We’ve all seen it. Whether it’s Oprah’s favored version (“The Secret”) or another dusty incarnation of the past (“The Power of Positive Thinking”), the “law of attraction” has been around for longer than it’s probably been written about.
Essentially, it’s a false belief that stems from the New Thought movement of the 19th century. It teaches that what you think about or envision is what you eventually receive or become. For example, if I want $1,000,000 in cash, I need only think about it. Eventually, by constantly ruminating on that thought or “dream,” I will receive what I want (presumably by acting on those thoughts).
I’ll make myself very clear: the “law of attraction” and similar New Thought teachings are poison and should be not only avoided, but also repudiated.
I say this from several standpoints, but since Christianity guides everything I do and say, I’ll bolster my claim mostly – if not totally – from that perspective.
Here are several reasons why New Thought teachings like “the law of attraction” should be avoided and corrected.
It Belittles God
Firstly, New Thought beliefs are theologically wrong, because they take the job of creating and blessing out of the hands of God. “The law of attraction” belittles our Creator and Master by teaching that we create our own destinies and are the masters of them. Furthermore, it attributes perceived successes to man and not God. The Bible directly contradicts this in numerous places. Just look at the following verse.
“But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which He swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” — Deuteronomy 8:18
Clearly, the Bible teaches that our very ability to “create” anything for ourselves or to amass wealth comes from above, not below. Wealth we have should be used for the glory of God’s kingdom – not for building our own.
It Puts Focus on Self
“The law of attraction,” at its very core, is selfish. It’s all about what any one person can achieve for themselves – even at the expense of others. With little to no emphasis on community or fellowship, it promises health and wealth for only the devotee. I remember reading through “The Power of Positive Thinking” by the late Norman Vincent Peale and becoming almost nauseated by the unabashed selfishness contained in it. Christians are not called to “shoot prayers” at other people to get them to like us. We’re called to send prayers to God to strengthen our relationship with Him.
It Distracts from Eternity
“The law of attraction” also has a serious perspective problem. It teaches that the world is our oyster – a thing to be reaped in the here and now with little to no regard for eternity. The Bible teaches that this world is not our home and that our treasure is being stored up in Heaven. Not here! This world, from a Christian perspective, was never meant to be made perfect until God decides it. And even then, the focal point will be the presence of God, not wealth or material possessions. Thinking from a worldly and not an eternal perspective sets the human up for serious problems – maybe not for now, but certainly for later.
It is Based in Mysticism
Mysticism is basically the belief that there’s something or someone – perhaps the “universe” or some other ethereal force – that causes things to happen that we can’t intellectually explain. It’s a philosophical cop out. The mystic believes in things happening that are beyond the human brain’s ability to think about. This is a dangerous teaching, because it opens the door for a whole host of other teachings to come in. For instance, if I can’t explain anything, who’s to say anyone’s wrong about anything? It borders on the absurd and nihilistic. To be clear, there are certainly things in Christianity the human mind cannot comprehend, but plenty we can apprehend. In other words, God ordered the actual universe. He is not chaotic.
It Births Other False Teachings
At the root of “the law of attraction” and New Thought is the idea that our purpose is happiness and we have the power to create that happiness. There are few thoughts more dangerous! How many aberrant teachings, “gospels,” and denominations have sprouted up out this shaky ground? Likely too many to count. There are crooked televangelists, prosperity peddlers, and the Oprahs of the world, to name a few. These swindlers usually teach a form of the same thing – that’s it all about YOU – and they do so almost always for the same reason – to make money. Don’t fall for it.
Read the Real Law
In closing, do yourself a favor. Gather up your copies of the works of Rhonda Byrne and Norman Vincent Peale and the like and throw them in the garbage.
Then start reading your Bible.