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The Secret Seduction
Dave Hunt
June 30, 2007

The latest occult scam to capture the imagination of the West is called The Secret. The book by that name, a top New York Times bestseller, has quickly sold more than 6 million copies and the DVD over 2 million copies. Both contain numerous errors, misrepresentations, false premises, and false promises. Who cares? You should. With the following information, you could rescue someone from hell.

The numerous misrepresentations begin with the title itself. The Secret is not a secret at all, but recycled Hinduism, shamanism, and New Age folly. One of many huge lies is its claim: “You create your own reality with your mind.” This was the serpent’s false promise to Eve-the promise of godhood (Gen 3:5). Embracing that delusion cost Eve and her descendants Eden’s paradise-and would have barred mankind from heaven had not Christ died for the sins of the world. In the 6,000 years since Eden, the serpent’s promise has not been fulfilled in even one person’s life.

Misinformation and false claims follow one another in a dizzying parade of absurdities. Sprinkled throughout the book and DVD is the claim that the Secret is scientifically proved to be true. For example, “It has been scientifically proven that an affirmative thought is hundreds of times more powerful than a negative thought.”1 When? Where? How?

No scientific tests ever measured positive and negative thoughts, nor could there be any such tests because thoughts are nonphysical and their “power” cannot be measured. Thoughts exist outside the realm of physical science. Nor is there any such thing as “mental science” or a “science of the mind.” That fact is only one of many reasons why psychology could never be a science, in spite of decades of claiming that it is.

The bait on the hook of The Secret is stated repeatedly: “The Secret gives you anything you want: happiness, health, and wealth….You can have, do, or be anything you want….We can have whatever it is that we choose.”2 Common sense replies, “Thanks, but no thanks.” But millions being introduced to the Secret are excited and eager to make it work for them.

The foundational lies are basically that there is no personal God who created the universe and who makes laws that man must obey. The universe has always been here, yet we create it with our minds through numerous occult laws that exist to serve our selfish desires. One of the most enticing is “the law of attraction”: whatever thought (health, wealth, disaster, gain, loss, pain, joy, etc.) you hold in your mind, you will attract to yourself as a reality of your life. We are all gods who create our individual destinies with our thoughts.

The amorality of the Secret ought to be evident to anyone who stops to think. Hitler was no more responsible for the Holocaust than were its victims who collectively created it with their minds. So it was with the Titanic, the crash of every plane, and the victims of every rape and murder.

The book and DVD are based upon nothing more than statements of a number of supposed experts in the area of success motivation and positive thinking. Who are they? A “nonaligned, transreligious progressive…spiritual luminaries…teacher of spiritual metaphysics…Feng Shui master…successful business leaders…founders of the New Thought movement…a modern-day spiritual messenger, et al.” They are certainly not in the same class as Jesus Christ, who proved His deity with His sinless life and miracles, died for our sins, and rose from the dead. The “experts” cited and quoted in The Secret are not a group into whose hands anyone should trust their lives, much less their eternal destiny.

In the book and DVD, like a broken record, the same appealing but transparent lie is repeated over and over: “There isn’t a single thing that you cannot do with this knowledge…the Secret can give you whatever you want…if you see it in your mind, you’re going to hold it in your hand…you create your life with your thoughts…your thoughts are seeds, and the harvest you reap will depend on the seeds you plant…your life is in your hands…what you think about you bring about….You will attract everything that you require. If it’s money you need you will attract it…like Aladdin’s Genie, the law of attraction grants our every command… the moment you begin to ‘think properly’…this power within you that’s greater than the world…will take over your life…feed…clothe…guide…protect…direct you, sustain your very existence. If you let it. Now that is what I know, for sure….”

Now this is what I know for sure: while the historic individuals named and quoted in the book and DVD achieved some temporary material possessions and success, they all failed in that which is far more important: health. Yes, most, but not all, maintained a satisfactory level of good health most of their brief lives, but the health of every one of them eventually failed. One mark of failure they all share: they all died. In the end, the Secret could not keep them alive, though they tried every technique it offered. And those proponents of the Secret still alive today will inevitably suffer the same fate.

