Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Book Review: The Secret.

How much of a secret can a book known by millions be?

On top of being widely-published, The Secret also enjoyed dissemination as a film and a topic on Oprah Winfrey's television show: (

Not so secretive.

It's not difficult to find the secret in the book either. It's printed on page 25. Thereafter, the book amounts to endless fugues playing off this same theme. So even if you missed it the first hundred times, there's still hope the ubiquitous secret will announce itself yet again.

Here's the not-so-secretive secret of The Secret. It's repackaged power-of-positive thinking. Or repackaged gnosticism. Or repackaged name-it-and-claim-it. In any event, it's nothing new and it's packaged.

Because one cannot deny the power of optimism, a surface appeal exists. This universal truth probably reduces resistance in many. Author Rhonda Byrne even posits that The Secret can be employed by church groups, i.e. it's fully compatible with Christianity. Byrne enthuses: "The Secret has inspired...churches of all denominations...." (p. xi.) But something far more sinister lurks beneath its surface.

It must be quoted because the book indicts itself: "You are God in a physical body." (p. 164.) No camera or editing tricks employed here. That's precisely what it says--unapologetically. Church groups are inspired by this? Inspired to do what?, I must query. Proselytize more diligently?

Can anyone identify a single mainstream (or even riverbank) Christian denomination that would endorse such a view? If so, please specify it and provide support for the contention in the comments.

The Secret reveals some interesting "secrets" about Jesus as well. "If you have been brought up to believe that being wealthy is not spiritual, then I highly recommend you read The Millionaires of the Bible Series by Catherine Ponder. In these glorious books you will discover that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Jesus were not only prosperity teachers, but also millionaires themselves, with more affluent lifestyles than many present-day millionaires could conceive of." (p. 109; emphasis supplied.)

Support? Chapter and verse from a canonical gospel or even an extra-biblical historical citation please.

With these (and other) gross overstatements, the book's credibility deflates faster than a newly punctured Hummer tire.

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