A reader sent some questions about The Secret. This has been the most discussed topic on H-n-T, so I've summarized his thoughts and responded here:
1) He suggests I don’t fully understand the concept of the law of attraction because I haven’t read The Secret; I’ve only watched the DVD.
While the book might have extended content, the DVD contains the core concepts of the law of attraction. Let me offer an illustration: The vast majority of people don't read the vehicle code in order to get a license. Instead, they read the DMV driver's handbook. The vehicle code offers extensive detail, but one doesn't need this background to understand the laws. The summary in the driver's handbook tells us the core, necessary ideas.
I was already familiar with the concept of the law of attraction, and watching the DVD confirmed that The Secret is holding up the idea that people have the power to attract good or bad things in their lives through their thinking. Some of these core ideas are in direct opposition to biblical teaching, as I outline in my blog post, “The Secret” Versus the Bible.
(Some have asserted that I don't really understand what's being said in The Secret. I'd challenge anyone to show how ideas such as "Your life will be what you create it as, and no one will stand in judgment of it, now or ever" and "You are eternal life. You are source energy. You are God manifested in human form" could possible line up with the Bible. These are quotes from the DVD.)
Many people put their faith into the law of attraction after watching The Secret DVD. I stand firm in stating that Christians need to put their faith in God, not in a misguided theory that suggests we trust in our own personal power.
2) He suggests I should look at the points of agreement between the law of attraction and Christianity. He says, “What about the ecumenism?”
Most religions have some points of agreement with Christianity. Many world religions (Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, to name a few) acknowledge Jesus Christ. This acknowledgment could be viewed as a point of agreement. However, the foundational differences between the views are much stronger than the sameness: Some view Jesus as merely an important prophet or a great teacher, but certainly not as the Son of God or the source of salvation. These views of Jesus aren't the same, and the distinctions far outweigh any small agreement.
“Ecumenism” means the promotion of unity between different Christian churches. The Secret is not a Christian concept; it has nothing to do with ecumenism. Perhaps you are referring to universalism, or some belief that all religions are equally valid. World religions are not the same. Some hold there are many gods, others say there is one God. These are contradictory statements; both can't be correct. Some hold that this one God is distant because he is above and beyond us in greatness; others hold that we can have a close, personal relationship with God. Both can't be correct.
Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Christians hold that the only way to have a relationship with God is through Jesus. The idea that all religions are the same is untrue, and illogical.
3) He suggests that God is the one acting on behalf of the person who employs the law of attraction: We ask God for something, and he gives it to us.
God often does chose to give things to Christians when they ask him. However, this isn’t the law of attraction: The Secret says human beings personally have the power to obtain good things, and avoid bad things. God doesn't factor into The Secret equation.
Much of New Age thought focuses on the avoidance of suffering, either by not “drawing” it to oneself, or by mentally rejecting the concept (convincing oneself that pain doesn't really exist). The law of attraction is more of this teaching; it discusses how to focus on getting good stuff and to not attract bad stuff. But here’s what the Bible says about suffering:
James 1:2: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
Note that this says whenever you face trials (as opposed to if you face trials). We will face hardship and suffering. And this is a good thing:
Romans 5:3-4: “… we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Suffering builds character. God uses suffering to sanctify us (to make us more like Jesus).
If we solely focus on only having good things in our lives, and we are striving to ever avoid pain, we are missing out on opportunities to build character and become more spiritually mature. Jesus suffered. If we want to become more Christ-like, we have to experience suffering, too.
In summary, if you believe every good and perfect gift comes from God, and that you can ask God for good things, you are making a request that is based on biblical truth.
However, if you believe those things, you aren’t practicing the law of attraction. The former says: “I’m thankful for the blessings God chooses to give me: I know God is good and strong. I'm grateful for what he does for me.” The law of attraction says: “I have control of these blessings; I can get them for myself.” They simply aren’t the same ideas.
Thank you for offering these questions and your thoughts, Hiram. I can't argue with your experience of seeing good things in your life come about due to your study of the law of attraction. But I would ask you: As a Christian, do you think studying the law of attraction will bring you closer to God? Is getting good stuff really the ultimate goal you want to seek?
You have the best instruction in the world in the Bible. Through God's True Word, we learn about God's character and his plan for our lives.