I have a few questions—but they are not about whether Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle or Marianne Williamson are good, smart and nice people. I’m sure they are. My concern is about the ideas they hold—since good, smart, nice people can hold false beliefs and be wrong about all kinds of things. Sometimes, even the most important things.
I have questions about their worldview.
A worldview is made up of the answers we give to life’s most fundamental and profound questions. It includes the answers we give to questions of philosophy, religion, ethics and theology. And they are questions that have been asked and answered by every culture in world history.
When comparing and contrasting religions, worldview categories are the most basic level of inquiry.
If you know a person’s worldview, you know a whole lot about them. Oftentimes, you even know more about their thinking processes than they do.
Right now, Oprah is co-teaching an online class with author Eckhart Tolle, based upon her current Book of the Month, his “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.” And, Oprah’s promoting a daily radio show on her XM channel featuring Marianne Williamson teaching from “A Course in Miracles.”
Both Tolle and Williamson are New Age thinkers. Oprah says she’s a Christian—arguing that she can reconcile “her” Christianity with what they’re teaching. If she’s a Christian, she’s an ignorant one, because Christianity is incompatible with New Age thought.
Here’s how the two opposing worldviews, Christianity (C), and New Age (NA), answer some of the most basic worldview questions. The New Age answers are ones that would be commonly held, though certainly not universal, as the belief system is loose, eclectic and unique to each individual adherent.
1. Why is there something rather than nothing?
Christianity (C): God created the universe at the moment of the beginning of time, matter and space. Big Bang cosmology and all modern science affirms this.
New Age (NA): The universe is beginning-less, endless, eternal.
2. Does God exist?—and is He personal?
C: Yes, God is personal, and the Bible teaches God is three persons sharing one essence, what Christians refer to as the Trinity. More specifically, God is tri-personal.
NA: Yes and No. Yes, God is an impersonal force that exhaustively fills every atom of the eternal universe: All is God, God is all, God is all of us and God is each of us. No, there is no personal creator called God who is outside of time, matter and space.
3. Who am I?
C: A creation of God.
4. How did I get here?