According to what these supposed masters of the Secret all declare with great confidence, they should not have died. If the Secret were true and they properly applied it-“The Secret can give you whatever you want”-they should all still be alive. In fact, none of the masters of the Secret even exceeded the normal life expectancy-but they surely should have if the Secret were true. The obvious fact is that the Secret is a deception that offers a false hope, which continues to deceive mankind-and an unconscionably amoral hope at that.

Let’s take a quick look at some of these “masters of the Secret.” Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most highly praised. He declared, “The secret is the answer to all that has been, all that is, and all that will ever be.” But Emerson lived in a state of deteriorating health and financial need for his last 10 years. He died at age 79. Surely he wanted to live a longer, healthier, happier life. Why didn’t he hold such thoughts and, by the law of attraction, bring what he wanted into actuality? For the same reason that no one else ever has or ever will. “The Secret” is a lie from Satan, “the father of lies” (John 8:44). It keeps those who believe it from faith in the true God and the salvation He provided for sinners through Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of all mankind upon the Cross.

What about Prentice Mulford, another of the supposed masters of the Secret and a founder of the New Thought movement, which is based upon the same delusion? He said that there is a material mind and a Spiritual mind; a lower self and a higher Self, and the latter receives thoughts from the “Supreme Power.”

But that “Power” failed him. It gave him the thought that he wanted to be a member of the California State Assembly. Mulford was nominated, but lost the election. Why didn’t his thoughts bring about his desire? The Secret, and New Thought, its mirror image, didn’t work for him, one of the “experts” held up as an example in the book and DVD. Finally, the Secret failed him entirely: he died at the age of 57-surely a shorter life than he had hoped to live.

Or what about Wallace Wattles, a diligent student of the Secret most of his short life and another founder of New Thought? His most famous book was The Science of Getting Rich, yet he lived most of his life in poverty. This crowning achievement of his life was published in 1910. He died in 1911 at the age of 51. Wouldn’t he have wanted to live longer to see the success of that book and to write more about the marvelous benefits of “the Secret,” though it failed him? But he couldn’t add one minute to his life. The Secret didn’t work for Wattles, one of its chief proponents.

The book and DVD also contain factual errors. The statement is made that through applying the Secret, the Babylonians, “became one of the wealthiest races in history.” No, it was through their military might at the cost of the lives, torture, and slavery of multitudes of victims. Babylon was one of the cruelest empires in history. And this commends the Secret? Thankfully, Babylon is no more. Why did it fall? Did the Secret fail the Babylonians, or did they fail to apply it? The evidence is overwhelming: the Secret is a lie.

This delusion that reality is created by the mind has been offering false hope to mankind for thousands of years. It is the standard teaching of Christian Science, the Church of Religious Science, Unity School of Christianity, New Thought, and other Mind Science cults. Never before, however, has it been packaged so attractively and cleverly for promotion to the general public as in The Secret. Disillusionment of multitudes will follow.

Most of the quick spread of this new presentation of the ancient and well-known supposed Secret is due to promotion by Larry King and Oprah Winfrey. Millions of their fans bought the book and DVD. On April 5, 2007, Oprah Winfrey discussed the Secret with alleged nonphysical entities “channeled” by Secret promoter, Esther Hicks. As we have often shown, so-called “spirit communication” with the dead that used to occur in séances (strictly forbidden in the Bible as demonic – Deut 18:11, Lev 20:6) is now called “channeling” and has long been promoted openly on radio and TV.

Anyone with even a small amount of common sense would recognize many moral and practical problems. What The Secret promotes is completely amoral and self-centered: “The law [of “attraction”] responds to your thoughts, no matter what they may be….People who have drawn wealth into their lives…think thoughts of abundance and wealth…nothing else exists in their minds.” “You’ve got to feel good about money to attract more to you….Start to say and feel…I am a money magnet. I love money.” (The Bible says not money itself but “the love of money is the root of all evil” – 1 Tim 6:10).

What about selfless love, kindness, mercy, goodness, charity, compassion, generosity, sharing with others? Such thoughts would interfere with the single-minded goal of drawing wealth to oneself. The Secret, believed and applied, cannot help but increase one’s selfishness and bring those applying it into conflict with one another.

