The Power of the Heart: ‘The Secret’ Revisited

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? – Jeremiah 17:9

The participants in a new project called The Power of the Heart would recoil at Jeremiah’s admonition.  Indeed, it is their contention that the heart is our primary beacon and barometer.  It is our guide through life, and our source of all truth.  In the words of Maya Angelou, from the trailer for the film The Power of the Heart , “The heart, is the only thing you can trust.”

http://coolbars.com/history-homework-essays/Baptist de Pape is a lawyer turned filmmaker, who apparently set out upon a journey around the globe to “investigate the incredible power of the heart and how it can lead us to our true purpose in life.”

That quest led him to interviewing 18 prominent global thinkers and leaders who led the young author to the conclusion that you can “activate the heart’s special powers.”  Of course, the book’s description puts that familiar emphasis on “money, health, relationships, and success.”

Because a book was not enough for a movement such as this, Baptist de Pape teamed up with the creators of “The Secret”, to create a multimedia experience for the audience.  It is being touted already as an “International Phenomenon”… which if The Secret is any indication, it may well be.

Because the book and film have not yet been released, I will issue here the disclaimer that I’ve neither read the book nor seen the film, and yet I’m confident I can tell you exactly what it is about.

The list of primary contributors reads almost like a Who’s Who of New Age pantheism.  Here are just a few:

Deepak Chopra:  We probably all know about Deepak  “Jesus intended to save the world by showing others the path to God-consciousness.” Chopra.  (quote taken from an excerpt of his book http://onlinesverige.se/.)  One of the most prominent voices in the pantheistic New Age realm today, Chopra often takes aim squarely at Christianity at large, and Jesus specifically.  I found a wonderful list compiled by 100 free online local dating sites, which draws from the work of evangelical apologist and philosopher Dr. Douglas Groothuis, author of many books including Jesus in an Age of Controversy.  Groothuis highlights several traits that always crop up in the New Age Jesus literature, and Olson expertly shows how Chopra adheres to every item on the list.  I’m including it here because these are repeated themes that you’ll find in every single teacher, preacher, guru of the New Age.  The list is as follows:

  • Jesus is a spiritually advanced being who provides an example for us to achieve our own “spiritual evolution.” He is often compared to, or paired with, Buddha. Thus, Chopra insists, “the Christian seeker who wants to reach God is no different from the Buddhist. Both are directed into their own consciousness” (Third Jesus, 87).
  • The historical Jesus is distinct from the universal and impersonal “Christ consciousness” or “God-consciousness,” which he embodies but does not monopolize. Orthodox Christian understandings of Jesus are considered narrow-minded, provincial, and limiting. Or, in Chopra’s words: “Clearly Jesus did not have a provincial view of himself. Although a Jew and a rabbi (or teacher), he saw himself in universal terms” (Third Jesus, 20).
  • Jesus death on the cross and his Resurrection are of little or no importance. Thus, a significant part of the Gospels (roughly a quarter of those texts) is simply ignored or dismissed as unimportant.
  • Jesus’ Second Coming is not a literal, visible event at the end of the age, but a stage in the evolutionary advancement of humanity. As Chopra states, “the Second Coming will be a shift in consciousness that renews human nature by raising it to the level of the divine” (Third Jesus, 40).
  • Extra-biblical documents, especially Gnostic texts, are used and regarded as authentic sources for the life of Jesus. Meanwhile, the Gospels are quoted selectively and often “corrected” by other sources. “Other documents may be as old as the four Gospels,” Chopra writes, “and therefore make their own claim to authenticity” (Third Jesus, 133).
  • Bible passages are given esoteric interpretations that contradict orthodox understandings, as well as historical facts. Chopra especially enjoys reinterpreting texts about “light,” ignoring (as in the Gospel of John) the context of the Feast of Lights, and the connection being made in John’s Gospel to the Shekinah glory of God.

Paulo Coelho:  Coelho is an internationally best selling author, most famous for his book The Alchemist.  On the surface, this book is a lovely portrayal of the triumph of the human spirit.  It even has allusions to God, and many Christians have unfortunately fallen into the trap of thinking The Alchemist is a book that compliments their beliefs. Nope.  Coelho is famous for quotes like “to realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation” and openly says that Christianity is dangerous in its truth claims.  I have read The Alchemist cover to cover.  It uses language that tugs at your heart (fitting), but it is the same old “All is One”, find your own inner divinity stuff that we find time and time again from this crowd.  On page 152 of The Alchemist, Coelho writes, “The boy reached through to the Soul of the World, and saw that it was a part of the Soul of God. And he saw that the Soul of God was his own soul”.  Same old story. I am god, you are god, god is the universe, I am the universe, we are the world etc etc.

Gary Zukav: Zukav is the grand poobah of this New Age niche.  He is Oprah’s favorite person and has appeared on her show more than any other guest.  Gary coined terms like “living intentionally” (sound familiar Rick Warren fans?) and “authentic power”.  He’s a motivational speaker with an agenda.  In his works like The Seat of the Soul, Zukav sets forth his belief that human beings are spiritual beings on a journey of evolution to godhood.  He believes that if we look outside of ourselves for answers (aka: religion), it is “counter-productive to our evolution and produces only violence and destruction.”  He believes that our ultimate goal is the “Universal Human”, one who transcends the flesh, manifests great signs and wonders, and is “beyond nation, religion, race, sex, and economic status; a Citizen of the Universe whose allegiance is to Life first and all else second”.

Eckhart Tolle: If Zukav is the grand poobah, then Eckhart Tolle is the impish Dr. Feelgood of neo-pantheists.  He is author of A New Earth and The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. He was also introduced to the world by Ms. Oprah Winfrey.  Tolle is responsible for gems like:

Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.

Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.

What fascinates me again is how many Christians keep copies of A New Earth in their homes. There’s a really great article on Tolle’s own website, which states clearly, “In Tolle’s world, Jesus is not central. However, he is a beloved teacher, who does it perfectly right himself. “Redemption,” as we understand it, is not necessary beyond letting go of our own fears, negativity, and oppositional energy.”  The article from which this quote was lifted is actually meant to be an apologetic for why Christians shouldn’t shy away from Tolle’s work, but actually ends up laying out the primary reasons why Tolle’s philosophy is dangerous.

*****

It appears to me that The Power of the Heart is another way to cash in on the success of The Secret.  I won’t rehash my views about The Secret here, but I covered the topic at length in this article, which I’d recommend that you check out: Law of Attraction: A New Age Practice in the Modern Christian Church  I doubt that this new book and film will say anything dramatically different that what was revealed in The Secret, What the Bleep do We Know?, or Discover the Gift.

I earnestly pray for these people.  I’m sure that for most of them, their aim is to better themselves and to help others in their growth. Remember, I was once an adherent to these same principles.  I believed that the human heart was something magnificently flawless.. that it would never lead me astray.  But the reality is that, in its natural state, the heart cannot be trusted.  The natural man’s heart seeks after its own lusts and is treacherous.. even cruel.  Only through the grace of God when we turn our hearts over to Him, can our hearts be renewed.   Only God can search our hearts for the truth contained within. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12


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