Key Takeaway: The Secret is actually very Christian – and the author and her collaborators even say so themselves. Positive thinking and the attitude of gratitude are actually traits we are called to embody as true Christians, through living a life of love and service to God and to others as our way of expressing thanks for all God has done for us. We indeed have the freedom to think our ideal lives into existence – but also the duty to keep it rooted in God and His purposes.
The Holy Bible, NRSV-CE: National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA via Wikipedia.
You may have heard of the book or at least its core teachings in passing. It has become Marmite in the bibliophile world: people either love it or hate it. In fact, we had a session on it during my theology class in university: how a woman who had become a teacher of it completely returned to her Christian faith after one of her disciples committed suicide out of frustration. The Secret is not so secret anymore today – and its, shall we say, chief advocate, Rhonda Byrne, wants just that for humanity.
As a Christian, there are some teachings in The Secret that may at first seem questionable to me, even borderline idolatrous. However, viewed with the proper lens, perspective, and temperament, The Secret may very well prove to be a repackaged, modernized version, or abridged version, of the teachings of Christ.
The Secret is basically all about the law of attraction, used properly to “attract” yourself to wealth, health, happiness, or whatever you desire to achieve or get. The law of attraction is all about positive thinking: not allowing a single negative thought to cloud your day, visualizing and even acting as if you’ve already gotten what you want, and being grateful. These positive thoughts are broadcasted to the Universe similar to how radios emit frequencies, and as like attracts like, similar frequencies then find their way back to us. Negative frequencies result in negative consequences, positive in positive.
It teaches that we are the center of everything and we have the capability to shape our future collectively for the better if we think it out. We already have all the things we need to achieve humanity’s dreams as outlined in the UNDP’s Millennium Goals. We just have to change the way we think.
Unfortunately, taken at face value, it’s very easy to accuse the book of idolatry and atheism by saying that in doing so, man accepts there is no God and that he himself is the builder of all things possible. Thinking positive sets a chain of events in motion that seemingly by happenstance but in reality is not arranges for things to play out in such a way that you actually get what you are “wishing” for – because we can. Man is supposedly taught that he is the boss.
But hold your horses! The Secret can actually be very Christian… and even Byrne herself and her fellow contributors acknowledge it.
Putting on the proper lens that comes only with devout study of Christian teachings allows us to see that God is indeed in control of everything and wants us to trust Him, that He will provide for us if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). God is the Universe, the Universe that is both just and loving, the Universe that will reward or punish us depending on what we do. It is our choice, indeed, to be happy or to be miserable, and because God made us in His image and likeness and granted us freedom, we have the freedom to be either – but knowing that what we think and do will have corresponding consequences that God lets us experience for the sake of growth.
Positive thinking, therefore, is very Christian – and we are called to live such. Living a life of love and service out of gratitude to God for what He has done for us, in fact, is in itself positive thinking. How can you love and serve wholeheartedly if you’re being negative? You can’t. The Bible also says that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) – one who is not pushed into doing so (and therefore feeling negative thoughts of resistance) and does so sincerely and joyfully (and therefore positively). Furthermore, we are called by Christ to be light in darkness, and not the other way around. “Light” in this case means the light of the Gospel, the Good News… even the News itself is positive in that it is “good”. Christianity is all about being positive, positive in Christ.
I mentioned that as Christians, we live lives of love and service out of gratitude to God. Why are we grateful to Him? Because He sent His only Son to die for our sins! The Secret teaches us to have an attitude of gratitude at all times, that positive blessings find their way back to us as well. Indeed, we ought to be grateful – for thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus, we have been given a new hope in living – the gift of salvation through faith in God. We express our gratitude by wholeheartedly worshipping God and following Christ’s examples of love and service – and in doing so, we are promised the eternal rewards of heaven.
To be driven by God and His principles is to accept that the one thing we want most in life is to be close to and with God, in heaven. We want to spend eternal life with Him. That in itself is already a visualization of our highest goal, and it influences how we live our lives here on earth: godly, Christlike lives of love and service. As we visualize it, we naturally feel inclined to share this wonderful vision with others – thereby fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission of telling the world of His love. Again, it is The Secret, viewed from a Christian perspective as it should be.
The key thing to remember, in summary, is that while we have indeed been elevated above all creation, we do not exist to serve ourselves, but to serve the Father. Our deepest desire and our ultimate goal should be the Lord, whom we know is in control of everything – of all those frequencies of positivity and negativity. As His beloved children, He wants to discipline us, to train us to be ideal sons and daughters, and those frequencies are His way of communicating with us, either gently rebuking us for a sin or commending us for keeping His commandments of love.
I firmly believe in positive thinking as well – but I also believe that as Christians, we have a duty to place this positive thinking in context and in check – that it does not go against what God teaches us. But everything good was made by Him, and as long as we keep things within God’s context, I see no reason why we should not be allowed to enjoy God’s creation.
Have a blessed and joyful weekend ahead!