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Jesus Versus The Secret: A Christian’s Guide to the Law of Attraction

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At the time of this writing, The Secret is the #8 best-selling book on Amazon. A book with a title like The Secret makes you want to discover what’s inside. 

The secret within The Secret is the Law of Attraction, described in the book as follows:

Everything that’s coming into your life you are attracting into your life, and it’s attracted to you by virtue of the images you’re holding in your mind.

The most obvious explanation for the power of positive thinking involves motivation.  In other words, positive thinking encourages positive action, and positive action causes positive results.  

However, another explanation can be found in The Secret, which casts positive thought as metaphysical power:  

You are a human transmission tower, and you are more powerful than any television tower created on earth. You are the most powerful transmission tower in the Universe. Your transmission creates your life and it creates the world. The frequency you transmit reaches beyond cities, beyond countries, beyond the world. It reverberates throughout the entire Universe. And you are transmitting that frequency with your thoughts!

Notice the capitalization (and deification) of the word “universe” in the previous excerpt. Despite all its talk of quantum physics and new science, The Secret is a spiritual book with underpinnings in theology and religion, where Universe and God mean the same thing.

Because of The Secret’s metaphysical nature, people may want to know if the Law of Attraction violates their religion. In fact, the book claims to parallel several world religions.

A Christian friend of mine recently said, “John, do you think the Law of Attraction is just a bunch of new-age mumbo jumbo?”

What she really wanted to know was whether a Christian could practice the Law of Attraction in good conscience, or if Christianity and The Secret were diametrically opposed. As it turns out, the answer lies inbetween these extremes.

Before we go any further, I want to share my religious background, so you know where I’m coming from. I do not claim to be an expert on Christianity, but I know something about it. My mother and father-in-law are preachers, and I was raised in the Church. I have practiced many Christian denominations: Baptist, Non-Denominational, Pentacostal — the list goes on. I have read every word of the New Testament six times, and I believe the Gospels contain some of life’s most valuable lessons, whether you’re Christian or not.

So when I was asked to share my opinion about Christiantiy and the Law of Attraction, I discovered I had quite a bit to say.  

key4.JPGBut I want to be clear: This article is not about what I believe.  You are smart enough to make decisions about your spirituality on your own. This article is an analysis of how the Law of Attraction meshes with basic Christian principles – no more, no less.

The Power of Faith 

One of the core principals of the Law of Attraction, as described in The Secret, is the ability of faith to affect physical change in the universe:

You must believe that you have received. You must know that what you want is yours the moment you ask. You must have complete and utter faith.

In the moment you ask and believe and know you already have it in the unseen, the entire Universe shifts to bring it into the seen. You must act, speak, and think as if you are receiving it now. Why? The universe is a mirror, and the law of attraction is mirroring back to you your dominant thoughts.

key4.JPGOn the importance of faith, the Law of Attraction and the New Testament agree. Christianity recognizes the power of faith to bring about positive change, not merely as an internal motivator, but also as an external creative energy.

If you doubt the Bible’s position on faith, just look at these scriptures:

Luke 17:6 –If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this tree, Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you.

Matthew 7:7 — Ask and ye shall receive.

Mark 11:23 – For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

The scripture in Mark is one of the most powerful in the Bible. It says you can have anything you want if you have faith.  So are The Secret and the Bible in complete agreement?  Well, not so fast.

The Christian God is not Your Genie

key4.JPGIn The Secret, the Universe is portrayed as a cosmic genie, waiting to grant your every wish. But the Christian God is not your Genie. The Christian God is sovereign, not merely an extension of your hopes and wishes.

So what’s the implication of God’s sovereign nature upon the “power of faith” scriptures I quoted earlier?  Simple: You can have all the faith in the world, but the Christian God isn’t granting your wish unless it’s His will. 

This does not completely undermine the principles of faith advocated by LoA, but does apply limits to them. 

Plus, the Bible has a Code of Conduct

key4.JPGAlthough the Law of Attraction and the Bible agree in principle on the power of positive thinking and the importance faith, the Bible (being a religious book) suggests a code of conduct related to what you should attract, whereas The Secret (a secular book) does not.  

The Secret says you can obtain a new BMW by manifesting it.  The Bible, on the other hand, suggests the futility of living a consumer lifestyle. If you want to know my opinion about the hopelessness of modern consumption, read my American Zombie article. If you want to know what the Bible says about it, read these verses:

Matthew 6:19 — Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 13:22 — The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

Both verses hint at the temporary and unsatisfying nature of living for the material treasures of this life.

