Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

"A New Earth", Oprah's Latest Book Club Selection

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A Biblical Perspective

I. Introduction

  • TV talk show host, Oprah Winfrey announced that, beginning March 3rd, she will be offering a free 10-week interactive webinar based on the book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by author Eckhart Tolle. In the following pages, we will discuss and biblically refute the major messages of this book.

  • Book Thesis:
    • An essential aspect of humanity's awakening consists in transcending our ego-based state of consciousness. In other words, it is the modification of our "consciousness" that is key to our salvation, not Christ and our problems are due to incorrect perceptions, not sin.
  • This is nothing more than Ancient Eastern Mysticism wrapped in modern Western attire, also known as "New Age Spirituality"

II. Core Messages of the Book

  • Humans resulted from an immaterial life force.
  • Humans have the potential to become aware of our oneness with the universal life force.
  • The purpose of all mankind is to become aware that their "being" is an expression of the One Life Force.
  • The majority of people are unconscious and unaware of the source of their being. Humans have an illusory self image (ego) which is conditioned by the past, always wanting and never satisfied.
  • Our ego and our pain-body (old emotional pain) are actively trying to keep us away from true awareness of our true Beingness.
  • This lack of awareness of our true essence has the world and the human race on the brink of extinction.
  • To prevent extinction we ought to move from an unconscious state to consciousness.
  • In order to become conscious, we must learn to accept to be present in the "now". If we do so a new world order would emerge; that is, "a new earth".

III. Why is It so Popular?

  • Tolerance Mentality
    • The world around us is advocating that it is hateful and intolerant to believe that Christianity is true and other religions are false.

      According to this viewpoint, the loving Christian should accept the validity of all religious belief systems and traditions.

  • Oprah's Endorsement
    • Oprah Winfrey is promoting this book through her web seminar; calling it "the most exciting thing she has ever done".
    • During the first web seminar, she was asked how she could reconcile it with her Christian upbringing. Oprah responded saying:
      "I began to get out of the box of Biblical doctrine in my late 20's when my pastor was preaching on the characteristics of God. When he said that "The Lord, thy God is a jealous God", I decided that I wanted to believe in a God of love not a jealous God. I believe that Jesus came to show us Christ consciousness...Jesus came to say, "Look I'm going to live in the body, in the human body and I'm going to show you how it's done. Christianity....Well, I am a Christian who believes that there are certainly many more paths to God other than Christianity" (Oprah Winfrey, transcript of the first A New Earth web seminar dated March 3, 2008).

IV. Why is it Dangerous?

  • Half Truths
    • The book does contain some truths which may prove helpful in dealing with anxiety, anger and other issues people face.
      Example: our selfish egos introduce a lot of pain and suffering into this world. In addition, we may be filled with anxiety and discontent with our circumstances because our thoughts are preoccupied with past hurts and future fears.
  • Biblical References
    • As with many false prophets, they attempt to mix their satanic work with a false Christian flavors. Quotes from Jesus and others in the Bible are sprinkled throughout the book in an attempt to show this philosophy is consistent with "true Christianity". This book contains 25 Biblical quotations and references.

V. Examining the Messages

  • God
    • The Book's Perspective:
      • The being the Bible calls God is really an expression of an impersonal life force. Since everything is of God and is God, all material things must ultimately return to union with the spiritual life force.
    • Biblical Response
      • God is the creator of the universe not a part of the universe (Gen 1:1). God is a Triune Personal Being (1 John 5:7).
      • He reveals Himself to us through the work of His creation (Ps. 19:1), through the Scriptures (John 5:39) and ultimately through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-2).
  • Nature of Man
    • The Book's Perspective:
      • Humans are capable of being conscious of their Beingness; of their oneness with the One Life force.
      • We need to realize that we are not really a unique individual, but rather a material expression on the One Life force.
      • Our purpose for existence is to bring a consciousness of the underlying one Life into this world. "The ultimate purpose of human existence, which is to say, your purpose, is to bring that power into this world" (p. 78).
      • "The Truth is inseparable from who you are. Yes, you are the Truth. If you look for it elsewhere, you will be deceived every time. The very Being that you are is Truth" (p. 71).
      • The book claims that Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" in order to teach us that we are the Truth. Ignoring the fact that Jesus went on to say, "no one comes to the Father but through me."
    • Biblical Response
      • Humans are created by God in His image (Gen 1:26).
      • Our earthly bodies are temporary, but our spirit is immortal (Ecc 12:7). We are, in fact, individuals responsible for our actions with different eternal destinies determined by our relationship with God (John 5:29; Mt 7:21-23).
      • Christ said that if we lived according to His words we would "know the truth" not "be the truth" (John 8:31-32).
  • Sin and Evil
    • The Book's Perspective:
      • Sin is the disease which prevents people from recognizing the point of human existence. And since we are not our bodies or our thoughts, we are not responsible for our sins. He states: "There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness....People are not responsible for what they do when possessed by the pain-body (p. 163).
    • Biblical Response
      • The Bible teaches that due to sin, we have all inherited the corrupted nature. This knowledge of evil resulted in separation from God (Rom 3:23, 6:23).
  • Salvation
    • The Book's Perspective:
      • Tolle states: "You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing the goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental changes in your state of consciousness" (p. 13).
      • When our body dies, we cease to exist as an individual merging back into the universal life force.
      • Regardless of what we do or believe during our earthly existence we all have the same ultimate destiny.
    • Biblical Response
      • Man was created good and simple. However, with sin his nature became corrupt (Rom 7:15-24).
      • We are spiritually immortal (John 5:28-29). We will have spiritual existence in the afterlife. Our current relationship with Christ and our response to His will in our life will determine our destiny (John 5:24).
  • Jesus Christ
    • The Book's Perspective:
      • For Tolle, Jesus Christ was an enlightened human. He joined Buddha and a few others in trying to communicate this concept to people and societies.
      • Jesus Christ was no more God than any other human, what made him special is that he was aware that he was a part of the One Life Force which He identified as God.
    • Biblical Response
      • The Lord Jesus Christ said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
      • St. Peter, in speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ, said: "there is no salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
      • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).

VI. Conclusion

  • A New Earth is a classic depiction of what our culture is currently thriving on, that is New Age Spirituality.
  • These attacks on our Orthodox faith are not foreign to the Church. We, Christians, ought to expose these satanic devices (2 Cor 2:11) and resist them being steadfast and immovable in the faith (1 Cor 15:58).
  • In the words of St. Paul, "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" (Col 2:8).

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