Jesus Versus The Secret: A Christian’s Guide to the Law of Attraction
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.
But 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.
On 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
In 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
Although 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.
This 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.
May 30, 2007 Wednesday at 10:19 am