Listen to a talk done by Terran Williams during 2009's Coexist series: The Secret
(Article adapted from Charlie Cambel's article on the subject)
In 2006, Rhonda Byrne has released the 260-page best-selling book, ‘The Secret’ as well as the DVD by the same title.
The big “secret” according to Byrne is what she calls “the Law of Attraction.” The Law of Attraction, according to the author, is a law of the universe, like the law of gravity that basically says: Whatever you think about, you attract into your life. The Secret can give you whatever you want.” This book suggests that “The Secret,” the Law of Attraction, can be used to attract “large sums of money,” “perfect homes,” “life partners,” “cars,” “jobs,” “promotions,” “the perfect body,” “high grades,” and “friends.”
But, from a Christian perspective, there are some at least ten serious problems with the teachings of the book:
1. The Secret teaches that the universe is God.
Rhonda writes: “All that exists is the One Universal Mind, and there is nowhere that the One Mind is not. It exists in everything. The One Mind is all intelligence, all wisdom, and all perfection, and it is everything and everywhere at the same time.” [p. 160]
But Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It doesn’t say, “In the beginning God was the heavens and the earth.” God is distinct from the universe. He isn’t the universe. 2. The Secret makes people out to be God.
Byrne writes: “You are God manifested in human form, made to perfection...You are God in a physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator.” [p. 164]
But we’re not God. We’re merely, and wonderfully, his creatures.3. The Secret doesn’t esteem objective standards of right and wrong.
Byrne advises: “Be happy now. Feel good now. That’s the only thing you have to do ...Whatever you choose for You is right.” [p. 179]
Contrary to this claim that we decide what is right and wrong, there is an objective right and wrong. For example, rape and theft is wrong, no matter how happy it makes the one doing the raping or stealing.4. The Secret denies a coming Day of Judgment.
The book says, “Your life will be what you create it as, and no one will stand in judgment of it, now or ever.” [p. 177]
The Bible on the other hand says, “It is the destiny of every person to live, and then to die, and to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). 5. The Secret encourages a self-generated purpose.
Says Rhonda, “Your purpose is what you say it is. Your mission is the mission you give yourself.” [p. 177]
“I know the plans I have for you says the Lord,” says Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:11). Our life’s purpose is not self-generated – rather it is bestowed on us by our Creator. 6. The Secret removes any need to be thankful to God.
“The people, the job, the circumstances, the health, the wealth, the debt, the joy, the car that you drive, the community that you’re in…you’ve drawn them all to you, like a magnet. What you think about you bring about. Your whole life is a manifestation of the thoughts that go on in your head.” [p. 20]
But John 3:27 says, “A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven.”7. The Secret distorts the facts about Jesus.
The Secret says, “Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Jesus were not only prosperity teachers but also millionaires themselves, with more affluent lifestyles than many present-day millionaires could conceive of.” [p. 109]
But Jesus said of himself, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20).
8. The Secret distorts Jesus’ teaching regarding prayer.
“The Creative Process used in The Secret...was taken from the New Testament in the Bible.” [p. 47] And then she refers to Jesus’ words in Matthew 7. Perhaps you’ll recall Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:7-8. There Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.”
Rhonda Byrne hijacks this passage from its context and says that this passage teaches that anyone can tell (or ask) the universe for what they want (a new house, a new job, a skinny body), then if they believe and “feel” that it is theirs, they will receive it.
But she totally ignores the context of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus spoke these words to His disciples not the world at large. And He told His disciples that they were to ask (not demand from) the Father (not the Universe) for what they need (see Matthew 7:11). 9. The Secret replaces the Bible with itself as the true source of guidance and wisdom.
Byrne writes: “If you are seeking an answer or guidance on something in your life, ask the question, believe you will receive, and then open this book randomly. At the exact place where the pages fall open will be the guidance and answer you are seeking.” [p. 172]
Although the Bible doesn’t talk of itself as a lucky book, it does say of itself that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in right living so that people can be fully equipped” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 10. The Secret doesn’t work.
In the final analysis, the promise the book makes ‘that we can have whatever we want’ is totally out of touch with reality. We’re all going to die, and bad things are going to happen that are beyond our control. Welcome to the world we live in.
Interestingly, large parts of the Christian church around the world have embraced a heretical 'name-it-and-claim-it, health-wealth-and-prosperity' teaching that, by faith, you can have whatever you want. This is the Christianized version of The Secret. These church groups succeed in attracting large groups of people with this promise. But sadly these people eventually walk away disappointed. Rather than thinking that every bad situation can be undone by the power of our thought we can take comfort in Jesus’ words: “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world”.