 There’s more to the Bible than the Law of Attraction

The NIV Study Bible that I used as a reference while writing this article contains almost 2,000 pages, and only a small percentage involve desire manifestation.  In other words, there’s more to the Bible than the Law of Attraction.  

key4.JPGThis brings us to our final point, the real impact statement of this article: If a person wants to follow the tenets of Christianity and simultaneously use the Law of Attraction, he must recognize the Law of Attraction as one small component in a larger body of Christian teachings.

A complete reconciliation of LoA with the Bible would take a book, not an article.  And it’s doubtful even a book could tackle it, since reconcilation is a personal journey.  Hopefully this article has given you a place to start and something to think about.

JohnPlace

176 Responses to “Jesus Versus The Secret: A Christian’s Guide to the Law of Attraction”

  • Rachael says:

    hi there, i stumbled upon your blog post, and i must say that it has given me a bit of assurance. I’m a christian myself however i’m quite open to things because of my education. i’ve read the secret however, like others who have commented i feel that it all has to do with science that the mind is a powerful thing that God has given to us but I don’t think that all it’s powers can be revealed otherwise, we would be playing God with that power…… especially since we only use 10%. imagine what we could do with the other 90%. The law of attraction may not exactly bring about true happenings, but maybe only contingent true happenings. it could just have been a coincidence that things were going right because their mindset has changed for the better. people have said that if you try you get trying results so it really does depend on the human effort not some genie granting wishes.

    well yeah. just sayin :)

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  • Walter says:

    I think Richard nailed it a couple years back:

    The difference is the age old conflict of man wanting to be God instead of to serve God.

    If you look at history, all the cultures have tried this. The Roman emperors wanting to be worshiped as God. Greeks were superior for there knowledge, and Babylonians for there exquisite wonders. To sum it up, there are portions in the secret that are relative, “thoughts becomes things” etc. But in the book it mentions how people who get in car accidents or die in a tragic events, actually thought about it at some point in there life… That’s sounds Crazy!

  • Beth Misner says:

    It is possible to hold on to revelation regarding the law of attraction, I believe. Rhonda Byrne used a lot of Biblical references, but that should make us curious about how the Bible either supports or does not support these principles. What do you think?

  • Pure Joy says:

    And 4 years after, “the Secret” is still a controversy among christians. I traced the date of the article and it dated back to May 2007. :D This is cool, and i am taking it easy.

    To all readers, i am born in a family for preachers. I grew up as a pastor’s kid and grew up with other pastor’s kids. And i took theology and read the bible all the days of my life. I know the Holy Spirit and his leadings. And suddenly The DVD secret came. I did not took a hold of it first and waited for years because of my own fears like yours. And last year, 2010, i took my step in watching it. Lo and behold. It fits everything JESUS said and how he lived his life.

    The Secret is not about serving yourself, but serving God’s original design in you which is Christ in you the hope of Glory! It is serving the Kingdom of God here on earth. And the Kingdom of God in earth is establish among his people, through you bros and sis. Of course, since the author and the teachers knows so less about the bible, they didn’t really thought that it is Jesus’ teachings as well. Nevertheless, it is your part to get to know the Kingdom established by God here on earth within you. And the Law of Attraction among many universal laws placed by the Almighty God is working for us and not against us whether you are a follower of Christ Jesus or not. It works whether you accept it or deny it. It is a Godly designed universal law…what you sow, you will reap. If you sow good thoughts, you reap thousands of good thoughts. If you are grateful and appreciative of what you have (even in imagination) then you will have it and more of it. As a man thinketh, so is he, says in Psalms. Anyway, if you are rich and wealthy, the more you give, the more you receive isnt it? But if you are poor, know that you God has given us all the power we need not only to survive our stay in the earth, but to thrive as well; know what you want, ask for it, and it shall be given unto you. Seek the kingdom means, to search for the original design of God within you which is perfect and worthy…He is perfect and worthy within you. he is the original design within you. And Jesus said, you can do greater things than this. And so be it, i will not elaborate on that anymore.

    So being a christian is not really belonging to a religion, for the word kills, but the Spirit gives life.

  • dale says:

    That could be really confusing! Nevertheless, a simple conclusion would be… HOW WOULD HANDLE DIVINE POWER AND HUMAN POWER TOGETHER IN A SYNCHRONIZED WAY!

    THANKS!
    NICE POST!

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  • Eto Sky says:

    I think the secret is just another “self-help” book out their with the devil as an author of the book. Law of attraction doesn’t exist! Such foolishness we make up in our life. God is the one who provides us and says “no” “wait” or “yes” on the things we ask for. I knew I never wanted to read this book, but unfortunately my friend wanted to see the movie of the secret so I watched it and got soo confused what “universe” they were speaking of. It is demonic I can say and makes no sense.

