Oprah and Eckhart Do the New Age Shift

The Great Heretical Idea: Oprah and Eckhart Do the New Age Shift

by Warren Smith

Part 1 (See Part II, Part III, Part IV)

“Get ready to be awakened.”[1] – Oprah

“The twenty-first century will be the time of awakening, of meeting The Creator Within. Many beings will experience Oneness with God and with all of life. This will be the beginning of the golden age of the New Human, of which it has been written; the time of the universal human, which has been eloquently described by those with deep insight among you.

“There are many such people in the world now – teachers and messengers, Masters and visionaries – who are placing this vision before humankind and offering tools with which to create it. These messengers and visionaries are the heralds of a New Age.”[2] –”God” Neale Donald Walsch, Friendship With God

“…[T]his book itself is a transformational device that has come out of the arising new consciousness. The ideas and concepts presented here may be important, but they are secondary. They are no more than signposts pointing toward awakening. As you read, a shift takes place within you.”

“This book’s main purpose is not to add new information or beliefs to your mind or to try to convince you of anything, but to bring about a shift in consciousness, that is to say, to awaken…. It will change your state of consciousness or it will be meaningless. It can only awaken those who are ready. Not everyone is ready yet, but many are, and with each person who awakens, the momentum in the collective consciousness grows, and it becomes easier for others.”[3] – Eckhart Tolle, The New Earth

“Don’t get attached to any one word. You can substitute ‘Christ’ for presence, if that is more meaningful to you. Christ is your God-essence or the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence.”[4] – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

I stared at the huge stack of books in the Barnes & Noble bookstore. The title of the book was A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life Purpose. The title sounded like a new book by Purpose-Driven pastor Rick Warren, but it was actually the latest selection in Oprah’s Book Club. A colorful orange and blue paper band around the book invited the reader to”Join Oprah and Eckhart for a worldwide web event… Every Monday night beginning March 3, 2008 for 10 weeks… Register at Oprah.com/anewearth.” A personal message from Oprah stated: “Get ready to be awakened.”

It was clear to me that Oprah was no longer content to just popularize New Age beliefs, she would now teach them. This was a bold move by a woman who was obviously willing to do everything in her power – which is considerable – to convert the world to her New Age worldview.

The Shift

With friend and New Age author Marianne Williamson simultaneously teaching A Course in Miracles daily on Oprah & Friends XM Satellite Radio, Oprah now offers two very public New Age classes. These classes are teaching millions of people that the way to save themselves and the planet is not by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but rather by accepting”the Christ within.” For someone who probably has an aversion to traditional proselytizing, Oprah is giving new meaning to the word”proselytize” as she continues to push her New Age beliefs upon the world. But, in defense of her role as a New Age proselytizer, Oprah would probably be the first to tell you – it’s all for the good of the world. She would also probably argue that what she is teaching is not New Age, but a”New Spirituality.” Curiously, that just happens to be the same term that some emerging church leaders like Brian McLaren are using as they introduce New Age ideas and language into the church.[5]

Oprah can call her New Age teachings whatever she wants, but she and her ever-growing band of New Age colleagues are still teaching that”we are all one” because we are all”God” and”Christ.” As Marianne Williamson writes,”We are all one, we are love itself. ‘Accepting the Christ’ is merely a shift in self-perception.”[6]

The”shift” Williamson, Oprah and Tolle describe is”awakening” to the”Christ within” and the”God within.””Shift” is the key word. It means to move from one position to another – as in shifting one’s awareness away from the mind and”ego” to the collective “Christ consciousness” or”Christ within.” And, as in shifting your belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to a New Age belief in the”Christ within.” With her New Age classrooms on satellite radio, and now on the Internet, Oprah apparently feels an urgency to teach everyone how to”awaken” and make this”shift” to the”Christ” within. With her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) kicking in next year we can expect to see her New Age views showcased on an even grander scale.

In her first class with Eckhart Tolle, Oprah asked if people had experienced the”shift” while reading Tolle’s book, A New Earth. The question reminded me of Werner Erhard’s New Age EST program in the 1970s that taught this same idea of shifting one’s perception, and then similarly asking – “Did you get IT?” Obviously, there is pressure to”get IT” – to feel the shift: Oprah felt the shift – did you? Are you understanding this new [age] way of looking at yourself and the world? Or, are you being blocked by your mind and your ego from seeing this New Spirituality that can save our planet? Keep logging onto our classes. Keep reading Tolle’s book – you’ll ‘get it.’

