The world is currently experiencing an explosion in false teachings. “Teachers” who claim to teach about how to live a good life, along with how to make dreams come true, have gained huge followings.
These feel-good teachings have seduced well-intentioned people away from sound doctrine. People love to hear that they are right, along with having the right of getting everything they desire. Such teachings tickle the ears and seduce the heart.
Self-improvement authors have taken the place of religious teachers of the past. With their writings focusing on productivity, gratitude, visualization, meditation, and other topics, they claim to teach people how to live good lives. I was one of them.
But they miss out on the essential truth. The truth is that we are all sinners at heart and we are all in need of a saviour. We cannot save ourselves through anything we do, after all, we’re the cause of all the problems we experience! Our savior has come in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and was resurrected after three days. Any teaching that doesn’t recognize those aforementioned facts is missing the mark.
Jesus Christ is the only teacher who will always steer you true. He is also the one teacher who cares about your afterlife, which is eternal. This world is fleeting, it’s destined to end. What matters isn’t what we accumulate or achieve in this world, but whether we get right with God now, so we don’t face His judgment later.
It might be hard to hear those things, but I started this website to share the truth with people, and the truth is rarely comfortable to encounter.
Self-Improvement Authors As Teachers Of The Religion Of Self
The fastest growing religion today is the Religion of Self. Self love, self care, self acceptance. It’s mantras are “Believe in yourself”, “Be your best self” and “Focus on your self”.
The main doctrine of the Religion of Self is that human beings are good and worthy of everything good. It’s main propagators, are self-help gurus who teach that there is nothing inherently wrong with any of us; if we get our act together and think positive thoughts our life will be transformed into a paradise on earth.
Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad thing to want to live a good life and accomplish your dreams; God gave us a mind and body so we could do these things. Educating ourselves on how we can make better choices and cultivate life-enforcing habits is a good thing. Some self-help gurus have great ideas which, when applied, can certainly improve people’s lives.
The problem arises when we focus on “improving” ourselves at the cost of serving God. Then self-improvement becomes an idol. We become focused on the world and achieving things within it, when it’s God’s will for this world and everyone in it to face His judgment one day.
When that day comes, no amount of self-improvement will justify us before God. Only one person can do that and His name is Jesus Christ.
New Age And Self-Improvement
Throughout my years of reading I’ve plied through several self-improvement books. What I’ve realized since becoming a christian is that many self-improvement authors espouse ideas from the New Age movement.
The main idea of the New Age movement is that humanity is evolving into a higher form of consciousness. Other ideas are that the universe is conscious, our thoughts influence reality and we attract things into our lives which complement our predominant mental and emotional states, also known as “the law of attraction.
The New Age Movement Is False
While some ideas in the New Age movement may be true, like the one where thoughts influence reality, the main idea of the New Age movement is false; humanity isn’t evolving into a “higher” form of existence.
Humanity isn’t evolving. We’re the same now as we were when we were expelled from the Garden of Eden for disobeying God. We’re sinful creatures at heart who lust after sin – the Bible tells the stories of people just like us; violent, selfish, deceitful individuals who wanted to ignore God and do things their own way.
We’re all wretched sinners, we all fall short of the glory of God. God is good all the time. How can sinful beings like us ever hope to be with God after we die? One sinful thought is enough to disqualify us from being in His presence.
Recognizing this is the first step in accepting Jesus’ salvation. None of the New Age self-help gurus ever mentions the transience of this life and the eternity of the one to come. They all focus on making today the best it can be and ignore that we all have an appointment with the judgment of God, who will pour out His wrath on any sinner who hasn’t repented and accepted the salvation of Christ.
These authors may have the best intentions at heart, I doubt any of them wants to purposefully lead people astray. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
I’ll now focus on a few examples of self-help authors who promote New Age beliefs.
New-Age Self-Improvement Authors – Jen Sincero
One of those authors is Jen Sincero. She wrote the books “You Are a Badass” and “You Are a Badass at Making Money”, among others. I’ve only read the latter of her books.
In the book she has a chapter titled “A Tiny but Mighty Chapter on Universal Intelligence”. The chapter is dedicating to describing the intelligent creative force which organizes the universe; it organizes all matter, is the source and maintainer of all life and it drives the growth of all living organisms. She writes that we are all connected to this life-giving force and can tap into it at will to receive guidance. She says that by doing so we open ourselves to our highest creative and earning potential.
What Sincero describes in her book is masonic doctrine. The concept of an impersonal force which drives the universe we can tap into. The tenets of masonism have become firmly embedded in popular culture today – their ultimate goal is to convince adherents that humans can evolve into gods through mental and physical rituals.
As a christian, I condemn masonism, which is incompatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ. For the simple reason that humans can’t work our way to God. We are sinful by nature, we chose to reject God in the Garden of Eden and thus rejected the very purpose of our existence; to be in relationship with God.
God is holy, and thus, must dispense justice for our rejection of Him. The justice we deserve is eternal separation from Him. There is nothing we can do to work our way into God’s good graces. This means we all stand condemned before God.
The good news is that God paid the price for our sin through His son Jesus Christ. All we need do is accept God’s redemption and be set free. In Jesus, God reached down for us. It’s up to us to choose to take His hand.
New-Age Self-Improvement Authors – Joe Dispenza
Another author who talks about tapping into the intelligent creative force which animates the universe is Joe Dispenza. I wrote a review on him, before I was a christian, which you can find here. The review was positive, now I know better.
Dispenza has written several bestselling books, among them “You Are the Placebo”, “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” and “Becoming Supernatural”. Of these, I have read the last one.
