Culture Off Topic

The Secret of the “The Secret:” It’s Just Plain Silly.

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Kudos to Anthony Sacramone over at First Things for his hilarious (and insightful) take on the latest self help super-bestseller.  See here.  http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=833

 Excerpt:  “After all, who wants to believe that they’re at the whim of chance, accident, or worse—a sovereign God? The idea of being either lost in a Darwinian universe or limited by environment, genetics, and luck is much too disheartening. And the prospect of being in the hands of an unsafe Creator, who sends rain on the just and the unjust alike, is absolutely infantilizing.”

15 Replies to “The Secret of the “The Secret:” It’s Just Plain Silly.

  1. 1
    StephenB says:

    There has to be a happy mid-point between “you are the captain of your fate” and you are “natures plaything,” just as there is a happy mid-point between “everything is a product of design” and everything is a product of “natural causes.”

  2. 2
    JGuy says:

    Stephen,
    In reformationist theology (e.g. Calvinism), nothing is random. I’ve thought about this a lot, and simply find either idea hard to grapple, that is, grappling with the idea that either nothing is random or some is random. However, at least, all being random is easy enough to eliminate from any list of possibilities.

    J-

  3. 3
    shaner74 says:

    ““You are God in a physical body. . . . You are all power. You are all intelligence” (page 164).”

    Sounds like “Christian Science” with some feel-good messages mixed in.

  4. 4
    StephenB says:

    JGuy,
    I like your idea of beginning with the least likely alternative and working backwards. To me, that is consistent with ID methodology. I suspect that part of the problem is that “random” may not be synonymous with “natural,” being only a subset of it. From a philosophical perspective, I find the word “purposeless” easier to deal with than “random,” though I suspect that those two words are not interchangeable either, even outside the domain of science.

    With regard to Calvinist theology, I am guessing (only guessing) that Calvins heavy theological emphasis on predestination informs the idea that there can be no randomness in science. For my part, I accept both an element of predestination and an element of free will, assuming that somehow there is no real contradiction–that the problem must be offered up as an unsolvable mystery.

  5. 5
    russ says:

    For my part, I accept both an element of predestination and an element of free will, assuming that somehow there is no real contradiction–that the problem must be offered up as an unsolvable mystery.

    I think C.S. Lewis said something to the effect of “Who are we to limit God by saying he is not allowed to give us free will without surrendering his Sovereignity?”

  6. 6
    Jason Rennie says:

    The Chaser down here in Australia put the secret to the test.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=usbNJMUZSwo

    It is hilarious. I think it shows it for the general idiocy it is better than any thoughtful critique 😉

  7. 7
    vividblue says:

    Calvinistic theology denies randomness as it relates to God in the sense that nothing happens that God does not will or control.

    As to free will of course the Calvinist denies that there can concievably be any such thing. Before going ballistic it is important to understand what the Calvinists means regarding the impossibility of free will.

    To the Calvinist something must detrmine the will therefore if the will is determined it cannot be free from that which determines it.

    Now I suspect many non Calviniss would agree with this position. I think what most people mean when they say we have free will is that we choose what we want,,,that our decisions are SELF determined in which case the will is not free from our self, that is we have free choice. But free choice is not free will.

    Vivid

  8. 8
    BarryA says:

    The hyper-Calvinist rejoices when people go to hell on this reasoning. The believer rejoices when the will of God is done; God predestines (wills) some people to go to hell; and when his will is accomplished we rejoice.

    On the other end of the spectrum, the open theists say that God does not know what is going to happen tomorrow and is right now sitting up in heaven waiting for us to make up our mind about what we’ll do in the future. Thus, God’s prophecies in the Bible are not absolute but only highly probable, because an absolute prophecy would limit our free will.

    Between these two lunatic fringes is truth, as StephenB states succinctly in #4.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    I would like to state that I have seen miracles in my Life, But I only have seen these manifestations of the supernatural when I humbly turned to Christ. Thus I believe in God’s sovereignty because of these miracles that I have seen.
    To relate to the topic of this thread,
    I believe the primary reason that people have a problem reconciling free will with God’s sovereignty may be that they have a misconception of evil.
    The following examples illustrate this misconception;

    Such as darkness is the measure of the absence of light, and cold is the measure of the absence of heat, so is evil the measure of the absence of good. As such, total dark, total cold and total evil are in reality complete non-existence. As such evil is not real and does not exist! Thus God did not create evil for evil in actuality does not exist. What does God really allow? He allows for people to choose to go towards non-existence (de^ath). For To choose to go further away from Him is to in actuality choose non-existence, it is what we would call “to choose to do evil”.
    God in reality gives us only the choice to choose Life or to choose .
    I myself “try to” choose good and to choose life, thus in reality I have chosen to seek God since He is the source of all good and all life!

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    God in reality gives us only the choice to choose Life or to choose de^ath .
    I myself “try to” choose good and to choose life, thus in reality I have chosen to seek God since He is the source of all good and all life!

  11. 11
    vividblue says:

    “The hyper-Calvinist rejoices when people go to hell on this reasoning.”

    What reasoning are you referring to? BTW I am not a hyper Calvinist.

    Vivid

  12. 12
    BarryA says:

    vividblue, the reasoning that follows in the next sentence. I am not saying this is the position most Calvinists hold. It is a corruption of the doctrine. As Chesterton said in Orthodoxy, insanity is not the absense of logic, but too much logic.

  13. 13
    vividblue says:

    “vividblue, the reasoning that follows in the next sentence. I am not saying this is the position most Calvinists hold. It is a corruption of the doctrine. As Chesterton said in Orthodoxy, insanity is not the absense of logic, but too much logic”

    Agreed

    Vivid

  14. 14
    StephenB says:

    BarryA said, “As Chesterton said in Orthodoxy, insanity is not the absence of logic, but too much logic.”

    Precisely. Only those who were first grounded in common sense philosophy prior to reading Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason survived it with their sanity in tact.

  15. 15
    Apollos says:

    I don’t personally see a conflict between free will and predestination. A sovereign God, to whom no knowledge can be added nor subtracted, knows every heart and knows the end from the beginning:

    Isaiah 46:10a Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done…

    And so He can enact His will with the foreknowledge of what our free will determines for our own destiny:

    Ephesians 1:11-12 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

    Peter makes known the heart of God regarding salvation:

    2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    When we take these passages together, it can be understood that God desires none to perish, yet knowing what will ultimately result, can predestine all who will trust in Him.

    So to me predestination versus free will is resolved in God’s omniscience. That the truth is somewhere in the middle is, in this case, very true.

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