Oprah Winfrey endorsing ‘A New Earth’ on Oprah.com
Today, a live ten-week webinar hosted by Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle, author of “A New Earth,” will begin on the Internet. Both the book and the online course purport to be able to awaken you and our world to life’s grand purpose.
Since Oprah’s endorsement of Tolle’s book a month ago, 3.5 million copies of his spiritual self-help guide have been sent out to enlighten the minds of people around the globe. And more than 2 million people in 125 countries have already signed up for the worldwide web seminar.
Other celebrities have also chimed their endorsements of the book, like Guy Ritchie, Russel Simmons, Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey, who said, “I think one of the most important questions that people ask in life is who am I and why am I here? This book gets as close to an answer as any book could ever get.” “A New Earth” has even been labeled “a spiritual classic” by one of today’s leading spiritual thinkers.
But will this religious text and its subsequent Internet church-like gathering really lead you and our world to God’s gates of splendor?
A coincidental alignment?
I completely respect everyone’s First Amendment rights to choose their religion of choice. But I also recognize the First Amendment rights to speak freely against what I and so many others deem as errant and spiritually unsafe. We can all agree to disagree agreeably, but that doesn’t turn an aberrant spiritual opinion into almighty religious truth.
With this live webcast running through the very heart of one of Christendom’s most sacred seasons of the year (including Lent, Palm Sunday, Easter and Pentecost), the queen of daytime talk is preaching from a primetime pulpit, from which she is heralding to the world community, “Get ready to be awakened!”
But is it merely a coincidence that Winfrey’s and Tolle’s spiritual quest aligns with this special religious time of year? It is yet one more evidence of the paradigm shift in our culture from its moral absolute and Judeo-Christian basis to a relativistic worldview in which anything goes and everything is tolerated.
The fact is: Tolle’s “A New Earth” is being adopted and transformed into Oprah’s new Easter and religion.
Nothing new under the sun
Like most self-help spiritual texts of this type, it is a blend of half truths and half fabrications. One could easily save the purchase price of “A New Earth” and subsequently avoid misleading remarks by reading a Bible, which gives a much more thorough and accurate picture of life’s purpose and methods for overcoming its obstacles.
For example, Tolle advocates that the chief obstacle to awakening is our ego, and that fear is the basis of ego. (Is that a revelation to anyone?) The Bible declared more than two millennia ago, “With pride comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” and “perfect love drives out all fear.”
Tolle newly advocates “being in the now,” while the Bible admonished long ago, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Before Tolle even conceived “A New Earth,” the Bible described “a new heaven and a new Earth” and shows us exactly how we can inherit them in the future.
Tolle concludes, “This book is about you. It will change your state of consciousness or it will be meaningless.” On the other hand, the Bible emphatically assures its contents are “able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation.”
Tolle himself doesn’t align with any one religion, but blends tenets of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sufism, Christianity and other faiths. One reviewer from the Vancouver Sun said of Tolle:
His spiritual outlook has become more complex since [his former book] “The Power of Now,” when he dismissed external reality as an illusion and made it sound as if “living in the now” was a panacea for all the world’s problems. … In addition, Tolle believes outer realities – including politics, war, poverty and even the climate – will magically be transformed when individuals change their inner consciousness. This may be true, but only to an extent.
The reason Tolle’s psychology and spirituality is marketed so easy is that it is an eclectic mix of conventional and unconventional wisdom, and Western and Eastern beliefs, presented in a tolerant, non-threatening, and non-sectarian way. In other words, it’s “Religion Light,” in which one can be spiritual with “little down and no credit.”
Is anyone else growing weary of light, quick fix, pop-a-pill-and-you’ll-feel-better schemes in society and self-help? Have you ever found that the most valuable lessons in life have come easy? If we’re ever to discover the truth and purpose for life, we must be liberated from our fixations with easy roads – and then model and teach the same to our children and grandchildren.
That is why I’m endorsing, and even written the foreword for, an upcoming (April 15 release) revolutionary book, “Do Hard Things,” written by Alex and Brett Harris. It offers real insights and rewards for life by commendably calling us to rebel against the low expectations of culture and choose to “do hard things.”
Even Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to follow me, you must take up your cross and follow me.” Tolle, however, only quotes relatively benign sayings of Jesus, while avoiding the more difficult ones. For example, he notes that Jesus taught that the “kingdom of heaven” was already present on Earth and can be experienced right now, but overlooks Jesus’ teaching that one must be born again by believing in him as the Son of God and Savior to see that kingdom in the future.
When will we learn? Our pursuit and obtainment of truth is hindered most by our subjective (or à la carte) selections of religion and refusal to consider tougher commandments that call us to higher accountability and our true purpose.
Looking back to move forward
My battle is not with Oprah – she has her guru (Tolle), and I have mine (Jesus). The real war is between those who espouse to be bearers of the truth, like Tolle and Jesus. And the question is: With contradicting truths, will we believe a mere man or one who claimed to be so much more? As C.S. Lewis, the great Oxford scholar and writer of the “Narnia” series who was once an avid atheist, wrote,
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a good moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
That might not be what Oprah, Tolle or others around the world want to hear on their webinar, but he is everything we all need to obtain peace with God and peace with one another.
Again, the question is: Will we turn from what’s easy, what’s new, what’s popular, what’s even “Oprah” and take a step back and rediscover the answers that have been there all along? As C.S. Lewis also said, “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”
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(Chuck’s column now runs in syndication through Creators Syndicate. Subscriptions can be obtained by contacting Creators Syndicate. To check out some of his non-political articles, see Chuck’s WND archives.)