Monday, July 28, 2008

Truth found in New Age Literature: Peace is the End of the Ego

I have been busy "producing" the last four months, seeking to start new ministries. So alas, my reading level is down. One book that i am working through right now, however, is Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. Tolle is Oprah Winfrey's New Age spiritual guide. His work is classic New Age. We are all a part of the divine. Knowledge of a greater awareness, the awareness that we are part of this divine and that this world is but an illusion, is the pathway to salvation. He also contains many Buddhist themes of suffering as the pathway to enlightenment. Much of this is just recycled gnosticism.

But just as Paul found truth in the Athenians' pagan poets on Mars Hill, so we seek to find truth in popular culture wherever possible.

"The ego says: Maybe at some point in the future, i can be at peace--if this, that, or the other happens, so I obtain this or become that. Or it says: I can never be at peace because of something that happened in the past. Listen to people's stories and they could all be entitle: 'Why I Cannot Be at Peace Now.' . . . Peace, after all, is the end of the ego."

Tolle, despite much untruth, has stumbled onto something here. We are often unhappy because we are self-seeking. Because we concentrate upon what we want and do not get. We do often say, i'll be at peace when . . .

Paul said, "12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength" (Phil. 4:12-13).

Paul crucified the self and placed his centeredness in Christ. This is the great "secret" to peace. Not wanting anything but Christ. When he is our center, then peace is always found.

This is the role of missionaries (all of us today). To find truth wherever it is, and to show others Christ. Clearly, there is a lack of peace in people's lives, and the gospel has a message for this unrest.

Others themes that can be used to point towards biblical truth in Tolle's largely untruthful book:
  • Suffering can bring about life change and greater awareness of larger truths.
  • We can control our thoughts and not be enslaved by negative self-talk.
  • The ego is the root of a lot of problems, including greed, selfishnes, and tearing down of others.
  • Truth is more than mere thought.
  • Self-denial is a good thing.

Have you read Tolle's book or others like it? How can we best use and sort our truth from untruth?

2 comments:

jeremy said...

Dr. Brad Harrub mentioned "the cult of Oprah" and this book specifically Sunday morning at the Tahoe Family Encampment. I haven't read it tho. I would imagine that even books filled with untruth might include a pinch of truth.

James said...

Jeremy,

We need to at least know what is going on in the world, so it is good for you've heard about this.