A Question I Was Asked:

What is the "Law of Attraction"?

'What is the "Law of Attraction" and how does this effect religion, especially Christianity? I have heard conflicting things but I am looking for clarification.'

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, first of all it does not affect true, biblical Christianity one iota, so put your mind at rest.

In going a little deeper, first of all we must briefly consider the so-called "New Thought Movement." This was a quasi-spiritual movement which developed mainly in the United States during the late 19th century. It sought to emphasize metaphysical beliefs and it consisted of a loosely allied group of Christian-professing groups and a branch of the theosophist movement, but individual authors from neither background also became involved. Today we would mainly consider this as part of the New Age Movement. The influences were concerned to consider the effects of positive thinking, the law of attraction (which we look at in more detail in a moment), healing, life force, creative visualization and personal power (the latent "spiritual power" within the individual).

The idea was often promoted that "Infinite Intelligence" or "God" is ubiquitous, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, all sickness originates in the mind, and 'right thinking' has a healing effect. So we may see that these New Ageist influences took a wide spectrum into their consideration. Parts of these influences accepted Theism (there is an omnipotent God out there), but there was much disagreement with many believing that divinity dwells within each person and that all people are 'spiritual beings.' Many also taught that the very highest spiritual principle is in the act of loving one another unconditionally. The belief that people should love each other fully unconditionally soon led to the idea that promiscuous sex was always good as long as it could be separated from such 'selfish and destructive' emotions as jealousy. Most of the influences also believed that "our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living."

Several smaller religious groupings became especially involved in this American 'New Thought' movement, including the Unity Church, and the Church of Divine Science. Many of the underlying influences, however, were never Christian at all but were rooted in Buddhism and eastern mysticism. It is interesting that this influence (or, amalgamation of influences) developed in the 19th century United States because that is the century and place which saw the rise of numerous cults and sects which sought to pervert biblical Christianity. We have William Miller and the Seventh Day Adventists, the Mormons, the Watchtower Society (Jehovah's Witnesses) and the rest. So we may perceive that New Ageism was just another of these.

These influences are alive and well within areas of modern Protestant evangelism in the form of the 'health, wealth and prosperity gospel,' an influence which has been so destructive of sound, biblical evangelism. When certain confused teachers say that our very words can make things happen ('positive confession'), but only if we "believe," they are showing the direct influence of these teachings; they then set out to pervert the biblical teaching of Faith which the Bible always firmly ties in with the sovereignty and jurisdiction of God, turning it into something which enables us to manipulate God to give us abundance - in the present life. Unfortunately, certain "Bible teachers" have discovered that they can make a lot of money by using this positivist 'think big, think healthy, think wealthy' approach. One day, however, they will have to answer to Almighty God for so willingly deceiving the naive and gullible.

'Law of Attraction'

The specific phrase Law of Attraction, used widely by these New Thought writers, refers to the idea that our thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) can affect things outside of our minds, not just through motivation, but by other means. The claim is that a metaphysical path is set up by a person's positive and ambitious thoughts and actions which directly affects our everyday lives and are fully capable of affecting those we come into contact with.

The concept of the 'Law of Attraction' became more widely popular after the release of The Secret, a 2006 film. This motion picture was inspired by the bestselling book of the same name. 'The Secret' listed three required steps — "ask, believe, receive" — as the essence of a supposedly pretty much infallible 'Law of Attraction.' This led to this concept being discussed on several US talk shows around 2007-2008. Not surprisingly, perhaps, in view of her famous enthusiasm for New Ageism, Oprah Winfrey showed an especially great interest.

But Is It Really True?

Now, we should say certain things right away. There is no doubt that confident people tend to do better in life - nobody can deny that. It is also known that people with a positive mind and a positive outlook on life, do better than continual pessimists when faced with a major illness or disease. That just seems to be part of the way that God designed our minds and bodies. There is a God-given relationship between our minds and bodies. The writer of Proverbs understood that:

'A happy heart makes the face cheerful,
but heartache crushes the spirit.' (Proverbs 15:13).

'A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.' (Proverbs 17:22, NIV throughout).

However, the concept that our confidence about life can affect things outside of ourselves is fully unproven except for the obvious fact that positive and friendly people are always liked and will do better when, for example, being considered for promotion. Does the 'placebo effect' "verify this law" as has been claimed? I don't think so. People who are generally confident, hopeful and trustful of others always do better than those who are none of these things, this, again, goes back to what Solomon believed.

Sadly, there is a tragic record of people who were determined to be "positive" about their cancer finally succombing to the disease - their general optimism and positivity will have doubtless done them much good along the way, but it never caused them to be healed.

The 'law of attraction' - apparently - has been employed by various celebrity 'stalkers' in an attempt to facilitate a scenario in which the celebrity would 'fall in love with' the stalker but it did not work out that way and some such people (that is, the stalkers) are now either undergoing psychiatric treatment or are in prison.

Various scientists have stated that many of the Law's claims are impossible, violating scientific principles and a 'scientific' understanding of the universe. However, I don't think that this particular objection from certain scientists need overly delay us - how many things has "modern science" now been wrong about? More seriously, 'the law of attraction' has been implicated by involvement in areas of the occult and we must always remember that the New Ageist foundation of this teaching, and it's associated additional 'New Thought' teachings, were always very open and accommodating to eastern mystic influences.
Robin A. Brace. May 22nd, 2010.