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 The book The Secret and the movie by the same name have recently been gaining a lot of attention, especially due to the coverage received on the Oprah Winfrey Show. On the page devoted to The Secret at Oprah.com, a caption under a promotional video reads, “It’s making headlines around the world—and buzz just keeps building. Some say it’s the secret to creating the life you truly want—losing weight, making money, finding love. See why people everywhere are talking about The Secret.” And in the promotional video itself, one can hear Oprah say, “For years on this show this is what I’ve been trying to do.” And at another web page at the site entitled, “The Secret is Out: a Huge Reaction,” the following description of The Secret and the reaction to it on the Oprah Winfrey Show may be found:

On February 8, 2007, millions tuned in to The Oprah Winfrey Show to learn the mystery of The Secret. Since the show aired, our message boards have been buzzing with people who want to know more. The Secret is defined as the law of attraction, which states that like attracts like. The concept says that the energy you put into the world—both good and bad—is exactly what comes back to you. This means you create the circumstances of your life with the choices you make every day.

To help answer your burning questions, two teachers of The Secret, James Arthur Ray and the Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith, are back. Michael says he thinks The Secret is alluring because it helps people stop feeling like victims. “I think us talking about the law of attraction, talking about these universal spiritual principles, allows them to see that they can begin to govern their thoughts and their way of life,” he says.

In addition to this description, there are a number of segments devoted to The Secret at Oprah.com. But one can also go to the website of The Secret, click on “Learn About The Secret,” and watch about 25 minutes of the movie. After having done so, what I discovered is that The Secret is really no secret at all; it is just another rehashed version of the old “power of positive thinking” nonsense. It is designed to teach “the secret” to getting whatever you want, which they call the “law of attraction.” This law is that you attract—and thus cause to happen in your life— whatever you can consistently think, whether good or bad. It teaches that a person’s life is a physical manifestation of what they think. The movie acknowledges that it is very hard to control our thoughts, however, but it offers as a solution our feelings as the best monitor of our thinking. Basically, if we feel good, we are thinking the right way, and if we feel bad we are thinking wrongly. It also tries to tie the law of attraction into quantum physics and to make it sound scientific. But, of course, there is nothing new or scientific about it. It is just another warmed-over version of the same old lie.
Actually, it looks like the latest New Age fad to me, and it appears to be focused entirely upon how best to make ourselves feel good by giving us our most selfish desires. It appeals to the lust of the flesh and directs us to look inward for the source of happiness. But as Christians we know the danger of looking inward to ourselves for happiness. We remember and believe the warning of Jeremiah that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (17:9). We know the danger of self-deception that lurks within us and leads us away from the true source of happiness, which is found in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is found not by seeking the answer from within, but by looking outside ourselves to God.

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