Let’s say that “Jones” believes that the Secret will give him anything he wants. Wanting to be the president of the X corporation where he works, and using the “law of attraction” to get what he wants, Jones holds in his mind the thought, “I am the president of X Corporation.” Will Jones’s thoughts oust the current president and put himself in his place? Suppose there happen to be twenty other ambitious and avaricious people, from factory workers to janitors, from secretaries and bookkeepers to the vice president, who also want to be president of X corporation and are each relying upon the Secret’s “law of attraction” to fulfill their passion. To help accomplish their selfish desire, they each visualize themselves in the president’s chair behind the big desk in his plush office. Will the Secret simultaneously make each of them the president? Who will win this battle of minds in the selfish competition that this ancient, amoral, alleged secret has spawned?

One of the supposedly successful practitioners of the occult principles who is quoted in the book, Lisa Nichols, is described as a “powerful advocate of personal empowerment”-more selfishness. She says, “Thank God that there’s a time delay, that all your thoughts don’t come true instantly.”3 What “God” does she mean? Where would God fit into a universe He neither made nor controls and that is being recreated by human thoughts continually-a universe that stands ever ready to give mankind whatever selfish desires are directed toward it?

Advocates of the Secret and New Thought do not believe in the personal, living God of the Bible, who asks for man’s love and submission to His will. Their god is impersonal, a sort of Star Wars Force or universal Mind that has no mind of its own but exists solely to give us whatever we want. Joe Vitale is another one of the expert practitioners of the Secret quoted in the book and DVD. On Larry King Live a caller asked, I’m just curious, where does God come into “the Secret”?

Vitale responded, “God is all of us. God is the secret and everything about it. This is a law from God.”4 This, of course, is nonsense, the ancient religion of pantheism: you’re God, I’m God, the tree is God, everything is God. Then “God” is both good and evil, death as well as life, has no morals, etc. If everything is “God,” then “God” means nothing. Pantheism is virtual atheism.

Another ancient occult technique used by shamans for thousands of years is visualization: the belief that a mental picture held firmly in the mind will eventually manifest itself in the physical universe. Of course, this too is a delusion. No one has ever been able to demonstrate this ability. If we all had the power that The Secret promises, ours would be a terrifying existence with billions of Darth Vaders and Obe Wan Kenobies zapping one another with mind power!

Many Christians, as we have seen, teach basically the same occultism taught to C.G. Jung by “familiar spirits” (1 Sam 28:9; Isaiah 8:19). Yonggi Cho has taught and practiced the same for years, as have numerous Christian psychologists and charismatic leaders. Visualization to create one’s own reality was the heart and soul of all that Norman Vincent Peale taught and practiced: “The idea of imaging…has been implicit in all the speaking and writing I have done….”5 Robert Schuller has long taught the same occultism: “I have practiced and harnessed the power of the inner eye and it works….Thirty years ago we started with a vision of a church. It’s all come true.”6

Cho, pastor of the largest church in the world, claims that the Holy Spirit told him that he must visualize a clear picture of what he was praying for, or his prayer could not be answered. But all Cho could hold in his mind was the gross outline of what he wanted; he could not “see” or even imagine the atomic structure of these objects, which was their underlying reality.

Anyone who is willing to believe that mankind creates the universe with its collective thoughts (or that any individual, by visualization, can bring into existence anything that would be part of daily experience) has willfully given himself over to Satan and is susceptible to any other lie he offers. Obviously, the universe was here before man. To believe that the vast expanse of the cosmos with its trillions of stars and moons that no man has ever seen, including the many subatomic particles no one has even imagined, is all being created and held together with the collective thoughts of humanity, is to commit intellectual, moral, and spiritual suicide.

Those who believe such lies as The Secret offers have deliberately turned from the true God who has revealed Himself in each conscience and in the universe He made and have opened themselves to demonic delusion that will eventually lead them to eternal separation from the God who loves them and the Christ who died to redeem them. Let’s rescue as many as we can! TBC

Endnotes

1. Rhonda Byrnes, The Secret (New York: Atria Books, 2006), 1.
2. Ibid., 22.
3. Ibid., 194.
4. Larry King Live, March 8, 2007.
5. Norman Vincent Peale, Positive Imaging (Fawcett Crest, 1982), Introduction.
6. Robert Schuller booklet, The Power of the Inner Eye.

