Monday, May 19, 2008

A New Earth - Part 3

Continuing the page by page critique of Eckhart Tolle's book "A New Earth." Why Christians should be aware of the heretical implications of Tolle's message.

P 59: Tolle identifies the egoic mind with the inner voice we use for thinking and reading. Funny how this is a bad thing and yet it is absolutely necessary to read his book.

He tries to make thinking out to be something un-natural which possesses us, stopping us from being ‘aware.’ This unconsciousness (Jung) blocks out the true spiritual awareness. Hans Christian Andersen could have written a better plot.

P60: Tolle tries to separate ourselves from the I (ego) that we are. He insists that we are not the “I” that we refer to in the first person. This will dissolve any personal responsibility for mistakes that we make. If we are separate from the egoic “I,” then how can we be held accountable?

This egoic “I” is the source for us being opinionated – Tolle is doing 2 things here: he’s trying to diminish other opinions and secondly, he is expressing his own opinion! This gets crazier and crazier. Instead of “A New Earth”, he should have called his book, “A New Wonderland for Alice.”

Egos deep down are all the same – this echoes some Jungian psychology.

“Others are most other when I see them as my enemies” – Tolle has just dismissed his opposition in egoic terms…

P61: He quotes Christ’s lesson about the speck and log in the eye, equating Christ’s message with Tolle’s philosophy. Jesus is talking about hypocrisy, not opposition. (Matthew 7:3-5).

Tolle writes that name calling is the crudest form of labeling and the ego’s need to be right…and yet he is going to use this process when condemning religion, especially Christianity.

P62 Tolle gets it right when he talks about resentment – it does cause bitterness and offense.

Focusing on other’s faults only amplifies resentment – also true.

Tolle proscribe a ‘state of nonreaction’ to overcome dysfunction of resentment – Buddhist & Christian teaching.

P63: Nonreaction equals forgiveness in Tolle’s book – but forgiveness is a very proactive event. He sees it as a means of not reacting to the injury, insult, or offense. But that is being passive, not forgiving.

P64: Tolle urges his readers to try to catch the voice inside their heads and suddenly realize that you are not the voice. But you can no more separate the voice from self as you can the heart from the body. Is Tolle schizoid?? Also, by disassociating oneself from the “voice in the head” you once again avoid any responsibility for wrong thinking, wrong choices, and wrong deeds.

The old mind pattern is the ego…the new one is awareness.

P65: People can become addicted to resentment and anger as other are to a drug. This is absolutely true. Ask marriage guidance counselors…

Collective grievances can survive for centuries and fuel cycle of violence…this is true, but is Tolle going to use this against the institutionalized church?

Grievances contaminate other areas of life. Tolle is making some very good psychological points here.

P66: Tolle writes that Christ’s teaching to “Forgive your Enemies” is about undoing the egoic structure in the mind. This is bunkum! Jesus was relating to His culture and the hatred that His people espoused against the Gentiles, and in particular, the Roman occupiers of Judea.

P67: Tolle suggests that when we complain we are egoically implying that we are right and someone else is wrong – this is too general…usually we complain when something is wrong, not necessarily someone.

Being right makes us morally superior and highly judgmental. Tolle does not therefore seem to believe in boundaries, which makes his philosophy morally ambivalent or even amoral. He’s going to develop this argument of being morally superior against the boundaries and standards set by the Church.

P 68: ‘Ego takes everything personally.’ – Amen, so why do Tolle and Oprah get so defensive about their new earth philosophy? Why are their followers so visceral in their attacks?

The truth needs no defense – yet Tolle is not going to accept that Christ is the Truth.

P 69: ‘Only through awareness are you able to see’ – yet you need to think through to that awareness level. If it was all natural as Tolle suggests, you wouldn’t need a book to describe the process.

‘I am right and you are wrong is a dangerous thing in personal relationships’ – this may have been Tolle’s partnership experience, but a healthy marriage is willing to compromise and let each partner be right at different times.

Tolle is advocating his no boundaries, no absolutes again…calling right a mental dysfunction. He then starts to talk about moral relativism seen as a great evil by Christian teachings…but he never finishes the thought.

P70: Tolle begins to question, attack and diminish the Church. He talks about people being killed in the past – yet we’re more enlightened today. He talks about the truth being a story you had to believe in – he is calling the Gospel a story, rather than the word of God.

He suggests that we cannot find absolute truth in doctrines, ideologies, sets of rules or stories…in other words the Bible, ten commandments, the Gospels and teachings of the Church.

“All religions are equally false and equally true, depending how you use them” – this is universalism…in other words, anything goes.

P71: To believe in your religion as the truth is to use it to build up your ego and make yourself superior. He’s missed the point entirely. Believing in Christ’s words is to worship God faithfully.

There is one absolute truth according to Tolle, but it is not Jesus Christ.

The truth is inseparable from who you are. Yes, you are the truth. This is new Age narcissism. It points us away from Christ and puts ourselves in the place of God This is exactly why Christians should not embrace the teachings of this book.

