Thursday, April 3, 2008

Church of Oprah Exposed

By Rick Pearcey

A friend writes via email:
I think most of you know how I feel about "forwarded messages." This one was so striking, however, that I felt I needed to pass it on. I recommend that, if at all possible, you spend 6 minutes looking at this You Tube video. It is startling.
The video is titled "The Church of Oprah Exposed," and it runs approximately 7 minutes.

In it is an Oprah quote regarding Jesus: "There couldn't possibly be just one way." (She says it, that settles it.)

Oprah discusses "God" with an author of one of her book-club selections: "God isn't something to believe; God is . . . and God is a feeling experience, not a believing experience . . . . If God for you is still about a belief, then it's not truly God . . . " (But what if God is a fact of life -- say, of the sort that could be born in a place called Bethlehem?)

Also noted is Oprah's endorsement of Barack Obama for president.

The YouTube video concludes by pointing viewers to a website that promotes a new book, Don't Drink the Kool-Aid.

Biblically, of course, the data demonstrate that God is a rational, personal, objective being who thinks, acts, feels, and has spoken in history, space, and time so that human beings as thinking people do not have to escape from the facts of reality to affirm meaning in life, the dignity of man, or solid answers to moral dilemmas in an ethical universe.

This is not about big or small churches, big or small TV ratings, mesmerizing gurus, pantheistic celebrities, private belief systems, or private faiths where "God" is no longer in a "box" but can be whatever floats your boat, diet, gender, weekend, or TV show -- whatever you want he, she, it, or all of the above to be, since rational categories no longer apply.

But if rational categories no longer apply, how do we rationally conclude that Jim Jones and his suicidal Kool-Aid theology were wrong? His "god" was out of the "box" and people died. If rationality is irrelevant to spirituality, then we cannot say Jones was "wrong," for the word "wrong" is a meaningful linguistic symbol bound to the box of rationality beyond which certain gods, apparently, live.

Yes, there were warning signs, but the cult leader preached community and "welcomed people of every race and ethnicity," notes a PBS story. Apparently the Kool-Aid reverend did nice things for lots of people before the real world came crashing down upon his private theology and those who drank deeply of it.

The humanness of the Biblical data provides a way out. Here, human beings get to ask tough questions and resist sales pitches. Here we observe a concern for objective truth, fact, evidence, and that which accurately describes the world in which all people must live irrespective of their subjective imaginations, bank accounts, or political affiliation.

"Test everything," says 1 Thess. 5:21. That includes celebrity, religion, prophetic wannabees, presidential hopefuls, "God," etc., etc. It's the Biblical, humane, and wise thing to do.

Rick Pearcey is editor and publisher of The Pearcey Report (articles).