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The Gospel According to Oprah 

According to Oprah Winfrey’s introduction page on the world-wide-web, the Oprah Winfrey Show is the highest-rated talk show in television history, seen by 15-20 million viewers each day in the U.S. in 205 television markets, and in 132 countries. In fact, it has been the number one talk show for 12 consecutive seasons. Since it’s beginning in 1986 it has received 32 Emmy awards.

In 1996, Oprah began Oprah’s Book Club designed to get America reading again. Each of the books selected has become an instant bestseller averaging sales of over 1 million copies each.

In 1997, Oprah was named Newsweek’s “Most Important Person” in books and media, T.V. Guide’s “Television Performer of the Year,” the People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Television Performer,” and in 1996, Time Magazine recognized Oprah as one of America’s “25 Most Influential People.”

Tragically, America is almost obsessed with celebrity idol worship. Recent Gallup polls demonstrated how true this is when it asked Americans to list and rank the most influential women in recorded history. Oprah Winfrey ranked fourth! There is a common recognizable refrain that “When Oprah speaks, people listen.”

However, the primary issue here is not that Americans tend to look to media celebrities as role models, although these people lead probably some of the least ideal lives to emulate. The issue before us is the steady stream of messages and advice that Oprah and her favorite guests communicate to the millions of people who are starved for meaning and purpose in life.

Clearly, Oprah Winfrey has been converted into the New Age Movement. And one of the biggest deceptions is that she apparently doesn’t know it. Many of her favorite guests are major New Age proponents and authors, and Oprah contributes to the enormous popularity and sales of their books.

Some of these New Age guests (and a number of them make repeat appearances) are, Marianne Williamson, Barbara DeAngelis, LaVar Burton, Richard Carlson, Betty Eadie, Dannion Brinkley, M. Scott Peck, Sophy Burnham, Marilyn Ferguson, Kevin Ryerson, Shirley MacLaine, Sara Breathnach, James Hillman, and psychic medium and best-selling author, James Van Praagh.

Oprah is on a mission. Repeatedly stated, her “mission” is, “I want people to see things on our show that makes them think differently about their lives…To be a light for people. To make a difference…to open their minds and see things differently…how to get in touch with the spiritual part of their life.” Unfortunately, the “light” Oprah offers is the “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), and “opening their minds,” in this case means their brains fall out-they become empty headed (Romans 1:21-25).

Oprah was raised in a black Baptist church in Mississippi. It is not known whether she had a healthy exposure to Christianity or a distorted one, but she is clearly in the process of deconstructing Christianity and reframing it into a New Age perspective.

One of the most revealing examples was a recent show with guests Betty Eadie, (new age/Mormon author of Embraced By The Light and The Awakening Heart), Dannion Brinkley (new age author of near death experience books Saved By The Light, and At Peace With in the Light) and Sophy Burnham (new age author of A Book of Angels and Angel Letters).

During the show Oprah related, “I was raised a Baptist and we were too hung up on traditional ways. I was sitting in church and heard that God is a jealous God. I asked ‘Why?’ Come on-let’s get over it!” She related a “jealous God” to an insecure God.

In the program Oprah revealed that she doesn’t think God is hung up on what you believe about God-whatever that “force” is, it doesn’t care what you call it. He doesn’t have an ego problem. She states, “I believe in the FORCE-I call it God.” She also said if you believe in a rhythm of nature and in love, then you believe in God.

Oprah, in typical New Age fashion, has reduced God to human limitations, and dismisses objective absolutes, substituting emotions as the criteria of truth. This constant refrain of a nebulous concept of love as a guiding principle is very deceptive.

God warns us that the heart is very deceptive (Jeremiah 17:9, Proverbs 12:20). Jesus warns that the heart is an untrustworthy guide for truth, especially the “uncircumcised” heart (Matthew 12:33-35, 15:18,19). New Agers have raised the level of feelings or emotions (intuition) as a navigator beyond all rational proportions.

Particularly instructive for us all is the fact that Oprah doesn’t seem to be aware that she has been seduced deeply into the New Age world-view. We say instructive because one could relate to the subtle and deceptive processes that Oprah appears to have fallen prey to.

