Megalomaniacal Messianism

I don't know if Oprah is or is not a nice person. That really is not the point. She is however a true believer. And what she believes is that she has a message of spiritual truth that must be delivered to the American people. It is a message which proclaims God to be a spiritual essence that pervades all reality. It is a message of the divine self. "God is all. All is one. I am God."

Oprah's religion is growing. It does not help that some of America's most prominent and popular preachers proclaim a message that echoes some of the same themes. Listen to Joel Osteen (if you can bear it). His is a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps spirituality. "Your a good person. God is nice. He helps those who help themselves." Everything he preaches could be said without any reference to Jesus Christ, much less the cross. So with Oprah, America's most influential media star advancing a spirituality that sounds, to the undiscerning ear a lot like that of America's most well known pastor then confusion and apostasy are not far away.

A recent post over at 40th Street Blog comments on Oprah's theology and influence.

In a nutshell, Oprah's journey of faith has led her away from organized "religion" and towards a broader notion of "spirituality", with many New Age tendencies. As one listens to the teachings of her spiritual confidants, the seemingly Eastern tenets become clearer. Essentially, this worldview affirms the inherent goodness of human beings. However, one somehow becomes distanced from this purer version of the self as he/she exists in the everyday world. Thus, human beings need liberation. This is achieved through practicing spiritual disciplines of meditation and reflection in order to realize our true connection with the Universe. As one guest on her show put it, we all have an inner light - like one inside a lantern. However, that glass tends to accumulate dirt, preventing the light from emanating in full. Our goal is to repeatedly wipe away the dirt in order that it may continue to shine. Faith is specifically addressed as a journey rather than adherence to any particular doctrine...

Unfortunately for its followers, this lifestyle places individuals at the center of their universe. The onus is upon them to both purify themselves and desperately try to find the good in even the worst of experiences. I recently listened to one show on spirituality hosted by Oprah and her panel of spiritual authorities. As caller after caller described their own experiences of tragedy, the panel essentially asked each one to smile and put on a happy face, or in other words, "To try to listen to what the Universe is teaching you" in the midst of it. What is the Universe teaching you when lose your job? What might the Universe want to say when your health insurance refuses to cover your child's cancer treatments? What might the Universe offer to a parent whose infant died upon birth? Sadly, this form of spirituality demands its adherents to pull themselves up by the spiritual boot-straps when things get tough. One caller even confessed her repeated failures to maintain this spiritual marathon, and asked what she could do to keep running.

Read the entire post HERE.