The secretary on my route who was reading The Secret by Rhonda Byrne had another book out the other day as I walked in. Feel free to read about my encounter last March here. I asked her what she was reading and she replied that it was a book titled The Disappearance of the Universe. I looked a bit puzzled and she quickly explained that it was sort of a guide to the book A Course in Miracles. She was very quick to try to explain its relevance to her life and how she came about reading these books. But then she surprised me in her explanation by using terminology that I hadn’t expected.
She said, "You coming from a Christian point of view would probably say that it is the New Age; which it is." One reason this surprised me is that I can’t remember telling this lady that I am a Christian. I certainly don’t put it out of my mind as a possibility, I just can’t remember talking to her about Christianity. The other reason this surprised me is that she used the terminology that I would dub this teaching without batting an eye. She knows what "organized Christianity" is saying about these books and is willing to delve into them all the same.
I was trying to direct my comments to provoke her into briefly giving a summary of what these teachings consist of. She kept describing how it seemed so interesting that she was directed to even read these book. If I made a comment about it, she said that I should look it up on the internet. So I finally realized I was going to have to ask a direct question, but not take too long as I have a whole route to deliver.
So I asked, "How would you describe this disappearance in, say, just a couple of sentences?"
She replied, "It’s not really there. The universe is all an illusion."
I commented, "That sounds a lot like Buddhism. They believe that all suffering is an illusion."
"Oh, yes," she says, "They say that Buddha got a lot of things right. But there are some things that he didn’t quite know."
I said, "I would have a really hard time pitting one teacher against another. Buddha created a movement that has lasted several centuries, and here is someone saying he didn’t really have it all right. It’s sort of like just substituting one authority for another. How could I come out and say that I really have it right and others don’t?"
The secretary had some explanations which were general in nature, but her responses were very quick (almost defensive) and I realized I wasn’t going to get anywhere in convincing her that these teachings are a waste of time and contradict God’s Word, but I did want to say something. So as she talked a bit more about how when she first read A Course in Miracles that she hadn’t understood it at all. But now reading The Disappearance of the Universe, she felt so much better about the whole thing. So I remarked that I prefer reading the Bible because of its simplicity. Jesus talked about everyday things that people could easily understand. I mentioned her statement of "You say that I see things from a Christian perspective and that’s true because I am a Christian. I would say this is part of New Age teaching, but Jesus talked about the New Age as He talked about The Kingdom of God to people. When Jesus talked about The Kingdom of God it was very easy to understand and that’s what I appreciate about the Bible."
She replied with, "Oh the Kingdom of God is definitely in there. They talk about the Kingdom of God in this book here."
I smiled and told her I would look it up on the internet like she had suggested and mentioned that I had looked up about The Secret when she mentioned that to me a while back.
"Oh yeah, The Secret," she muttered. "That doesn’t work. You can wish all you want but you’re not going to get a million dollars by thinking positive thoughts."
I didn’t say much after that, but I thought to myself, "Last year The Secret was what it was all about for her. But it was just a fad. Maybe this is just a fad, too." Hopefully she will realize it is just a fad. The Word of God is not a fad though. It’s the real deal. Hopefully she will also realize there’s not much difference between The Secret and A Course in Miracles. They have the exact same premise.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman
P.S. PJ Miller posted a link to an AFA radio interview a while back on this very issue of A Course in Miracles. Listen to it here.