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Idol Chatter

Between the front page New York Times Style section article “Shaking Riches Out of the Cosmos,” which marvels about the fact that “The Secret” book is sitting atop the New York Times Hardcover Advice Bestseller List, and Newsweek’s online extravaganza “Decoding ‘The Secret,’” not to mention an official Oprah stamp of approval (she’s dedicated two shows to it), Rhonda Byrne, editor of “The Secret” book, is laughing all the way to the bank–WITH YOUR MONEY!

New York Times reporter Allen Salkin rightly compares Byrne’s “Secret” empire and its basic (and base) Law of Attraction message that “if you think it, it will come” to a long history of public interest in the latest “get rich quick” schemes (emphasis on the scheme):

Although “The Secret” is an overnight phenomenon, its message of think-and-grow-rich is but the latest version of a self-help formula dating back more than a century, with roots both secular and religious, and branches that have included Napoleon Hill’s best-selling “Think and Grow Rich” in 1937 and Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking” in 1952.

J. Gordon Melton, the director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, Calif., traces the origins of “prosperity consciousness” to 19th-century Christian Science. “It’s always waiting for slightly different forms of expression, the same old message,” he said.

In my Idol Chatter December review of the DVD, I slammed this watered-down, self-interested mockery of a viewer’s intelligence. This film’s message is so flimsy and so juvenile that I could barely sit through the screener. And now to find out that it’s sitting atop the bestseller list and getting top billing in major news outlets? I am rather appalled.

You do realize that by investing in “The Secret, you are merely making Rhonda Byrne richer, right? Not yourself?

“The Secret” is the latest New Age version of what has long been known as “The Prosperity Gospel,” which is anything that preaches the “good news” that you are meant to have lots of money, and that if you just support “our church” or buy “our book” than we we let you in on the “how to”!

And you should know: some people consider members of Prosperity Gospel movements as members of a cult. Don’t join the mania!

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