IS OPRAH PEDDLING SNAKE OIL?
By Marsha West
February 18, 2007
On February 8 Oprah aired a special about the film, The Secret. Oprah has 49 million viewers a week so the cat is out of the bag. Due to popular demand a follow-up will air on February 16. The feature length movie was released last year and is “so powerful that it can change the course of your life.” The Secret is now offered on DVD. The producers promise that it’s the secret to everything, “the secret to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth: everything you have ever wanted.” Sound too good to be true? Snake oil usually is.
From the DVD we learn that the world is on the brink of a new era that will open up to humanity unleashed power, riches, creativity and all that we ever dreamed of, including losing weight. A bargain at $29.95.
The “secret” has been hidden for centuries. Oddly, no one knew about the scroll—until now. We’re in luck! It’s being made available to all. From the website we learn that “The Secret Scrolls contain inspiring words to assist you in living in the magic of The Secret. Also within the scroll will be exciting information about upcoming Secret Events all over the world.” The website offers products and other special offers for the seeker. Visitors are also directed to other websites, books and teachers who are masters of The Secret. “The Secret Scrolls is a positive and uplifting gift we know will be a joy for you to receive.”
The Secret is the brainchild of Australian-born Rhonda Byrne. Everything in Byrne’s life was falling apart and she was in deep despair. That's when her daughter gave her a copy of The Science of Getting Rich, a book written in 1910 by Wallace D Wattles. Reading the book changed her life.
The Secret is not a movie or documentary, it’s a video seminar featuring a series of prominent authors, philosophers, doctors, quantum physicists, and “spiritual” practitioners. The most well-known of the “teachers” is New Age guru Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Success Principles.
What is The Secret, exactly? It’s the Power of Positive Thinking! Watch the movie and you’ll learn how thinking optimistically can be applied to attracting wealth, better health, and relationships; in a word, happiness. “The Secret is the Law of Attraction,” says Byrne, “which is the principle that like attracts like." She calls it “the most powerful law in the universe," and says it’s working all the time. “What we do is we attract into our lives the things we want, and that is based on what we're thinking and feeling."
The law of attraction means that every good or bad thing that happens to us, we draw to ourselves, be it positive or negative. "If you were at a restaurant,” says Lisa Nichols, “and you ordered something, you fully expect it to come served that way. That's how the universe is. You're putting out orders—conscioussly and unconsciously. So if you say, 'I'll never have a great relationship,' you just placed an order." [Read]
How does The Secret work? Just name it and claim it! Ask for what you want, believe it, and you’ll receive it. For the pessimist who is resigned that nothing will ever change, then nothing will.
The Secret teachers from the past and the present are used to reveal hidden knowledge. Byrne claims that Plato, Newton, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Einstein, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Dale Carnegie, and others had this secret knowledge. She came to believe that it “was part of every religion, including Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism." (For all their success, some of the aforementioned didn't exactly live happy or even prosperous lives.)
Lighthouse Trails Research describes the genie that appears in the trailer of the movie on the website: “It begins by showing a genie from a lamp, who tells the beholder ‘your wish is my command.’ Research analyst Ray Yungen explains this concept:
“The premise of this is that we all have a divine essence within us, and we just need to get in touch with it. In other words, as panentheists teach, God is in all of creation, including all human beings, and once a person becomes aware of this, there are no limits to what he can achieve. Yungen elaborates:
How does one define higher self? According to Ronald Holt, it’s not all that easy but he gives it his best shot in his essay “Exploring the Higher Self.” Holt says, “All dimensions, beings, and planes of consciousness exists equally right here and now, within and around us. This requires that we as individuals open our senses sufficiently so we can participate with other beings, the higher self and/or with the other planes of reality. Sometimes experiencing another plane, dimension, or being can appear as though they are separate from us or that we have exited completely from this 3D plane and arrived at a totally different place.” [Read]
Hog wash! Individuals would be better off to open their senses sufficiently so they can participate in a personal relationship with the living Lord of the universe who created them and loves them.
Here’s my point. The Secret breaks two of the Ten Commandments: “You shall have no other gods before Me” and “You shall not covet your neighbors house.” Every week 49 million viewers get their marching orders from Oprah, and that includes many Christians. Oprah is not a Christian. Far from it. Oprah Winfrey is steeped in New Age Spirituality. What’s baffling to me is that when she recommends a book on “spirituality” hordes of self-professed Christians rush to their local bookstore to purchase it. (Hopefully not a Christian bookstore.) And Oprah isn’t the only celebrity promoting the DVD. Larry King calls The Secret the "most profound information he has run across in 40 years." Winfrey and King have helped put the DVD in the #1 position on Amazon.com. And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, folks.
Those who are reading this article have all the facts they need to assess the merits of the film. The discerning Christian will not purchase the DVD. Moreover, the discerning Christian will not spend time watching a woman who blatantly denies the Lordship of Jesus Christ and leads her followers off the straight and narrow path, down a road that leads to destruction.
Winfrey’s message comes straight from the pit of hell. Think about it
for a moment. Who else but Satan would be behind such a diabolical movie?
Why would any serious follower of Jesus Christ worth their salt waste
his or her time watching Oprah’s show? Christians (wittingly or unwittingly)
are entering into practices that are contrary to the Word of God. Whether
they know it or not, their actions are counterproductive to the cause
of Christ. My love and concern for them is what drives me to speak the
truth in love.
© 2007 Marsha West - All Rights Reserved
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Marsha West is the Founder and Editor of the E-Mail Brigade News Report, an online news report for conservative people of faith. Marsha is a freelance writer specializing in Christian worldview. She is a regular contributor to NewsWithViews.com, Alainsnewsletter.com, CapitolHillCoffeeHouse.com, plus her commentaries appear in MichNews.com and bibleteacher.org.
is also designer and webmaster of a Christian apologetics website, On
Solid Rock Resources. She is currently writing a series of children's
books for homeschoolers. Marsha and her husband reside in historic Jacksonville
From the DVD we learn that the world is on the brink of a new era that will open up to humanity unleashed power, riches, creativity and all that we ever dreamed of, including losing weight.