I. Mind-Ism: A Competing Story of Reality
A. What is Mind-Ism? (Chapter 9)
In this view, Mind is all that exists. In the beginning there was Mind and that is where it ends.
This story is officially called “Monism.” In the Christian picture of reality God and the universe are separate and distinct. However, in the monistic or mind-ism story of reality they are one and the same, no distinctions. Greg called this view mind-ism to help us remember Mind everything.
B. What are some conclusions based on mind-ism?
1. We are gods.
Popular New Age book The Secret we read this: “You are God in a physical body. You are spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal life expressing itself as you. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet.”
The reason we don’t know we are gods is we have forgotten that fact.
2. We need to be enlightened.
We have lost our way and we need to find our way back. There are many spiritual paths that bring us to our ultimate destination.
Enlightenment takes many lifetimes to achieve: It will take thousands of lifetimes, as we come back and try again over and over again to work off Karma (the consequences of our past actions). Re-incarnation fits the mind-ism story of reality. We need to keep coming back to work off our moral wrongs. Mind-ism completely rejects grace.
Mind-ism is an exclusive belief: When someone gives you the mountain illustration to show how all religions are equal here is a standard response. “If I say Jesus is the only way to heaven, am I right or am I wrong?” If he says I am right then Christianity is the only way to heaven. If he says I am wrong, then we know at least one road doesn’t lead to heaven; the Christian road.
The only response is to say, well that is true for you. When they do this, they are forcing their belief on you. Don’t let them do that. When they try to force their belief on you, politely tell them this is not what you believe. Tell them you believe Jesus is the only way for everyone, everywhere, and for all time. Then repeat, is Jesus the only way to heaven? Am I right or am I wrong?
Everything is an illusion: The only thing that is real is this God and therefore everything else is an illusion. All life is a dream in the Mind of God. All life is part of this illusion.
3. Mind-ism claims we are everything.
The Secret that celebrates our common divinity. “The earth turns on its orbit for You. The oceans ebb and flow for You. The birds sing for You. The sun rises and sets for You. Take a look around. None of it can exist without You. You are the master of the universe. You are the heir to the Kingdom. You are the perfection of Life. And now you know The Secret.”
If we are an illusion and then how can we be the masters of the universe, heirs to the kingdom, and the perfection of life? This must be a heck of an illusion.
Mind-ism is high on individual freedom and low on responsibility. Gods answer to no one. As CS Lewis once wrote about the New Age, “All the thrills of religion and none of the cost1.”
The New Age adherents don’t need to investigate if it is true. Religions are to be enjoyed and not defended. Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die and get another chance to try again.
C. The New Age story is not the Christian story
1. New Age teachers use our language
They love to use the terms “The Christ,” the Kingdom of God within you,” “eternal life,” “the way, the truth, and the life,” and more. They will talk about Jesus and reference the Bible.
Even though they use our language our stories are not the same. And yet many Christians fall into the trap of adding new age beliefs to the Christian story. The primary reason is many socalled Christians don’t understand our story of reality. As we talked about earlier, re-incarnation fits the New Age story but not ours. It is similar to taking pieces from a puzzle and trying to fit it into a different one. It doesn’t work.
According to Christianity, after death comes judgment, not re-incarnation. The writer of Hebrews says, Hebrews 9:27 (NIV) Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. Re-incarnation is eliminated in our story. But it fits perfectly in the New Age story of reality.
Mormons have a different story of reality and yet they use the same terms we use. When Mormons or New Age followers use our terms, what can we do? Simply ask the question, what do you mean by that?
Bottom line, when the New Age uses our language they are simply trying to steal from our story. Our pieces don’t fit in their puzzle and their pieces won’t fit ours.
2. Problem of evil is a major problem for mind-ism
The major weakness of this type of belief system is the problem of evil. If God is all and all is God then evil is part of God. CS Lewis in his classic Mere Christianity:
“You [mind-ist or pantheist] do not take the distinction between good and bad seriously, then it is easy to say that anything you find in this world is a part of God. But, of course, if you think some things really bad, and God really good, then cannot talk like that. You must believe that God is separate from the world and that some of things we see in it are contrary to his will. Confronted with cancer or a slum the Pantheist can say, “If you could only see it from the divine point of view, you would realize that this also is God.” The Christian replies, ‘Don’t talk damned2 nonsense.’ For Christianity is a fighting religion…it also thinks that a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that insists, and insists very loudly, on our putting them right again.”
If God is above good and evil, then there is no difference between good and evil. Remember differences are an illusion. That means ultimately there is no difference between Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler if there is no difference between good and evil. Good and evil are part of God.
II. Why are we here?
1. Matter-ism: We all know things should be a lot better but the matter-ist cannot say that. According to their beliefs there is no way the world is supposed to be. There isn’t a problem of evil because evil cannot be universally defined. And there is no good because there is no standard by which it can be defined.
2. Mind-ism: Remember mind-ism teaches there is only a Mind. God is all and all is God. Therefore, it teaches a cosmic unity and there are no distinctions. Differences are simply an illusion. Therefore, there is no difference between good and evil and they are part of God. Mind-ism provides no good answer as to why the world has gone bad.
3. God-Ism: What God-ism entails is there is someone behind it all, a personal Mind who created the universe, is distinct from it, and rightfully rules over it. God’s ultimate answer to the question of where is God when people are suffering; He is right there with us in the person of Jesus Christ; fully God and fully man.
- 1 Greg Koukl, The Story of Reality, pg. 60.
- Session 4 The Story of Reality 3
- Session 4 The Story of Reality 2
© Steve Bruecker
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