Years earlier, when launching the New Age movement publicly with her book The Aquarian Conspiracy, Marilyn Ferguson introduced this concept of the”shift,” connecting it to the mystical ideas of Teilhard de Chardin – the father of the New Age movement –”whose new perspective would trigger a critical contagion of change” which would result in the”rapid transformation of the human species, beginning with a vanguard” of emerging leaders. She explained how scientist-philosopher Thomas Kuhn coined the term”paradigm shift” to describe”a distinctly new way of thinking” which entailed accepting new truths. When”the new paradigm gains ascendance” and”a critical number of thinkers has accepted the new idea, a collective paradigm shift has occurred.” Ferguson said the”shift” would result in a”new knowing” of the occult world called an”awakening” of”deep inner shifts.”[7]

Evolve or Die

Tolle’s book A New Earth – like A Course in Miracles and other New Age teachings – exploits the idea that the world is at a crisis point and insists that we must”spiritually evolve” as a species to avoid personal and planetary disaster. According to New Age leaders like Tolle, spiritually evolving means”shifting” or converting to the heretical belief that we are all”God” and that we are all “Christ.”

In both his book and his class with Oprah, Tolle reiterated the words that New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard was given by her New Age”Christ” –”evolve or die.”[8] In other words, don’t feel any pressure, but if you don’t”shift” your point of view, and”get it” that”we are all one” and that”we are all God,” our planet will probably be destroyed and our human species will become extinct.

Tolle and Oprah stayed away from the harsher aspects of this”evolve or die” dictate in that first Internet class. Hubbard, however, has made it clear that in the future, those who refuse to make the”shift” by seeing themselves as”God” will be eliminated by something called”the selection process.”[9] Hubbard, who is highly respected by her New Age colleagues, claims that her”Christ” has laid out an Armageddon alternative peace plan to save the planet. This peace plan is predicated on accepting the”shift” in consciousness that Oprah and Tolle (and other New Age leaders) are teaching – the”shift” to the Christ within.

Hubbard’s New Age view of the future inspired her to be one of the co-founders of the World Future Society and she is currently listed as a member of its Global Advisory Council.[10] Emergent leader at the”vanguard” of church”transformation,” Brian McLaren, has also written about an Armageddon alternative [11] and just happens to be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming World Future Society’s annual gathering.

Surprised by the Truth

In describing their New Age/New Spirituality”shift” and the necessity for everyone to spiritually evolve, Eckhart Tolle erroneously states that once you”awaken” to your Christ-consciousness and your own godhood, the shift is”irreversible.”[12] What he neglects to take into account is that there are large numbers of us who formerly made the”shift” to these New Age beliefs only to discover – by the grace of God – that we had been greatly deceived by these New Age teachings. The Bible proved itself to be true as it exposed the New Age/New Spirituality for what it was – a lie. It was very humbling for us to realize that the Bible was true after all, and our New Age beliefs were wrong. God was God and we were not. Jesus was the one and only Christ. There was no universal”Christ-consciousness” or”Christ within.” We were amazed to discover that there really was a deceptive spirit world and an actual devil; that we really were sinners that needed to be saved by Jesus Christ. What we came to understand was that the whole New Age plan to save the world was part of the very deception that Jesus warned would come at the time of the end (Matthew 24). We were stunned by the truth of the Bible and shocked at our own gullibility to have believed that we were”God” and”Christ.” We had been very sincere about our New Age beliefs, but we were sincerely wrong – as are Oprah and Tolle.

The New Age paradigm”shift” is a deceptive device that is being cleverly used by a very real spiritual Adversary who is out to deceive the world. One of the definitions of”shift” in Webster’s Dictionary is”a deceitful scheme or method; a trick.”[13] The New Age/New Spirituality”shift” advocated by Oprah and Tolle is such a”shift.” It is, in every sense of the word, diabolically”shifty.”

(See Part II, Part III, Part IV)

Endnotes:
1. Eckhart Tolle, The New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (New York: Plume, 2005), paper band encircling book.
2. Neale Donald Walsch, Friendship with God: an uncommon dialogue (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1999), p. 295-6.
3. Tolle, The New Earth, p. 6-7.
4. Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (Novato, CA: Namaste, 1999), p. 104.
5. Brian McLaren, quote cited in Faith Undone by Roger Oakland (Silverton, OR: Lighthouse Trails, 2007), p. 11.
6. Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996), p. 32.
7. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, 1980), pp. 25-32.
8. Tolle, A New Earth, p. 21. Barbara Marx Hubbard lecture at Texas A & M University, September 11, 2002, information taken from The Aggie Daily, September 12, 2002. Warren Smith, Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel (Ravenna, OH: Conscience Press, 2002), pp. 16, 19.
9. Smith, Ibid.
10.”WorldFuture 2008: Seeing the Future Through New Eyes,” World Future Society conference brochure, http://www.wfs.org/March
April08/WF2008_preliminary.pdf

11. Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything (Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group, 2006), p. 175.
12. Tolle, The New Earth, p. 7.
13. Websters New World Dictionary (New York: Websters New World Dictionaries, 1988).

