The 'law of attraction' was further popularised by C. Haanel's 14 book The master key system, in , and N. Peale's 15 book The power of positive thinking, in In the concept of the 'law of attraction' gained a lot of renewed interest with the appearance of R. Byrne's book titled The Secret. Bond expressed her big surprise regarding the large number of copies of The Secret that were sold, and further mentioned that the appearance of The Secret caused great curiosity among people to explore similar concepts of how you can use thoughts to attract prosperity and happiness.
The multiple explanations of the origin of the law of attraction are an indication of this spiritual law's unreliability. Nearly every proponent has a different explanation for the origin of the law of attraction. When the proponents' backgrounds are taken into consideration nearly all of them were involved in New Thought practices. The New Age worldview and the law of attraction. When considering the development of the law of attraction above, it became clear that the relation to the beliefs and practices of the New Age movement 16 should also be contemplated and discussed.
According to Bond , The Secret has certainly revitalised the New Age knowledge base, and one should prepare for many more books on the same subject. It is important to keep in mind that the New Thought movement is considered to be a tributary of the New Age movement. In this way there is clearly a direct connection between the two movements and representative sub-movements Clarke ; DeChant ; Hanegraaff ; Steyn Finnegan emphasises that the New Age movement will be present for some time to come Clarke It has swept across the U.
It is considered extremely hard to describe, locate and capture the New Age movement, because there are no fixed creeds and not just one identifiable organisation connected to it Chepkwony ; Clarke ; Collins ; Hanegraaff ; Heelas ; Klippenstein ; Redden Zacharias b describes New Age spirituality as a jelly-like substance which is very hard to identify. Accordingly, the New Age movement can be described briefly as a vast and widespread, loosely structured, mega-network of individuals, groups and organisations, who share common values and ideas characterised by mysticism and monism, and a common vision of a coming age of peace and mass enlightenment Finnegan Martin considers the New Age movement to be the enthronement of humans and the demotion of God.
Due to the strong influence of Eastern religions and philosophies, New Age pioneers commonly adhere to a monistic, pantheistic worldview. Monism views 'God as one' in the sense that there is absolutely no duality or differentiation within this oneness. Within this view the whole universe is made up of one substance and there is only one unified consciousness, of which everybody is part. In turn, pantheism is the belief that 'all is God', which means that everything is somehow inherently a manifestation of God.
The divine oneness emanates in absolutely everything, so that everything is God and God is everything. Honsberger and Halverson explain this concept by referring to each individual as a stream that flows from an infinite lake, and just as the water in each stream is of the same essence as the water in the lake, so every individual's essence is one with God.
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According to this monistic pantheistic worldview, the oneness or the interconnectedness between all things should be viewed as a manifestation of the Divine. This causes New Agers to believe that each individual is inherently a divine being who is capable of great and powerful things Chepkwony ; Collins ; Skinner ; Velarde Byrne , for instance, seems to underline this when she writes:. You are God in physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh.
You are Eternal life expressing itself as You. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet. The beliefs and practices within the New Age movement place a strict emphasis on the self. Everything revolves around the principle that you must turn inward to reach a higher consciousness and to experience the God-self Collins ; Hanegraaff ; Huss Maclaine explains that every individual is his or her own best teacher and that there is no place for any other idol to be worshipped, because the God everyone is seeking lies within oneself and not outside Chepkwony Proctor , for instance, says:.
Do you know that you are the architect of your own life? You truly are and you can tap into this infinite source of supply - and it is an infinite source of supply. Taylor also contributes to this belief when he writes:. What we have to do is prove to ourselves that the universe is abundant, we are all connected with each other and the universe, and our thoughts shape our reality.
Lastly, Byrne affirms:.
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Zeller adds that New Agers usually have a high regard for science, but that science is then used in their practices to support and legitimise spiritual worldviews and also to criticise the existing scientific consensus Hanegraaff ; Heelas Zacharias a is of opinion that the perils of the New Spirituality are made to look wonderful and that pseudoscience is connected to a mystical vocabulary that results in absurd deductions. This might also be the case with the law of attraction, since it is claimed to be a phenomenon in quantum physics Byrne ; Che; Taylor Physicist Pagel states that no qualified physicist would claim these kinds of connections without committing fraud Zacharias a The similarities between the law of attraction and positive confession.
The law of attraction is a New Age practice that accordingly flows from a New Age worldview. Peters points out that there are a lot of New Thought and New Age discussed under point 3 above overtones in the modern Word of Faith movement. It is considered important by this research to look at the similarities between the law of attraction and the doctrine of positive confession within this Word of Faith movement. The reason why this movement is called the Word of Faith movement is because the name 'Word of Faith' emphasises the importance and power of your words MacArthur Faith, as seen by the positive confession teaching of this movement, does not imply the usual Christian understanding of faith in God, but rather faith in your own faith and consequently the speaking of so-called faith-filled words.
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The doctrine of positive confession is considered to be the most distinctive and dominant doctrine of the Word of Faith movement. The working presupposition of this doctrine is that one's mental attitude determines what one believes and confesses, which in turn determines what one gets from God. If one thinks rightly, believes rightly and confesses rightly, nothing is impossible. This doctrine is seen as some kind of spiritual activation that sets into motion the spiritual laws governing the universe McConnell ; Neuman , Souders refers to positive confession as the power of words in order to bring about physical environmental changes in your life.
