Shopping for Spirituality - Alf Cengia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8146
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No doubt genuine marketing people will find faults with my mock ad. It's too long for the modern short attention span and poorly structured. I'd like to think that they'd also recognize that I'm selling a misleading and dangerous product. But marketing people aren't theologians. They just help sell products.
Oprah Winfrey isn't into biblical theology either. She is also selling products. In her case she's promoting her new "Belief" series. One promoter describes Belief as a "moving, powerful and lyrical series with themes that are iconic, universal and important."
According to the blurb:
'Belief explores humankind's search for meaning and connection, asking the question "What do you believe?", as it searches the origins of diverse faiths. Webbed throughout each hour are stories of people on spiritual journeys, taking them to sacred spaces around the world.'
Episode 7 of Oprah's series is called "A Good life." It explores how several individuals' beliefs help them face the fear and mystery of death. Examples from Hinduism, Buddhism, atheism and Christianity are presented. The episode attempts to show that death can be "a powerful call to action, compelling us to embrace life and those we love."
Oprah's series is a smorgasbord of beliefs - dig in and partake of what you fancy.
This reminds me of a book which I came across many years ago. New Age mystic Andrew Harvey drew heavily from his own study of a variety of mystical traditions, including Christianity. From these he claimed to provide a "fresh spiritual map" which anyone could use to develop a "direct path to the divine without relying on churches, gurus, or other intermediaries."
At the time I was dissatisfied with Christianity, so I hoped it might help me explore my path. In fact I was clueless about Christianity and Harvey couldn't help because he was dabbling in something he didn't really understand either (Christianity).
Andrew Harvey dedicated his book to his then "husband" (they have since parted ways). He recounted his breaking up with his guru because she disapproved of his homosexual relationship. Hence we understand the motivation for writing about seeking one's own path without relying on any organization or spiritual leader. He wanted to justify doing what pleased him.
Harvey also promotes a familiar "esoteric" teaching of Jesus:
"Christ's real teaching was not, as the churches have claimed, about worshipping him as son of God; it was an attempt to transmit to everyone else the intimate, direct, totally transforming relationship he had himself realized with God...after all, if everyone is able to be in unmediated contact with the Divine, to be taught in the terms of their own lives directly by the Divine, then what need is there for a priest class, monasteries and temples, or gurus?" (Emphasis mine)
He presumes to know more about Jesus than either the Bible or the church. But he chooses what to believe about Christ from later extra-biblical sources and personal preference. Ironically he sets himself up as another guru-teacher. Why would you trust his source?
Not every guru-teacher can be right when they arrive at different conclusions about spirituality. The truth isn't a smorgasbord of personal options.
If the universe isn't a cosmic accident then something must have caused it. If that cause was God then one should expect that God would have left some clear message about Himself and His intentions. And He did.
The Bible is a unique document attesting to be the revelation of God to man. It comprises of 66 books by 40 diverse authors from vastly different backgrounds, encompassing 1600 years. Even so, in contrast to the writings of other religious systems (and modern gurus) it never contradicts itself. Moreover it even predicted Christ's first coming from the very first book. You can access more information at Bible.org.
Also listen to what Ravi Zacharias has to say HERE
Contrary to assertions that humanity is essentially good, Scripture consistently attests that mankind is under God's wrath and the sentence of death because all have sinned (Rom 1:18-19, 3:10, 23, 6:23). You can't get into paradise through your "good deeds" or pursuing personal preferences. And there is only One Way.
It was for this reason that God sent His Son - so that all who would believe in Him should receive eternal life (John 1:12, 3:14-18, 14:6).
In his book Honest Evangelism, Rico Tice encourages Christians to evangelize unbelievers because it is the loving thing to do. Tice also outlines several other biblical reasons. He cites one atheist's (Penn Jilette) perspective:
"If you believe that there's a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward...how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?...I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was bearing down on you, and you didn't believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that." ~ Honest Evangelism (p 38)
But now I'd like to turn the responsibility around to the unbeliever.
People generally do due diligence before buying that new phone, car, house or insurance plan. They take care (hopefully) to marry the right spouses. They often perform exercises and eat the right foods to hang onto health and prolong their lives.
How much more so, then, should they not neglect to challenge themselves regarding their eternal destinies?
Do you know where you're going after you die? Are you really sure there's no hell?
How do you know you're on the right path?