Sunday, April 29, 2012

Where Has Oprah Taken Us?

WHERE HAS OPRAH TAKEN US? International Edition: The Religious Influence of the World's Most Famous WomanFrancis Schaeffer’s thesis in “How Shall We Then Live” is all about determining the spirit of the age in which you’ve been born and responding from your Christian world view. If that’s the case then “Where Has Oprah Taken Us: The Religious Influence of the World’s Most Famous Woman” should be required apologetics reading for every Christian in the West. Mansfield takes us through an overview of Oprah’s Spiritual Development as well as the Spiritual Development of our culture in the past 50 years. He clearly and sequentially shows the spiritual, moral, logical and cultural pitfalls of both in a tone that is thoughtful and kind.

Mansfield outlines the Four Pillars of Oprah Winfrey’s Brand of Faith:
1.    Religion and Spirituality are 2 different things (vs. spirituality is defined by religion)
2.    Opposing religions can be casually blended (vs. the inherent claim in every religion that demands certain exclusivity).
3.    Religions can be re-defined at will (vs. theologies and terms being defined and understood).
4.    All true religions enhances self (vs. the “hero” story of all traditional religions in which there is nearly always a call for man to focus on a venerated being or some force beyond themselves).

Mansfield then goes on to outline the 7 Principles of Oprah Winfrey’s Philosophy
1.    Reality is “Thin” – that the seen world is not really as it appears; it is not a fantasy but it is not reality either.
2.    If there is a God, it may be no more than “energy”; human thoughts channel this energy, ergo human thought is the most powerful thing in the universe.
3.    Thoughts shape reality; the irrefutable Law of Attraction; human thought can literally transform the physical world.
4.    The universe intends only good; it is benevolent and loving. Humans create what is perceived as evil through their destructive thoughts and actions.
5.    Destiny rules-the universe has chosen you for a purpose. It is up to you to actualize your purpose.
6.    The only ethic is love. Positive energy, feelings, and vibrations that are warm, affirming and tender allow a person to live wisely and lovingly in the world.
7.    Experience trumps truth. Truth is replaced with the word “valid” and the measure of every belief and practice is how effective it is in creating meaningful experience.

Mansfield outlines spiritual strongholds that are so ingrained in our culture they seem Christian. This book illuminates the spiritual devastation that Oprah is preaching to millions of her viewers in a way that is decidedly Christian, decidedly compassionate and decidedly humble.  Again, I’d call this required reading for every Christian in the west.

On a personal note, this book basically dilineated the philsophy that my dad, a self-proclaimed "radical liberal" espoused for years. Growing in the shadow of this philosophy did not give me a secure sense of place or trust in the world. In fact, just the opposite. Just my personal .02 worth.
For more information on Stephen Mansfield, whom some critics are claiming as "one of the nation’s most respected voices on religion and culture,” go to the Mansfield Group.

1 comment:

Redradtech said...

Going to get this book right away. Thank you for being such a voracious reader and telling us your reviews!!!