It can also be summarised as 'what you say is what you get' Togarasei Positive confession is seen as the vehicle through which God's promises have the opportunity to influence your life Hollinger Essek W. Accordingly, everyone sooner or later becomes what they confess. He further adds that it is not only your thinking, but also your words, that build power or weakness in yourself Kenyon Kenyon and Gossett also explain that 'confession' is not the confession of sin, but rather that of faith and that faith as such is not faith until a positive confession comes from the lips.
It is a positive mindset that becomes faith by confession. According to the faith teacher Kenneth E. Hagin 20 b:2 , your words will either lead to destruction or lead to life, happiness and health. According to him, the words one spoke yesterday made life what it is today Hagin a Everyone is considered to be a product of their own words, because in life you always get and receive what you believe and say Hagin b, c Hagin a:8 , for instance, writes: 'For you can have what you say.
You can write your own ticket with God. And the first step in writing your own ticket with God is: Say it'. Furthermore, your words are allegedly able to create spiritual things, as well as natural and physical things Hagin b Hagin b, 32 uses Mark 21 as the supposed biblical teaching to motivate the statement that one will have whatever one speaks.
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The well-known faith teacher Kenneth Copeland 22 , speaks of the so-called force of faith, which makes the universal laws of the spirit world function Copeland He also explains that God created the entire universe using this force of faith. Each time God spoke, he released his own faith, which is considered to be the creative power by which his words came to pass Copeland Because God created the universe through his faith-filled words, this universe is also controlled by words.
Copeland suggests that we live under a so-called word-activated system that no one can change. However, in this word-activated system, each individual can choose his or her words to change their environments and circumstances Copeland , Copeland also says: 'Any image that you get down on the inside of you that is so vivid when you close your eyes you can see it, it'll come to pass'.
According to Copeland, intangible words do indeed take on tangible reality Hanegraaff In turn, Joyce Meyer 23 also seems to adopt a similar concept when she explains the importance of one's thoughts. She says that what you think about is what you end up doing, to the extent that it becomes your reality.
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If someone keeps sowing negative thoughts, attitudes and words, it will produce negative results in life Meyer Therefore you must rather speak of the things you desire most, as if they already exist in your life, even if they do not. Apparently you can reach into the spiritual realm with your faith and talk of the things you want most, as if it is already a reality in your life, and it will be delivered Meyer Words are to be understood as containers of creative and positive or destructive and negative power, with the consequence that what you say today you will end up having tomorrow Meyer Meyer also writes about a principle that she finds in Matthew 24 :.
The Bible says it will be unto us as we believe See Matt. That principle works in the negative as well as the positive. We can receive by fear as well as by faith. She applies this principle to Job who feared the bad things that happened to him Job 25 , and so he seemingly brought the bad things upon himself. Peters connects this statement of Meyer directly to the law of attraction. It is clear that Joel Osteen 26 , also underlines this same principle when he explains that everyone draws into their experience what they are constantly thinking about.
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It is not just thoughts that are important, but also words. According to Osteen , it is not enough to just imagine things; you must also speak words of faith over your life to give birth to it with enormous creative power. This is considered to be a spiritual principle that works positively or negatively, depending on the words you use. To some extent it seems that, locally, At Boshoff also writes about this positive confession doctrine, explaining that you must change from the negative to the positive because, in the same way your faith can be seen and heard, your unbelief is also very visible and audible.
Although God is all-powerful, he cannot override your will since he gave men free will. Accordingly, God can only work with the positive or negative power that is within yourself. Everyone must therefore be careful with their thoughts and words since God, the angels and the demons are all always listening to your faith or unbelief.
The moment you open your mouth to speak, you can invite God into the equation or leave him out of it. If there is a 'no' in your words, God cannot intervene on your behalf Boshoff Jones and Woodbridge compare proponents of the New Thought with many of the faith preachers 27 who believe that words - both thought and spoken - are a force that somehow has creative power over reality Coleman Until believers visualise, and speak with faith-filled words, God is unable to act on their behalf.
While New Agers use the law of attraction ostensibly to obtain what they desire from the universe, Christians who advocate positive confession believe they are ordering their desires from God, or ordering God for their desires Hanegraaff ; Peters Peters describes this practice as cultic doctrine, wrapped in Christian terminology, which obscures the line between God the Creator and humans as his creatures.
Preliminary issues regarding the law of attraction have been described above, indicating how it is understood to work by its proponents and where the underlying principle of the law of attraction originated from. The New Age worldview, underlying the law of attraction, has also been touched upon in order to establish that the law of attraction is indeed related to New Age practice, incorporating a New Age monistic, pantheistic worldview.
A direct line was drawn from the law of attraction to the positive confession doctrine within the Word of Faith movement. All of this was done to provide a background and framework regarding the law of attraction. The stage is now set to move on to the second article in which At Boshoff's sermons Boshoff a, b on the law of attraction will be evaluated. The ultimate question to answer in this two-part series is: Does the Christian worldview provide a place for the law of attraction?
This theoretical background is not enough to answer this question adequately. Because Christian doctrine rests on the Scriptures, the Scriptures should be drawn on in order to answer this question. The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article. Amarasingam, A. Weldon eds.