Tolle even suggests that this is what Christ was teaching when He said “I am the way and the truth and the life.” He’s making Jesus conform to his philosophy. This truth is about the I Am within us all according to Tolle. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG!

Jesus was referring to the way in which people come to God. Again Tolle only half quotes the verse:

John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

It’s about the exclusivity of Christ being the True way to God, not an inner awareness of our own existence.

P72: Love is above the Law, etc…this is true. Quotes Augustine, who is referring to 1 John.

He writes about both sides believing to be in possession of the truth – which is egoic. But Tolle, Oprah, and their followers do this all of the time…not practicing what they preach.

P 73: Talks about religious and ideological conflicts inflicting suffering upon humanity, ‘even on children.’

Them and us mentality = insanity to Tolle. Normal equals insane on planet earth…this is Tolle’s opinion. (Did someone steal his candy when he was a baby????)

Sin is insanity, thus there is no accountability. John & Augustine however would agree, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8

P74: TYPICAL NEW AGE STATEMENT: our common divinity is rooted in the one Life – in other words, we are all gods.

Mission to eradicate evil – you are likely to turn into what you are fighting against…the story of Dune comes to mind again…Paul.

P75: Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and whatever you resist, persists. Psychology of addiction. Also echoes Paul’s own words - Romans 7:19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing.

The war against – Tolle : I know that it is condemned to failure…Tolle applying his egoic mind…believe me, I know, etc…he going against his own philosophy again. Being judgmental before issue is experienced.

P 75/76: Tolle talks about diseases re-emerging and new ones evolving because of modern day medicine. He goes on to say that Homeopathy and Chinese medicine do not create new diseases…this is his opinion and not based upon facts at all.

Ego is a collective dysfunction, the insanity of the human mind. Once again, no responsibility for our actions. Tolle than states that “Nobody is wrong.” – this is moral relativism – so Hitler wasn’t wrong when he gassed 6 million Jews?? This is a dangerous, fascist type of philosophy that could go horribly wrong if adapted and adopted by our society – which is why the Church needs to counter it.

P77: Tolle talks about the enormous surge moving through during times of fear, anger or hostility. This is ego…but it is also adrenalin!

Can you feel something within you driving this fear or hostility?

P78: Presence will overcome ego and bring about peace. Awareness is the power concealed in the present moment. This is Buddhist teaching.

Ultimate purpose of human existence is to bring that awareness/presence into the world. This leaves it to us to take the initiative, instead of allowing God to usher in his presence and Kingdom. It also makes us the ones who bring salvation into the world, instead of Christ. THIS IS WHY THIS TEACHING IS HERETICAL.

P79: Tolle uses Jesus again to strengthen his argument. He quotes Christ’s saying “Deny Thyself,” but once again Tolle half quotes the statement. Tolle uses Christ’s words to deny ego and find awareness. Christ uses His own words to have people deny themselves and follow Him. It’s about sacrificial discipleship, not spiritual navel gazing.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Tolle calls the essential beingness the “I Am that I Am” – this is blasphemy. Whether he intends it or not, Tolle is equating himself and devotees with God – this is the sacred name of God.

Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM : and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Tolle writes about the phantom self that comes into existence when thought takes over. I think he is drinking to much kool aid and watching too many episodes of Star Trek here.

P80: Ego uses people to get what it wants – underlying emotion that governs ego is fear – the fear of being nobody, nonexistence and of death. I get the funny feeling that Tolle is going to use this line of argument against Church control.

“Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.” – This goes against Christ’s own statement, only the truth will set you free meaning Himself. (When talking to the Jews about His teaching)

John 8:31-32 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

P81: DANGER: ALL STRUCTURES ARE UNSTABLE - a sutra – Buddhist word for sacred lesson – but this is also anti-disestablishmentarianism

Tolle equates formlessness – NIRVANA – with Jesus’ teaching on eternal life. But this is what Christ Himself had to say: John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. Faith and devotion to God in Jesus Christ is the key to eternal life, not Tolle’s formlessness.

P82: Tolle talks about the egoic superiority that people feel when they pass on gossip. This is true.
P83: This page may contain why the book is so appealing to Oprah – the bane of being famous…people believe that through celebrities and famous personalities, they can become more than what they are. It’s called idolization in the Bible.

Famous people become more alienated from themselves and others – also become more unhappy and more dependent on their popularity – is Tolle speaking to Oprah here????

Calls Albert Einstein superhuman and humble…does Tolle idolize Einstein here…like everyone else, Einstein was quite conceited…and Einstein’s fame was based upon his thinking…seems like an unusual choice for Tolle to make, because his book seems to want to avoid thinking altogether.

P84: Genuine relationship – outward flow of open, alert attention with no wanting in between. Tolle is describing what Martin Buber called “I-Thou” relationship.

Egoic relationships are predominantly – wanting, thwarted wanting and indifference. Gluttony, lust and sloth – three of the seven deadly sins.

A New Earth - Part 2

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