  • Eto Sky says:

    The only way the secret can work is you ask God, not the universe to provide you with the desires of your heart. I want a horse and I want to get one for me and my daughter and i dream about it and I picture it, but this doesn’t mean that it is the universe that provides me with the horse, it is God himself who gives me this stuff…
    The secret is really not a secret to me because, even without the book, it is not needed to tell one to go to “laws of attraction” the bible states this information. The secret author should be sued for using the bible for money and copy right laws!

  • Juan Carlos Soto says:

    Hi, John

    I see that you have tons of comments to you article. So I will make short it and hopefully clear. Before knowing anything about the power of positive thinking, my life was very contradicting, because I felt God´s love inside me, or I tought I did, but my personal projects never got concluded…I always blamed on me or I thought it was not in God´s plann, But with the Secret I became aware of all the great opportunities I lost. Now I rarely feel guilty and I think I can achieve many things in life, bad or good, but to me. The real point is to be conscious that we can wish and get anything (material, spiritual or personal)that we want, and will never be bad to God´s eyes as long as we mantain the bond with Him, by doing what he tought us; Be Mercy, Be Kind and Generous…Love others as much as ¨you will love your self (this is not selfish, is in the bible)¨

    Love and happiness to all of you on the earth and in heaven.
    JCARLOS

  • Karen says:

    I believe that the Bible has always been the secret…if one would read and study they would find that everything exist in the word of God…the bible has always taught faith ,healing,prosperity…and the list goes on. I feel that people can and have become unbalanced with the Law of Attraction…I think it has good principals..but one should always place there faith in the Lord and his word.

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  • [...] portrayal of the Law of Attraction in regards to Christianity. In his blog entry titled “Jesus v. The Secret: A Christian’s Guide to the Law of Attraction,” John does an objective comparison between the book and Christianity. He makes a striking [...]

  • Leon Brooks says:

    What is an idol?

    An idol is a god which does things your way.

    The only (& necessary) God is totally sovereign, so does things His way.

    The Law of Attraction basically turns the Universe at large into an idol.

  • Tim says:

    Well, I used to be a big fan and an advocate of the law of attraction. Until one day… Something happened to me that I will never forget. I knew about “The Secret” before I knew Christ (The Way, The Truth and The Life).

    You see, mixing the Law of Attraction with your belief in the Christian God for me is a big compromise. The universe isn’t God, God created the universe.

    Where am I getting to here? I think that the law of attraction is nothing more than an “enhanced” pagan belief. It is belief in the power of nature, the universe (the creation) and not God (the creator).

    Of course I used to think that the two (religion and The Secret) could co-exist together. But if you read the bible (read and not just pick passages ), you’ll see how many people are lead astray by their ignorance of the bible as I was.

    I will also put here the plot of the book “The Alchemist”, which substituted a lot of things in the bible such as

    “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” ~ The Alchemist, which teaches you to seek after worldly things

    and

    “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~The New Testament, specifically said by Jesus himself to seek after the KING-dom and not the treasure as the treasure will just follow.

    Two different things. Examine carefully how little changes in themes changed the meaning.

    Hope this message gets through to everyone who reads here. God Bless!

  • SS says:

    Thank you very much. I think it is difficult to get answers where people give a concise answer without getting it all lost in personal interpretations. That’s cleared my head and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one wrestling with this question!

  • Max says:

    It’s great to read all the thoughts in this site. I’m a more of a scientific person but I’m also a christian. To me, I’ll take the findings from science prior to Bible, because Bible was written 3600 years ago, when no one had any concept of what future technologies would look like. So when John wrote some nonsense in the book of Revelation, such as the stars falling. And no one on earth knows what he really meant.

    Here is one hypothesis of my world view:
    1. God created the world. But no one know what God is.
    2. The way God created the world is the same as how human beings affect the menifestation of the matter world.
    3. The world is affected by all the spiritial beings. And that’s why a baby “attracts diseases to himself”, because other living spiritial beings attract it.
    4. Everyone has the power to affect the menifestaion, but not everyone has the same power. The magnet field each person has is different. So that’s why some people are very contagious while others are not.
    5. God is the almighty being among all spiritial beings. In fact, God created all the spiritial beings. So no matter how people want to affect the menifestations, God can easily redirect or cancel it by using technologies similar to the wave interference. So can Satan.
    6. Law of attraction works perfectly to one individual person when his will is strong enough and his energy is strong enough and God or Satan doesn’t interfer him.
    7. God wants us to behave like HIM.
    8. We can cocreate the world with God. When we follow the will of God, the wave of our magnet enhances and we feel joyful.

    The above is my own opinion, and it makes sense to me. I’m keeping reading more scientific researches because our subjective feeling is confusing. Things have to make sense in theory. Or the faith is blind faith. No one knows if the Bible is in its original shape. So the most important part of my faith is, God is there and HE loves us.

    Best withes to all of you
    Max

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