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Follower of Jesus, married with 5 grown up children, 6 grand children, ex-military and residing in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. "Papa"

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Posted in Christian, Eckhart Tolle, New Age, Oprah
2 comments on “Oprah and Eckhart Do the New Age Shift
  1. Peter says:

    I am not very fond of either Oprah or Ekhart Tolle or New Age spirituality, but not quite for the same reasons as you. It seems that you have some disagreements on a theological level not with the whole of Tolle’s message, but specifically with his treatment of Christ (I have seen a lot of this on the web). So my question is, if Oprah were pushing, say, Islam, Hinduism, Zen Buddhism or Judaism with as much fervor and success, doctrines which did not touch at all upon Christ, would there still be the same level of Christian disapproval, worry and chatter in the blogosphere?

    Also, I know that many Christians are trying to pin this movement down as the work of the Devil, but I think there are very different intentions behind it. In the way that Europe wants to be one (and has made massive steps in achieving this, more so than any other group of nations on earth) the world will eventually want to be one. This can never really happen so long as types of religions are at such variance (which means values and also legislation will be at variance, which is not working too well in Malaysia). I would guess that your remedy would be universal Christendom. However you and I know that would never happen. But what it seems to me Tolle and others are attempting is to discover a method to synthesize traditions and dissolve doctrinal conflict, by showing how the experience of spirituality in all religions is at bottom the same. After all, Christianity is not the only religion treated in his books (although I have yet to see other religions complain as much as the Christians). You might disagree that this is Tolle’s project, but assuming it is, what is your opinion, or your answer to the problem?

  2. Bruce says:

    Hi Peter, thank you for your comment. Good questions.

    First question: “if Oprah were pushing, say, Islam, Hinduism, Zen Buddhism or Judaism with as much fervor and success, doctrines which did not touch at all upon Christ, would there still be the same level of Christian disapproval, worry and chatter in the blogosphere?”

    From the masses within the Christian community, probably not, from myself personally, yes.
    The Muslim faith, as you are probably aware, is expanding rapidly. I have read the Koran and that along is troubling, but when those who profess Christian faith respond to this “New Age Thinking” as we have witnessed in these last few months, it is even more troubling.

    Second question: “But what it seems to me Tolle and others are attempting is to discover a method to synthesize traditions and dissolve doctrinal conflict, by showing how the experience of spirituality in all religions is at bottom the same. After all, Christianity is not the only religion treated in his books (although I have yet to see other religions complain as much as the Christians). You might disagree that this is Tolle’s project, but assuming it is, what is your opinion, or your answer to the problem?

    My opinion would be that basically I agree with what you see as the putting in place of a method whereby a global “religion” becomes acceptable to the masses. There is much more activity taking place that is working towards this goal than meets the eye. I won’t go into all the various movements here but I will include a link that gives an eye opening view of what is taking place at the end of this comment.

    That is a good question. Obviously what is taking place is big and from my Christian perspective, which takes into consideration the words of my Lord Jesus Christ and the forth telling of the Christian scriptures that pertain to the time we are now moving towards, what I am seeing should not take the Christian Church by surprise. I believe we are moving towards a world order, I believe there will of necessity be a falling away of “Christian believers” to the new one world religion but I also believe that the anticipated end state will not manifest itself as expected, because the will and reality of God, as manifested within the traditional Christian scriptures, has not, by the world, i.e. the masses, been taken into account. In other words, I believe that God’s end state or purpose will happen. Will my thinking be in the minority, I am pretty sure, as time goes by, that it will. What I am seeing fits with what the scriptures tell me will happen. Can I change it, short answer, no I don’t think I can. But I will witness to those within and without as moved by God’s Spirit. Fortunately my Christian walk has not left me with just a theology to profess belief in. My walk or journey over the years has introduced and strengthened a personal relationship with my Creator that had demonstrated and given me confidence in His wisdom, His love, His purpose and Justice. In the end, I cannot answer for anyone else, I can only answer for me. In the end, I think that is all that any of us can do. I hope that I have answered your question Peter, and thank you once again for taking the time to comment. May God bless you and yours according to His purpose.

    P.S. Here is that link I mentioned earlier….

    http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/08/new-spirituality.htm

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