Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Oprah: Many Ways to God?

Well the Oprah phenomenon is over in its present form. Her career has truly been astounding. My concern for her influence has to do with her view of God as expressed on her show.

When asked how Oprah reconciles her christian beliefs with some of the new age philosophy that she promotes she answered, "I opened my mind to the hugeness of what we call God." She explains another time that she was raised in the Baptist Church and needed to take God "out of the box." Another time she openly proclaims that Jesus is NOT the only way to what we consider God and that there are many ways.

She is an amazing woman with an amazing life story. She is also a very good person and sincerely cares for people. I would count it a privilege to call her a friend. But when it comes to God, she is mistaken. The worse part is not her belief system but HOW she gets it. The problem is how she thinks about God and religion.

The source of her problem is thinking that an individual can create truth through sincere belief. You hear that philosophy in statements like:
"It doesn't matter what you believe as long as you are sincere."
"I'm glad your belief works for you, but it doesn't work for everybody."
"Your belief is true for what you conceive God to be."

It assumes that a human being can "create" their own truth by believing. In that sense Oprah believes that everyones "beliefs" are valid and no ONE belief works for everybody. It assumes that the ultimate source of truth is a human heart/mind. God then is created in our image. But truth cannot be created by belief or destroyed by unbelief. Truth simply exists to be discovered.

What Oprah believes is as far as you can get from the God of the Bible. You see, it leaves out the reality of God and puts God and religion in the realm of the human imagination.

But faith/belief is only as valid as the object in which it is placed. You can believe with all your heart that your pet fish is the god of the universe, but that won't make it true. You can believe with all your heart that god is what you make him to be, but that won't make that true either. You have to choose after careful investigation where to put your trust and faith and belief. It's an important choice because it involves where you are hanging your eternal soul.

For me, I believe that there is a very real God out there who made all that there is, and chose to reveal himself through nature, human conscience, and through His revealed Word (Holy Bible) and most importantly in His Son Jesus Christ. He's a good, loving, and just God. And Jesus, His Son, the ruler of the universe said very clearly that He IS the ONLY way to the Father. (Jn. 14:6) I fall far short of being able to be in heaven with God by my own merit, but He sent His Son to open a way back to Him. I trust Jesus.

Has this expression of faith been distorted by countless wackos? Yes.
Has this expression of faith misrepresented God? Yes. (see blog on Doomsday Prophet)
Has this expression of faith been institutionalized to the point of irrelevance at times? Yes.
Has this expression of faith been stripped down to meaningless, boring religious habit? Yes.

And I believe that this has caused a lot of people who did the "Christian" gig sometime in their life to think that they got the real thing (including Oprah). But it's very possible that they did not get a true expression of God's truth and thereby hung their faith on something very fragile, making it easy for them to shirk it later in life when they "took God out of the box." God isn't in a box called human religion nor is He in the ponderings of fallen human minds or hearts. He is God, infinite, eternal, and all-powerful. Yet, he is personal and loving and compassionate and knowable (because He chooses to be).

More than one way?? If you think correctly there can't be many ways to God. One, none of the major religions or their prophets teach that. Two, the only people that claim that are outside of those religions. Third, if there were different ways to the same God then you would expect there to be some commonality in teachings. But there isn't. Case closed.

Often people who believe in many ways will accuse those who believe in ONE way to be narrow minded. The truth is, believing in many ways is just as narrow because it negates most of the world religions. It claims to have a higher way of thinking (or feeling) about god and religion. And if you can't think like them, you're wrong. Sounds pretty narrow...

In my view truth by nature is narrow. And it's okay for someone to be right and for someone to be wrong. Because I love people (and Oprah) I would do my best to share my faith with them and help them discover a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If they were devout followers of another religion, I would love them just the same, be a sincere and active friend in their life, and expect them to do everything in their power to convert me to their religion. I would engage in honest, passionate, respectful debates out of a heart of love for as long as I live. But at least we'd be thinking right...we'd be intellectually honest.

I wish Oprah the best, and hope she finds the truth. I pray that she will not unwittingly mislead millions on their spiritual journey. From what I can tell of her character, it would absolutely break her heart to know that she used her influence in a way that moved people away from God instead of closer.


3 Comments:

Anonymous SallyJeanGenter said...

I agree, Mark. When we arrive at a wrong answer on a math or science test we are marked wrong. Yet, when it comes to God we think we can construct him like an art project - a little more leniency here, a little less omnipotence there... But God is not a flexible ball of wax. He is who he is: the great "I AM" of the Bible, and the creator of this universe (a thorough demonstration of his mathematical and scientific skills). To understand God is to meet Him as he has reveals himself: first, through creation (Romans 1), then through his word recorded in the Bible, and finally through Jesus Christ. It's all or nothing. Any other answer deserves to be marked, "Wrong."

Thanks for writing this.

6:26 PM  
OpenID rdmiller3 said...

I agree that truth is not whatever you choose to believe. What many people believe will turn out to be fantasy rather than reality.

For example, some people choose to believe in supernatural things but it turns out there's not a shred of reliable evidence to support anything supernatural at all.

But you have evidence? Excellent! Just present your evidence to the James Randi Educational Foundation and collect your One Million Dollar Prize:
http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge/challenge-application.html

8:35 PM  
Blogger man with desire said...

If we still study the idea of all roads leading to God and that all of us could achieve His approval by reaching for the top, there is still one problem with it: we do not get an assurance of salvation. When we try to reach the top, we do not experience any assurance of salvation. It cannot be received like that and we will miss it.
Paul Little refers to this. He describes how the Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims do not have an assurance of salvation, but this also applies to Western people who have grown in a Christian culture:

http://www.jariiivanainen.net/manywaystoGod.html

1:27 PM  

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