Nineteen years ago today, my father went to be with the Lord. It seems like only yesterday. . . .Here's a bit of insight from Walter Martin:I once had a friend who was the most gifted philosophy student at New York University. He scored in the upper one percentile of all philosophy students in the United States—an inconceivably brilliant mind. He used to needle me ruthlessly every chance he got because I was a Theist; I believed in God. We’d go at it time and time again.One night, we were sitting in the cafeteria drinking coffee. I hated coffee at the time, and I was only drinking it as a means of testifying to him. So I got a cup of coffee and a donut, and I sat there talking to him. I’ll never forget it, it’s as if it took place yesterday morning. His name was Kaye. We chatted back and forth for a couple of minutes, and he was needling me again. Finally, I said to him, “Kaye, tell me what you think of Jesus of Nazareth, honestly.”He said, “Jesus of Nazareth was an extraordinary human being. He had fantastic insights into the minds of men and into their motives. I’ve read the New Testament and I’m very impressed with the person of Jesus.” This, from a Jewish philosophy student! "Good!” I said, “Do you think Jesus was essentially a truthful person?”“Oh, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that at all,” he replied.“Would you say that Jesus was, perhaps, the greatest moralistic teacher you’ve ever read?”“Oh, I don’t think I’d doubt that for a minute, either. I’ve read all of them.”“I’m really glad to hear that,” I said, “Now if you were me, knowing you as I do: Hopping from bed to bed, boozing, swearing, telling dirty jokes, living just exactly the way you want to live; if you were me, would you listen to Jesus on the existence of God or you?”He looked at me for a minute, put his coffee cup down, and said, “If you put it that way, I think I’d listen to Jesus.”“There was never a moment of doubt,” I said.A few weeks later we were in class, arguing vigorously again with the Professor refereeing back and forth. All of a sudden Kaye spouts off, “Now just a minute!”I thought, Oh boy, now I’m going to get it! But this time he says, “Martin and I are poles apart. We know our differences of opinion here. But you know, he does have a valid argument. His valid argument is on the person of Jesus. I don’t hear anyone here saying they’re equal with Jesus. Anybody here think they are? No? Well, that’s Martin’s position—until you are, shut-up!”
Kaye and I became friends. We drank coffee regularly, and I gave it to him every chance I got. So you see, the Lord uses little things...even a cup of coffee.
As promised, here is an insightful article on Oprah Winfrey and her New Age beliefs. (Thanks, Frank!)
Questions that Bother Oprah and Today's New Age Thinkers
by Frank Pastore
I have a few questions—but they are not about whether Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle or Marianne Williamson are good, smart and nice people. I’m sure they are. My concern is about the ideas they hold—since good, smart, nice people can hold false beliefs and be wrong about all kinds of things. Sometimes, even the most important things.
I have questions about their worldview.
A worldview is made up of the answers we give to life’s most fundamental and profound questions. It includes the answers we give to questions of philosophy, religion, ethics and theology. And they are questions that have been asked and answered by every culture in world history.
When comparing and contrasting religions, worldview categories are the most basic level of inquiry.
If you know a person’s worldview, you know a whole lot about them. Oftentimes, you even know more about their thinking processes than they do.
Right now, Oprah is co-teaching an online class with author Eckhart Tolle, based upon her current Book of the Month, his “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.” And, Oprah’s promoting a daily radio show on her XM channel featuring Marianne Williamson teaching from “A Course in Miracles.”
Both Tolle and Williamson are New Age thinkers. Oprah says she’s a Christian—arguing that she can reconcile “her” Christianity with what they’re teaching. If she’s a Christian, she’s an ignorant one, because Christianity is incompatible with New Age thought.
Here’s how the two opposing worldviews, Christianity (C), and New Age (NA), answer some of the most basic worldview questions. The New Age answers are ones that would be commonly held, though certainly not universal, as the belief system is loose, eclectic and unique to each individual adherent.
1. Why is there something rather than nothing?
Christianity (C): God created the universe at the moment of the beginning of time, matter and space. Big Bang cosmology and all modern science affirms this.
New Age (NA): The universe is beginning-less, endless, eternal.
2. Does God exist?—and is He personal?
C: Yes, God is personal, and the Bible teaches God is three persons sharing one essence, what Christians refer to as the Trinity. More specifically, God is tri-personal.
NA: Yes and No. Yes, God is an impersonal force that exhaustively fills every atom of the eternal universe: All is God, God is all, God is all of us and God is each of us. No, there is no personal creator called God who is outside of time, matter and space.
3. Who am I?
C: A creation of God.
4. How did I get here?
C: God created man with moral freedom and invited him to join the presence of the Trinity. But man exercised his freedom in rebellion to God, and now only through the work of the incarnate God and second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, can that severed relationship be restored.
