The Secret and Law of Attraction: Its problems

June 14, 2010

I was troubled seeing how many people really buy into what The Secret and Law of Attraction says. My amazement come because some of the people that was cited to support this are educated, but somehow they are unable to think critically and unable to see the many inconsistencies that exist.  Even worse, by doing a little bit of googling, people should be able to find out the problems of this law of attraction and their criticisms. And I personally believe that some logical thoughts would suffice.

The other problem which is very common but dangerous is that people cite the bible to show that such a law of attraction does exist.  The most famous of course is when Jesus said, if you asked then you will receive. The other one is when Jesus said if you have a faith as small as a mustard seed you will be able to move mountains.  My concern is two fold.  First, people take the word out of context to support their argument for the Law of Attraction.  This is not the way to read the bible.  Second, by taking the word simply to support our argument, we become the master of the Word of God, and not the other way around.  We should be the one who conform our thoughts to the Word of God.  He is the Master!

Now, to put things in perspective, The Secret is a self-improvement or self-help program.  It was started from a TV shows which then continued with a book with the same title.  The secret that they refer is the Law of Attraction.  Law of attraction basically says “Like attracts like”.  If you think positive, those positive will come to you.  Its main claim is on the power of believe or thinking that can affect situation, events, environment, etc.  Wikipedia lists three basic steps: Ask, believe, and receive.

Not scientifically sound:

Now many people claim that such law of attraction is true because they have experienced it as such.  The problem with this claim is that it is very similar to the claim of people who believe in superstition.  Human tends to collect positive data.  What I mean is that, we tend to see what we want to see.  So when things happens as we expect it, we will count it as evidence.  But the problem is that when things does not happen as it is, we ignore it.  And this is the thing, there is no statistical evidence to support law of attractions.  When the law of attraction fails, many people either ignore it or they blame the people for not doing it right. I personally believe that such behaviour is not scientifically sound, especially since they claim it is a “law”.  And to say that it is a law when like attracts like is such a no-sense.  In Physics negative charge attracts positive, and in society men are attracted to women. Well, I know, those people will try to explain what they mean by “like”, but never mind. For me it is obvious enough there is no such scientifically evidence for such a law.  If you don’t believe me, try and see whether majority scientists will believe in such laws.  Try to get some statistics 🙂

Now, is it possible that things change if we think positively? Yes it is possible. Because people will put more effort, they will have more confidence, etc.  But all this happens naturally and not because of the Law. We have to admit that there is a limit to our thinking power. We will never be able to change a can of coke to a living mouse no matter how hard we think or believe. There are natural laws to obey. Therefore, saying that what we need to do is simply to ask and believe does not make any sense.  There are other factors affecting our lives.

So for me, just as in any other new age thoughts, the Secret and the Law of attraction is offering a little bit of truth while at the same time offering lies.  It is not founded in science or any historical evidence.

Contradicting christian faith:

A nice article for a catholic point of view for the Secret and Law of attraction can be found at this link below:

Best-selling New Age ‘The Secret’ seen as offering only false happiness

http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=23402

The main problem is that this thinking makes us “like god”. We only need to wish and believe it.  It is as if we are the master, the ruler, the god. We are not God.  When will we learn to admit it?

Last Word:

Well, at least I have to say what I have to say. People will keep on reading and believing in such stories because they want to. And as long as there are people who buy this things, there will be people selling it. All New Age movements are not really new.  When we learn history, we will find such similar thoughts have been there in the past.  My only hope is that some will come to their senses.  Either through their reasonings, or their search for the truth, or through their faith 🙂

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Gift of Tongues during Pentecost

June 2, 2010

There has been some questions whether the apostles received the gift of tongues during Pentecost. Some people claimed that it is not gift of tongues, since Paul said that those who speaks in tongues cannot be understood, while what happened at Pentecost is that people can understand them.

I have no doubt Gift of Tongues appeared on the first Pentecost day in Acts 2. Let me first give the references, and the logic behind these scholars.

