Blogs by Philip F Harris
The Roman Circus and The Secret
6/27/2007 10:36:02 AM
What is more dangerous, religion or The Secret?
The recent AP story concerning the book and the movie, “The Secret” is humorous at best and disturbing at worst. The following are a few highlights from the story reported by CNN News:
“CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- While "The Secret" has become a pop culture phenomenon, it also has drawn critics who are not quiet about labeling the movement a fad, embarrassingly materialistic or the latest example of an American propensity of wanting something for nothing.
Some medical professionals suggest it could even lead to a blame-the-victim mentality and actually be dangerous to those suffering from serious illness or mental disorders.
"It's a triumph of marketing and magic," said John Norcross, a psychologist and professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania…" 'The Secret' has earned my antipathy for its outrageous, unproven assertions that I believe go beyond the ordinary overpromises of most self-help books into a danger realm," he said.
The book's mantra of "ask, believe, receive," he said, easily transforms into a blame the victim mentality.
"Cancer victims. Sexual assault victims. Holocaust victims. They're responsible?" Norcross said. "The book is riddled with these destructive falsehoods."
"The law of attraction says that like attracts like, and when you think and feel what you want to attract on the inside, the law will use people, circumstances and events to magnetize what you want to you, and magnetize you to it," Byrne said in an e-mail in response to several questions posed by The Associated Press.
… the fear that "The Secret" will lead to a blame-the-victim mentality is a serious claim of critics.
Psychotherapist and lifestyle coach Stacy Kaiser said that after reading "The Secret," several patients have worried that it was their fault they were abused, or laid off from their jobs. Others seem to expect everything in their lives to change overnight, she said.”
While there were some positive comments about “The Secret” in the article the overall tone was that people are being scammed. The use of such words as “dangerous, blame and outrageous” are used by those who have no real understanding of spiritual thought and I cannot help but wonder if they actually read the book. Is the book and movie perfect in their presentation? No. Are the claims dangerous? No
Let’s postulate another scenario which few claim is dangerous or outrageous. A group come along and says that there is only one god and they have the inside track on the intentions and so called desires of that god. They say that if you do not worship their god, IT will condemn you forever in a fiery inferno. If you do worship this god and give it a lot of money and build temples for worship, it will forgive you your sins. Even though this god made you and is all knowing it has condemned you from the start and only proper worship and duty will save you-well, some of you-144,000 to be exact. This god loves you but says that you must live a life that does not include material wealth, which you should give to its temples. And, if you are really good, some of you will get to be happy forever, when you die. Oh, to test your loyalty, this god has created all kinds of demons and monsters that will tempt ant taunt you. Although it has also created some good spirits that will send you messages every now and then but, in the end, even they will unleash plague, pestilence, war and untold suffering. Basically, if you want to be rewarded when you die: lead a good life, obey all of the rules, live a life of misery, kill those who do not believe and maybe, you will be saved.
If you want to talk about creating a victim mentality it seems that most religions have already done that. You are born a sinner, you are entitled to a life of misery, you are worthless (but loved), and you are probably going to hell. And you wonder why our society is riddled with disease and the world is forever at war. Most established institutions always have a negative and even violent reaction when something threatens their established dogma. Books like “The Secret” offer a good life in the here and now and yet as a result of this idea, they must be based upon selfish, materialistic concepts? Such claims show a total lack of understanding regarding humanity’s evolution and the dangers and threats posed by those organizations that are more concerned about their own survival and the status quo. The good thing is that all of these uninformed remarks only make the new ideas more popular. Remember what the Roman circus did for Christianity?
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