Monday, June 30, 2008

Eckhart Tolle and the Death of Truth

It is insightful to recognize that Eckhart Tolle is a number one best-seller. Even now we can see him on the New York Times Best-Seller List in the Paperback Advice books for two books in a row, the number one and two book, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, who is dubbed a "spiritual teacher who is going to help end conflict and suffering," as well as The Power of Now, which is allegedly a guide to personal growth and spiritual enlightenment.

Eckhart Tolle is a man who believes that if you go deep enough in your religion then you will all get to the exact same place. In other words, all roads lead to the same destiny.

Do all religions lead to the same place? Before I answer that question, let me issue a warning. Anyone who answers in the negative may well be ostracized for being narrow-minded and intolerant. That being said, here's my answer: no. Not all religions lead to the same place. It is incorrect as well as illogical to maintain that they do.

When you begin to examine world religions, religions like Judaism or Hinduism or Buddhism, you will immediately recognize that they directly contradict one another. Moses taught that there was one God. Krishna believed in many gods. Buddha was agnostic. Logically they can all be wrong, but they cannot all be right.

Not only that but the road of religion leads steeply uphill. The road of Christianity descends downward. What I mean by that is religion is fallen humanities attempt to reach up and become acceptable to God through what we do. Christianity, on the other hand, is a divine gift based on what Christ has done. He lived the perfect life that we could never live and He offers us His perfection as an absolutely free gift. Jesus taught that there was only one way to God. "I am the way and the truth and the life" said Jesus. "No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Tolle, who is promoted by people like Oprah Winfrey, says that all religions offer only glimpses of truth and no religion has total truth. In the final analysis his final arbiter of truth is subjective experience. As I've said many times on the broadcast, experiences are notoriously unreliable.

Eckhart Tolle says the moment you say "only my belief is true" and you deny other beliefs, then you've adopted an ideology.

That raises the question: What is truth? That was the very question Pontius Pilate asked Jesus Christ. In the irony of the ages he stood toe to toe with the personification of truth and yet he missed its reality. Unfortunately we today, as postmodern people, are in much the same position. We stare at truth but fail to recognize its identity. That's why people like Eckhart Tolle can deceive us. We have to recognize that truth, at its root, is an aspect of the nature of God. So if we're going to put on truth we've got to put on Christ, because Christ is truth and we, as Christians, are called to be the bearers of truth.

Christianity is not true because it works. It's not true because if feels right. It's not true because it's my truth. It's true because it's anchored in the Person and work of Jesus Christ who demonstrates that He is God - the one who spoke and the universe leapt into existence - through His resurrection. Truth is anything that corresponds to reality. It doesn't yield to the size and strength of the latest lobby group. It's not a mere matter of preference or opinion. Truth is true even if everyone denies it, and a lie is a lie even if everyone affirms it. Truth is essential, as such, to a realistic worldview. When sophistry and sensationalism and superstition sabotaged truth our view of reality is seriously skewed.

The bottom line is that the death of truth spells the death of civilization.


Jonathan Branch said...

It seems like a recurring theme is the idea that Jesus was a good teacher or even a prophet from God, but nothing more. How do people who admit as much but deny the exclusive truth claim of Christianity reconcile their ideas with the words of Jesus? AS C. S. Lewis pointed out, the statements Jesus made make him either a liar, a lunatic, or exactly who he said he was. Unless I've missed something, liars and lunatics don't make very good moral teachers or messengers for a God of truth. How do people like Tolle answer this?

reality check said...

Epistemologically, how do you or C.S. Lewis know for certain that Jesus actually said what the Bible quotes him as saying? Furthermore, Jesus never said he was God. Peter supossedly said that Jesus was the son of God, but Jesus never said "exactly who he was".

Seth said...

Reality Check, come on now, surely you don't believe that. You have to just be repeating what you heard someone else say. Did Christ not confirm what Peter said in the verse to follow (Matthew 16:17)

Great article Hank, Thanks for all you do.

ashleyalvina said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please keep using your voice.

Big Daddy Productionz said...

I enjoyed reading your article, I found it rather amusing and I'm glad to see that you have a position to take on certain issues. I would however like you to respond to this as I do have some questions that need clarification and you seem to know. Thanks in advance.

In your blog you say:

"He lived the perfect life that we could never live and He offers us His perfection as an absolutely free gift."

1) How do you know that 'He' lived the perfect life?
I percieve that to state a fact, which, is verifyable correct?

**If you have acquired that information from the bible, a book compiled years later, and as you say, or rather fact, that all experiances are unreliable then how can the bible be reliable?

2. I really am confused and could use your help here. If the gift of perfectionism has been offered to all how is it that we are not perfect than? If he gave us that gift and we are not perfect then aren't we obligated to be perfect since perfectionism is morality?

3. You wrote "We stare at truth but fail to recognize its identity." If we fail to recognize truth then how can we know truth when it is actually truth?

4. Now i'm really confused. You say "Christianity is not true because it works." and its definitly not true "because it feels right." and it definitly IS NOT true because "it's MY truth" HOWEVER YOU SAY IT IS TRUE BECAUSE..."It's anchored in a person?" and if thats true then they must not be perfect and also not 100% moral and then this person to which truth is based is also subjective because it comes from a non perfect person like us AND you immediatly said right after that that "Truth is ANYTHING that cooresponds to reality" so therefore the REAL TRUTH as you say is anchored in a person who is inperfect and also has a reality which means a perception of events which there for makes their truth subjective and if YOUR truth is based on subjective proof then it cannot therefore be truth than, right?

