Saturday, February 24, 2007

Beyond Positive Thinking Update

My premier post to Thought Renewal was Saturday, June 04, 2005 and it was a short response to one of the first books I'd read that mentioned the concept of attracting things - positive or negative - into our lives based on our thinking (i.e., the "law of attraction").

Yes, I'd heard that what we focus on grows and that we reap what we sow. But Robert Anthony's book Beyond Positive Thinking opened an interesting perspective for me by clearly demonstrating the power of "right thinking."

My concern with his book is that, while many of the concepts are sound, it is based on a gnostic worldview - as much of this type of literature is. Here's what I wrote in my first blog entry:
Interacting with Beyond Positive Thinking, a book by Robert Anthony. One of the many self-help resources available online and anywhere. I like the challenge to move beyond positive vs negative thinking and begin right thinking, but listen to this:
The truth is we are in darkness because of our ignorance. (p 2)
Really? Is lack of knowledge all that is wrong with our world? Hmm. Let's put this to the test over the next few weeks. Whenever I do something wrong I'll just go to my bookshelf and get more knowledge. I suspect I'll be reading quite a bit.
Today: Although I was a bit cynical in that first post, I still hold that knowledge is not the supreme answer to our darkness. We see educated derelicts all around us (and no, I'm not trying to be political here :-) We need something more than right thinking to save us from ourselves. Anthony's answer to the world's darkness is ultimately that of the gnostic. And gnosticism is simply salvation by knowledge:
This definition, based on the etymology of the word (gnosis "knowledge", gnostikos, "good at knowing"), is correct as far as it goes, but it gives only one, though perhaps the predominant, characteristic of Gnostic systems of thought. Whereas Judaism and Christianity, and almost all pagan systems, hold that the soul attains its proper end by obedience of mind and will to the Supreme Power, i.e. by faith and works, it is markedly peculiar to Gnosticism that it places the salvation of the soul merely in the possession of a quasi-intuitive knowledge of the mysteries of the universe and of magic formulae indicative of that knowledge. (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia)
The quasi-intuitive knowledge of the mysteries of the universe. Magic formulae. Doesn't that mark this current surge of interest in this movement? And the teachers of The Secret are right there lead us into salvation. Well, that path has already been laid out:
"God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:27)

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