I thought it’s message sounded much like positive thinking that Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller, and others have taught.  I thought, “this is positive thinking repackaged”.  It’s pure humanism.  Humanism states that man is the centre of all things, not God.  Positive thinking taken to its logical conclusion leads to believing that man is the centre of all things.  The Bible teaches that God is the centre of all things, not man.   


The next idea on the video states that we can’t control every thought that passes through our heads, but we can control our feelings.  Thoughts and feelings work hand in hand, which they do.  The Secret teaches us to “visualize” our wants in order to change our negative feelings into positive energy.  As a result of visualizing, one man became a millionaire, another man got his dream home, and another man landed several hot dates a week.  At this point I thought, “this is more than positive thinking and humanism.  This is narcistic and hedonistic”.  “Narcism” is the “excessive love of self”.  “Hedonism” is the “pursuit of pleasure”.  The Bible calls this sin.  Christians are to serve Jesus and those He has placed us with, not themselves. (John 15:13)   


Visualizing is important to the Secret.  It sure was important for the man with the hot dates.   Visualizing  is also taught by “Hyper Faith Christians”. They teach visualization as a means of expressing faith in Jesus.  Similar to the Secret, Hyper-faith people visualize in order to get from God what they want.  


A pastor took visualization one step farther by saying that we can “speak what we want into existence”, as God did at creation.  This is exactly the Secret’s message.  He quoted Romans 4:17 to prove his point.  Paul said, “God calls things that are not as though they were”.  The pastor explained it this way.  Take a banana.  Call the banana an apple long enough and at some point you can speak the banana into being an apple.  This is what the Secret teaches as well.  This pastor understood Paul to say that God visualizes things to be something they’re not. Because of this, God speaks what He’s visualized, and what He speaks comes into existence.  According to the pastor, we can do the same.  There’s a problem here.  Paul wasn’t sayings this.  The context clearly shows that God was only calling one thing that wasn’t as though it was, and that was the Gentiles.  Jews had always been God’s people, but God was now calling Gentiles His people too.  People who weren’t His people, now are.  That’s all Paul was saying.  To make more of this statement than that is putting words in Paul’s mouth.           


Some Christians claim that “we can do anything and everything” because Paul said he could do all things through Christ. (Philippians 4:13)  That’s the Secret’s message too, except for the part about Jesus.  Don’t be deceived.  Paul and the Secret are not in agreement.  Paul isn’t saying he can do anything imaginable because Jesus will help him.  In context he’s saying he can “endure anything that comes his way because Jesus will help him endure”.  The Secret teaches that if you are enduring anything, it’s your negative mentality that has created the situation you’re enduring.  Just visualize the positive and the negative situation will leave. 


Have you noticed that God told Paul he would endure great suffering because of his association with Jesus? (Acts 9:16)  That’s interesting.  God speaks negatively at times.  Paul knew how to endure suffering, and he told others to think like him. (2 Timothy 2:4)  The Secret would view Paul’s encouragement as being negative energy.


Paul also tells us to think about good things. (Philippians 4:8 - 9)  The Secret teaches the same but for different reasons.  It teaches that your positive thoughts will return lots of nice things.  Paul encourages us to think about good things for our peace of mind, and pleasant disposition.  He didn’t have material gain in mind.         


The message of the Secret as seen in the video was progressive in nature. That’s good marketing.  A marketer of a product starts with the easy to understand stuff which you can easily agree with.  In this case, positive thinking is agreed upon by most.  A number of steps follow and since you’ve agreed with the previous step, you’re likely to agree with each subsequent step.  Then comes the punch line, the big concept.  You have no other logical choice than to agree with that because you’ve agreed with everything else along the way.  That might be good marketing, but it’s deceptive.    


The Secret’s final point was big.  It states that we are all spiritual beings, living in a spiritual universe.  Therefore we need to be in touch with our spirit and the spiritual world around us.  Once again, there’s an element of truth here.  It’s in this spiritual world where they say the law of attraction works. 


To cap their last point off, the message of the Secret claims that we are more than simple spiritual beings.  Both we as individuals, and the “corporate we” are in fact god.  That really got my spirit in knots. The ultimate message of the Secret is that there is no god but us.  At this point  I no longer viewed the Secret as being simply humanistic, narcistic, or hedonistic. I viewed it as  demonic.  According to the Biblical account, God created all things separate and distinct from Himself. (Genesis 1:26)  Christians aren’t Pantheists. Pantheists believe that God is His creation, and His creation is God.  The Secret is repackaged Pantheism. 


This reminded me of how satan tempted Eve when he told her that she and Adam could be like God if they’d do as he said. Wow, that beats a new car, a new house, and all the hot women pounding on your bedroom door.  What else could one want?  The ultimate point to the Secret’s message is that we are god, and therefore have the ability to speak into existence anything we want. 


In short, the Secret is a religion. It’s demonic and plays on our selfish nature.  It’s also seductive.  When the video was over my wife asked me to go to the store to buy some butterscotch ice-cream.  Because of my bad eye sight I can’t read the names on ice-cream cartons very well.  So I told my wife that I might not be able to get the flavour she wanted.  Immediately after my negative confession this thought bombarded my brain.  It said, “your negative confession won’t attract any positive results at the store”.  As I walked to the store this thought persisted in harassing me as if it was chasing me down the street.  I did get the butterscotch ice-cream with help from the clerk despite this harassing thought.  My point is this.  After watching the video, the Secret’s message haunted me for a while.  This is the nature of the Secret.  It’s seductive and persuasive. If you’re an unlearned Christian, you might be deceived, but don’t be. Instead, guard your heart and mind with all diligence.  (Proverbs 4:23)


In closing I quote from 1 Timothy 4:1. It reads, “the Spirit clearly says that in the later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons .”   


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