Although it’s been several weeks now since Oprah’s long-running talk show went off the air, her influence is as present as ever. Hundreds of thousands of women continue to read her magazine, watch her network, and check her recommended reading list (and if you’re on it, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be a bestseller). Although she is adored by many, there are a number of others who are concerned about the form of spirituality that she promotes: a pantheistic worldview that unites God and creation in the same sphere of being, encourages a subjective view of truth and is opposed to the exclusivity of Christ as the only way to salvation.
Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett are two of the individuals who are concerned about the influence of Oprah’s spirituality. Their book, “O” God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality, examines a number of the claims made by Oprah herself and the spiritual teachers she endorses, their relationship with truth, religious pluralism and their view’s compatibility with the Christian worldview. Recently, Emily and I sat down to talk about the book—what we appreciated about it, Oprah’s impact on us and who should (and maybe shouldn’t) read “O” God:
One of the greatest difficulties Christianity faces in the western world today is it’s relationship with religious pluralism—in that the two are completely antithetical. In one chapter of the book, the characters engage in a dialogue on this issue, resolving in this outstanding excerpt:
Religious pluralism claims to be open-minded, but is it really? When we stop and think about the claims of religious or spiritual pluralism, we discover that actually, they don’t accept any faith expression that is not pluralistic. Even though pluralism is touted at many universities as “open-mindedness,” it’s actually just another form of religious exclusivity. . . . It excludes anybody who doesn’t believe it. Therefore, pluralism excludes the beliefs of hundreds of millions of Christians who claim that Jesus Christ is the only way for salvation. (p. 41)
Christianity and any other worldview will always be opposed to one another. We must learn to disagree in a winsome, humble way, but it’s helpful for us to understand that there can be no compromise on this issue. Truth cannot be reconciled to a lie.
Both of us would encourage you to take a look at “O” God by McDowell and Sterrett. Get a copy for yourself and maybe one for a friend. Go through the discussion questions together, and see how God might use your dialogue as an opportunity to open the eyes of those who cannot see the truth.
Title: “O” God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality
Authors: Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett
Publisher: WND Books (2009)