Catholic Bible Dictionary, editor Scott Hahn:

TONGUES, GIFT OF A spiritual or charismatic gift that enables a believer to speak to God in a language other than his own. Tongues first appeared as a manifestation of the Spirit on the first Pentecost, when the apostles began preaching the Gospel in a variety of different languages and dialects (Acts 2:4-11). Thereafter in Acts the gift of tongues is always associated with the descent of the Holy Spirit on those who came to believe (Acts 10:44-46;19:6). In this context, speaking in tongues is a sign that the Christian message is a universal message to be preached to all nations (Mark 16:15-17).[…]

Notice that the story of Pentecost on Acts chapter 2 is included in this category of gift of tongues. Moreover, it has become associated with other stories of descent of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts.

Study Guide, New Jerusalem Bible Study Edition:

TONGUES Speaking in tongues is a form of ecstatic speech inspired by the Spirit, bursts of praise unintelligible to the ordinary listener and needing an interpreter. Paul recognises but does not fully encourage this phenomenon (1 Cor 14:1-25 and notes). At Pentecost Ac describes a similar happening, when the apostles preach intelligibly in tongues unknown to themselves ( Ac 2:1a)

and note “h” on 1 Cor 12:10 from the New Jerusalem Bible Study Edition

h. The gift of ‘tongues’, or glossolalia, is the power of praying, especially praising God, under the action of the Spirit and under the pressure of ecstasy, by making sounds which, though continuous and syllabled, are not intelligible as language. This is what Paul calls ‘speaking in tongues’ (14:5,6,18,23,39) or ‘speaking in a tongue’ (14:2,4,9,13,14,19,26,27). This gift was one of the first visible effects of the outpouring of the Spirit in the primitive Church. See Ac 2:3-4; 10:44-46; 11:15; 19:6.

As can be seen from the references, there is no doubt that what happened at the first Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 is the gift of tongues. How can these bible scholars so convinced?

The key is at the story of Cornelius conversion on Acts 10 and at the reaction of the those listeners in Acts 2. In the story of Cornelius, as Peter preached, the Holy Spirit came on those who listened to him, and those who accompanied Peter were astonished

since they could hear them speaking strange language and proclaiming the greatness of God. (v 46)

And Peter demanded that they should be baptised, since now

they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have (v 47)

Peter noted that the pentecost of the gentiles (which many scholar name this event with) resembles the first pentecost. And for Peter, what he heard was what he experienced on the first pentecost.

In the story of first pentecost at Acts 2, those who listened were astonished listening at the apostles. These astonishment not because the apostles were preaching ordinarily, but rather because there were speaking in burst of praising God that caused some people to say

they have been drinking too much new wine (v 13)

Now, in conclusion, it is worth to read the note “a” from the New Jerusalem Bible Study Edition on Acts chapter 2 (the first pentecost)

a. The phenomenon of Pentecost has elements common to the speaking in tongues experienced by Cornelius (10:46seq;11:15) and by the disciples of John at Ephesus (19:6), which Paul discusses in 1 Cor 14. In none of these cases is there any question of a continuous speech of instruction, but what happens is praise of God (2:11; 10:46; 1 Cor 14:2,16) by ecstatic speech which surprises the listeners (2:13; 1 Cor 14:23). Analogous happenings in the ancient contemporary world show that these bursts of praise used words of foreign languages (2:6,11; 1 Cor 14:10-11,21). Luke uses this fact to see in this occurrences at the beginning of the Church a foretaste of the preaching which was soon to carry the good news to all the peoples of the world, and thus undo the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel (Gn 11:6-6). He could have been helped in this by a Jewish tradition which commemorated on the day of Pentecost the theophany at Sinai and which claimed that the voice of God, mediated by flames of fire, was then addressed to all the peoples of the world, but was rejected by all except Israel which accepted the Law. In this new Sinai all the peoples are challenged, and they accept.