To ask further right below you say "Truth is true even if everyone denies it, and a lie is a lie even if everyone affirms it." Since you were not there you'd have to lie on TRUTH based on the perception of others which is not absolute and since the REAL TRUTH was human, not perfect, and had a reality verifying a perception who is to say that he lied even though everyone affirmed it as you say" How do you know?

5. If everyone denies Truth, how can we then know it to be true which requires a certain degree of investigation.

6. If your belief is truth then everyone who believes other than that is NOT truth.

It seems that YOUR sense of truth is equated with thought and subconsciously are you so mentally identified with that collapsable truth that you would rather protect your identity rather than let go of it to really find truth?

As I read your work I notice that you clearly define your position and claim your truth and pass judgement to those who are not in line with your percieved "truth" therefore I am wrong in your eyes and about 30 or more years ago I would have been killed for that. If God is that holy and has gifted you perfection what then would I be slain for especially if your percieved truth is not truth, your mental position and identity that you have established? That limits thought and then there can be no truth.


Anonymous said...

Eckhart Tolle has some valuable things tosay, that ARE compatible and helpful towards Christianity. Namely, the denial or destruction of the ego. This is the very definition and cause of our separation from God, the cause of all our suffering. A surface belief in God while maintaining a selfish egoic separation is not a full "belief", or knowledge of God.

To paraphrase CS Lewis, God is like sunlight. You don't do anything to bring God into your life, you merely push aside the curtains that you put up in the first place to let God come flooding in.

This is Tolle's message too, so focus on the 99% that is compatible and clear, not the 1% about the identity of God. Like you say, they are semantic differences and you can translate Tolle's work into Christian terms just like Tolle translated the bible to support his particular message.

Christians should say something positive once in a while instead of finding a small fault and dismissing the whole work.

Gary said...

Anonymous said, "Christians should say something positive once in a while instead of finding a small fault and dismissing the whole work."

Is this not the very thing you yourself are doing? That is; finding a "small fault" and "dismissing the "whole work" that Hank has published?

The fact is: Tolle is preaching subjectivism. If you believe subjectivism is the standard of truth, then you should have any problem with what Hank or any christian has to say since you probably believe they themselves are also "believing" subjectively.

Gary said...

Big Daddy states:
"1) How do you know that 'He' lived the perfect life?
I percieve that to state a fact, which, is verifyable correct?

**If you have acquired that information from the bible, a book compiled years later, and as you say, or rather fact, that all experiances are unreliable then how can the bible be reliable?"

It sounds like you believe that "proof" of anything requires some sort of verifiability. If that is the case then will you please be so kind as to verify that verifiability is what is required to know anything for sure. And if so, please verify that as well.

It seems that your objections are just as subjective as Anonymous' subjectivity.

Anonymous said...

I've met few Christians in life that follow Christ in a spiritual way. Show love and compassion for all, there lies the path. The way does not sit in dogma.

Anonymous said...

The message of the cross is nonsense to those who are being destroyed,but it is God power to us who are being saved.The power of now is not in or from Eckhart Tolle,but from God.The power is the cross and now is the word that the church emphasizes on it:The Holy past is present "now" with power.Let Oprah and eckhart if they dare,to speak on TV about the real "power of now" of the cross the true miracle of the blood in the book the coin of the temple by souheil bayoud.There you will find who is the false guru christ and who is the real Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior.

Anonymous said...

From: iamhere

Most of what I have read on this blog confirms that what Eckhart Tolle and other enlightened spiritual leaders are trying to teach us makes sense. Being can never be understood by the mind and can only be FELT when the mind is still. As long as you are identified with your mind, you will continue to suffer and deny the greatest gift that we ALL can ever receive---presence. Being is a state of oneness with all there is--not separateness--labeling, judging. finger pointing...etc

 What he teaches can apply to everyone and he does not specify that any religion is right or wrong. By doing that, it would only reveal ego identification.  He quotes and references scripture that pertains to enlightenment only. Your level of consciousness and awareness of presence is the key to freedom and some of us are not ready to free the mind. We believe that we are our mind---this is the disease.  The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are NOT the thinker.  The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there's a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought -- that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence.  You also realize that all the things that truly matter---beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace--- arise from beyond the mind.  This is when you begin to awaken!


dayofwrath said...

Gibran Khalil Gibran and now Eckhart Tolle and Oprah all these new age gurus are free to think what they want,but that is not the truth and opposite to christianity.Millions of people were attracted To Gibran who was a pioneer of new age in his book Jesus son of man divested Jesus of His divine nature and miraculous attributes presenting Him as a sententious sage,a guru.If we have to attain salvation through our own efforts,the sacrifice of Christ becomes useless.That is why I think Gibran painting of the crucified without blood.The HOLY BIBLE IS RIGHT and these gurus are wrong.I reiterate my request to Oprah if she dare,to speak on tv about the power of the cross the miracle of the blood on that good friday in Jerusalem in 1994 in the book the coin of the temple by souheil bayoud,(published in 2006).

RMKM said...

I agree with Hank about "subjectivism'. I am a Catholic religious coming from India. Even the religious orders in India are greatly influenced by this new age thinking. It has lot of truths in it. So my own formators and friends influenced me to follow this way. It was wonderful and I felt enlightened by the peace and serenity I thought I was experiencing. But later when I look back the wisdom I gained is nothing compared to what I lost on the way. The personal relation with the crucified lord and his resurrected life in the Spirit of God.
Every religion had something beautiful in it. But if we follow them we may gain many things at the expense of Christ. So the question do you need to become God or to be divinized in Jesus Christ. (in communion with Trinity)
new age spirituality is turning Christians heretical without themselves becoming aware of it. Ignatius Loyola says that when the "evil one" finds that he can't destroy you through temptations, it helps you to grow in a way that destroys you slowly.