On one recent show a Christian in the audience challenged Oprah about being a “New Ager.” Oprah responded, “I am not new age anything and I resent being called that. I am just trying to open a door so that people can see themselves more clearly and perhaps be the light to get them to God, whatever they may call that. I don’t see spirits in the trees and I don’t sit in the room with crystals.”

Oprah has made the mistake of narrowly defining the New Age Movement. However, read the following beliefs expressed by Oprah over the last few years.

Oprah’s close friend and sometimes guest, Shirley MacLaine described on a show how to meditate, going inside yourself, asking your own “intuitive Self” to seek answers to life’s questions. Oprah responds, “You know, that is the same as the Bible says, ‘Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find’.” Shirley confirms.

Oprah then asks Shirley, “When you connected to the higher Self…knowing that you can do anything that you want to do-is it what other people describe as being ‘born again’?” Shirley nods, “Yes, probably.”

It is amazing that so few people catch the duplicity of New Agers when they attack the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible and the Christian church, but then quote it-almost always out of context-or twist it so support their position. For example, Oprah had as her guests a New Age panel consisting of Don Curtis (a Unity minister and trance-channeler), Kevin Reyerson (Shirley MacLaine’s channeler), and Marilyn Ferguson (New Age leader and author of The Aquarian Conspiracy. After comparing the evolution of the New Age Movement in our culture with the “new understanding” advent of the Protestant Reformation, Oprah states, “As I read more of Shirley MacLaine, crystals, and The Aquarian Conspiracy, it seems to me to say what the Bible has said for years. It is just that many of us were brought up with a more restricted, limited vision of what the Bible said.”

(The Christian should require Oprah or other New Ager to explain on what basis they reject the clear historical communication in literary forms of the Bible in lieu of their very subjective, esoteric, surrealistic interpretations).

Don Curtis responds that the problem comes from “the literal interpretation within denominationalism, because no one really knows, (apparently no one but Mr. Curtis) through the filter of translation down through the ages, what the Bible really says…most of it and reincarnation was thrown out in 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicea.” Oprah responds, “Right.”

When this kind of pseudo-scholarship goes unchallenged the effect can be serious. How many non-Christians or even Christians are knowledgeable of church history, the early church councils and the science of Biblical textural criticism which through tedious research and archeology has allowed us to see how accurate and preserved the Bible is? Very few; and certainly not Oprah.

Oprah also related that, “One of the most important books I’ve read is Eric Buttterworth’s (a New Age Unity leader) Discover the Power Within You. In it he said “Jesus did not come to teach us how divine He was but to teach that divinity was within us.” Later she said that “It (claiming exclusive Divinity) would make Jesus the biggest egotist that ever lived.”

On the recent show with new age panel Betty Eadie, Sophy Burnham, and Dannion Brinkley, Oprah positively alluded to the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, stating in summary, “..that one of the biggest mistakes humans make is to believe that there is only one way. Actually, there are many diverse paths leading to what you call God.”

When corrected by a Christian in the audience that Jesus said He was the only Way, the panel lost their composure, coming unglued. Oprah reacted, “There couldn’t possibly be only one way…Does God care about your heart or whether you called His Son Jesus?”

Oprah’s consistent theme is to inspire people to take control of their lives, to not be controlled by others or by circumstances. She is always advising “You can choose what happens.” While there is some truth and value to this philosophy it is fatally tied to the New Age philosophy. As Oprah states, “You are responsible for your life-the power of God is within you [whether you are a Christian or not], above you and through you. You control your life.”

What this fails to acknowledge is that man does not define reality; man does not determine what truth is. The source of truth for our decisions and power is the one true God of all reality and He has communicated plenary propositional truths to us in the Bible and remarkably, uniquely in His incarnation in Jesus Christ.

Oprah, as with other New Agers, is not in pursuit and in communion with God but is in pursuit with the “image of God”-by elevating man to Divinity. The problem with this is the God of the universe has not called us to join ourselves to the creation but to Himself, “the Creator who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25).

For an expanded version of this article or additional information regarding this subject contact our Birmingham office and request, “The Gospel According to Oprah.”

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