NA: Through the infinite process of karma. As God, you are eternal, and have been reincarnating from object to object for trillions of years, and when you ultimately achieve enlightenment, and remember that you are God, you will then lose your individual sense of self and consciousness and become One with the One. (Remember, there is no personal God. God is a force. You must return to being a force.)
5. Why am I here?
C: The Westminster Catechism answers this question beautifully: The chief end of man is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” I am called to make a decision with eternal consequences: either accept or reject God’s offer of salvation in Jesus Christ. I am also called to help others make a correct choice; to advance the true, the good, and the beautiful; to fight evil and injustice; to work with God at reconciling the world to Himself.
NA: To pay off previous karmic debt gathered over trillions of years.
6. What is the meaning of life?
C: To glorify God.
NA: To achieve enlightenment.
7. What is the true, the good, and the beautiful?
C: God—and his goodness can be seen through his creation.
NA: Since there is no distinction between creator and creation, there can be no distinctions between true-false, good-bad, right-wrong, ugly-beautiful, or pain-pleasure.
8. What is the best life?
C: A life in the full presence of God.
NA: The life immediately before enlightenment, since you will no longer exist as a person once you remember you are God.
9. Who is the best man?
C: Jesus Christ, the Man who never sinned.
NA: “Best” is a nonsensical moral category.
10. Why is there evil, pain, suffering, and injustice?
C: The Fall. Man exercised his freedom in rebellion to God and these are the consequences.
NA: People are paying off their karmic debt. As God, we are responsible for the reality we create for ourselves through our thinking and choices. If we are suffering, it is because we are choosing to suffer. If we think differently we can alter the external world and create our own reality.
11. Why do bad things happen to good people?
C: We live in a fallen world with moral freedom. Evil and sin exist. Men hurt themselves intentionally and accidentally. Our hope is only in God who is able to bring good out of evil.
Karma and reincarnation have all kinds of fatal logical problems. Who started karma and reincarnation and why? Who decides what behavior gets rewarded and what gets punished, especially since there are no moral categories? How can there be a “who” to all this when God is a “what,” an impersonal force like gravity? How can an impersonal force help you in your relationships, heal your hurts, illnesses and wounds, help with your addictions and bad habits, lead you to confront social evils, poverty, crime, corruption, broken families, broken hearts?
12. Will good or evil ultimately triumph?
C: The resurrection of Jesus proves that good ultimately triumphs over evil.
NA: These are only apparent moral categories, they don’t really exist.
13. Is there life after death?
C: Yes! In either heaven or hell. Our destination is based on our response to the person and work of Christ.
NA: Yes and No.
Yes, in that you may have trillions of more reincarnated bodies to inhabit as you pay off your karmic debt before reaching enlightenment. No, in that once you’re enlightened, you will cease to exist, since you will have remembered you’re really an impersonal force that New Age thinkers call “God.”
The New Age Movement is intellectually and spiritually bankrupt. But, it is making Tolle and Williamson—and especially Oprah—a whole bunch of money.
Originally published on Townhall.com: http://www.townhall.com/columnists/FrankPastore/2008/03/31/questions_that_bother_oprah_and_todays_new_age_thinkers
Check out a Townhall blog from a gifted writer, Ken (aka Playful Walrus). :) His topic is fascinating: The Fight for the Freedom to Discern Truth from Errorhttp://walrus.blogtownhall.com/2008/06/05/the_fight_for_the_freedom_to_discern_truth_from_error.thtmlI truly appreciate the support, Ken!
It has been a difficult two weeks between threats and publishing deadlines. That's right my friends (and associates), some people in prominent positions don't like our book. They believe they have the right to threaten us with a lawsuit if we dare publish what 100+ writers have already published worldwide. It seems they're not familiar with terms like free speech and fair use.Why are they so worried? Rumor has it that a few years back an in-house memo discussed targeting the Bible BeIt with a guru's book. Still, that's public knowledge now and hardly grounds for a cease and desist--except for the fact that our book will be talking directly to the Bible Belt and THAT is bad PR. Or maybe it's just that their history is rife with threats and intimidation, so this is simply more of the same?Who knows what lurks behind the doors of a multi-million dollar, non profit, mystical, magical sect that claims its beliefs can actually alter DNA? (Hmmm . . . I guess I know what lurks behind there.)If they have nothing to hide, why are they trying to silence their critics? I wish I could give you more details right now, but if you could keep us in your prayers, I would truly appreciate it. The Kingdom of the Occult is in danger of being censored, and we need God's intervention.To all those who have posted comments recently--thank you so much. I will try to answer in the next couple of days.