In it Dispenza describes the same thing Sincero does; an intelligent creative force which animates the universe. Dispenza, however, treats the force primarily as one of healing. By tapping into it we can align with the optimal blueprint of our bodies established by the creative force and heal our bodies and minds. Not only that, through it, we can also create the lives of our dreams, have all the experiences we want, provided compliments of the creative force, through diligent meditation.
Dispenza has popularized occult practices by packaging them in easy-to-digest, innocent-sounding teachings topped with a bow of self-improvement. He is promoting the same idea that Sincero is, in his own words.
Relying on forces other than God leads to destruction. The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:5-9:
Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Relying on the creative “force” of the universe is turning away from God. It is giving credit where none is due. It might seem like a good idea to do so at the time, it might even deliver the results you expect, but when we do things aside from God we cannot prosper. We build on sand.
There is only one God. He knows everything about us. He knows our past, present and future; every thought in our head and emotion in our hearts are known to Him. Trust in Him and Him alone and He will deliver you. Anyone or anything else will let you down, eventually.
New-Age Self-Improvement Authors – Gregg Braden
Gregg Braden is a cohort of Joe Dispenza. He has worked in high tech, travelled the world and studied ancient traditions from varied people’s. He has written a bunch of books; “The Divine Matrix”, “Human By Design”, “The Wisdom Codes” and many others. Of these I’ve read the first two.
In “The Divine Matrix”, Gregg Braden writes about an unseen web which contains the universe and holds it together. He writes that human beings are capable of interacting with this web, this “divine matrix”, through our emotions. By cultivating positive emotions we can communicate what we want with the web and receive experiences which compliment our emotions, in return.
Gregg Braden relies on peer-reviewed science to back up his claims, weaving everything together with his trademark ear-tickling, feel-good narration.
The Issue With All Of This
The issue with all of these authors’ writings is not that what they say isn’t true – their writings are sprinkled with half-truths, that’s what makes them so convincing. There is indeed a spiritual dimension to life. We interact with it every moment of every day.
The issue with these authors is that they stray from God. They never point to Him, and thus, mislead their readers down roads where all they find are dead-ends at best and destruction at worst. We are here because of Him; He holds us in the palm of His hand. All the blessings in our lives come from God, we ignore Him at our peril.
The Bible contains all the wisdom these authors, or false teachers, claim to possess, and more. Not only that, the Bible accurately predicted that false teachers would arise in the last days, they would tickle people’s ears with seductive teachings and lead them away from God. It is written in 2 Timothy 4:3-4:
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
We are called to be servants of Jesus Christ, not to be servants of our-selves. Which is what these authors all proclaim, using rituals and methods to wield spiritual forces to serve ourselves. We must be on guard against these kinds of teachings.
How I Was Mislead
I read these authors and more. I was convinced by their arguments; I believed the ideas they peddled and practiced them. They never worked exactly as advertised. Results always came with a hidden cost. That’s what happens when we meddle with forces we don’t fully understand and when we reject the one true God, the Father of Jesus Christ.
If you are an adherent to the teachings of any of these teachers, I invite you to measure them against the Bible, the Word of God. Building on feel-good “teachings” promoted by New Age authors is always dangerous, because they are false. We can’t expect to build a lasting structure on fake foundations.
When we cut God out of our lives and fail to honor and glorify Him we are playing with fire.
A friend of mine taught me saying “If it’s new it ain’t true and if it’s true it ain’t new”. Nothing is new under the sun. Human nature hasn’t changed since God created us. We are still the same today as we were when the Bible was written thousands of years ago. All new news is really old news happening to new people.
There is no need to go looking off into the words of man for the solutions to our problems nor for support and succor when life gets us down. God has already provided us with all the doctrines we need to lead a good life. He wants us to rely on Him for all of our needs. He is the perfect Father and loves blessing us when what we ask for aligns with His will for us.
Proverbs 3:5 says:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
We are to trust in God, He will see us through safely.
What Happens When We Trust In God
What’s ironic is that when we put aside all the feel-good New Age teachings peddled by authors like Jen Sincero, Joe Dispenza and Gregg Braden and embrace the living God of the Bible, our lives begin to change in unexpected ways for good.
By repenting of our sin and believing that God has redeemed us through the blood of Jesus Christ, we accept that we are incapable of saving ourselves. We gain salvation, eternal life with God after death. We accept Jesus Christ as our Lord, we allow Him to step into our lives and take the wheel. We begin to rely on God’s supreme understanding, rather than our own supremely limited one.
God then directs us where we are needed most. Where our gifts are put to the highest use. Helpers appear in our lives. Doors begin to open. It doesn’t happen in the way we expect, which is exactly what “relying on God” is about. Of course things happen in ways we don’t expect when we rely on God. Our understanding is limited, anything we expect we are expecting from our limited viewpoint. God sees all, knows all and understands all; he understands us better than we do ourselves. He knows what we need and when we need it.
Relying on Him is the wisest thing we can do. That’s what He wants for us. He wants to take care of us and for that to happen we need only call on Him and have a relationship with Him. God always steers true, even when we don’t understand His methods.
I hope this article has shifted your thinking. If you felt uncomfortable reading it, that’s a good thing. It means you are encountering ideas which challenge your beliefs. If you read the article to the end, I commend you. You are open to learning the truth. Learning the truth is rarely a comfortable experience.
And the truth is Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. No one gets to the Father but through Him. He has done all the work for us at the cross. He is our saviour, deliverer and Lord. We can rely on Him to justify us before the Father, or rely on our own sinful selves, which guarantees us eternal separation from God.
If you’re interested in learning more about what Jesus Christ and what he did for us, I invite you to read a Bible. Or go to a Bible-teaching church and talk to christians there. You’d be surprised at how critically minded christians are. We need to be alert at all times to guard our minds and hearts from false teachings which would lead us astray. If you want to have a sound philosophical discussion, talk to a christian.
To God the glory.