ABC Shortchanges Christians on Sunday
The Feb. 15th broadcast of ABC’s Sunday evening news featured Eckhart Tolle, a widely touted spiritual leader to stars such as Cher and Paris Hilton. While his books have, with Oprah’s help, sold more than 10 million copies, many Christians believe his teaching on “spiritual awakenings” is dangerous.
“Paris Hilton took his book with her to prison,” reporter Dan Harris quipped. “Cher swears by him… so does Meg Ryan. Oprah Winfrey even hosted an unprecedented ten-part online series with him.” Viewers were treated to videos of Tolle’s superstar supporters and crowds of people listening intently with Harris saying, “His many fans say he has changed their lives.” But when Tolle’s Christian opposition is briefly mentioned, the segment literally takes a dark turn.
Tolle’s critics were reduced to “some Christians” who were represented on screen by a dark stained-glass window of the Madonna and child. According to Harris, the “Christians” say Eckhart’s beliefs are not “compatible with the Bible,” and that he is “promoting the doctrines of demons,” The preceding text emerged on screen over a fiery, red page with flames appearing on the sides of the screen.
Who are these Christians? Viewers are left to guess.
Harris might have interviewed Frank Pastore, host of a large and successful Christian Talk show on 99.5 KKLA in Los Angeles. Pastore had this to say about Eckhart: “The New Age Movement is intellectually and spiritually bankrupt. But, it is making Tolle … —and especially Oprah—a whole bunch of money.”
Tolle’s controversial beliefs include the idea that the human ego, as in our “thinking,” is “destroying our lives.” He told Harris that the voice in your head makes you miserable and, “prevents you from being truly alive.” That voice, which others might know as conscience, “has a relentless need to be right,” Harris explained. The person who can shut out or ignore that voice will be at peace.
Tolle said to Harris, “All religions at their core have basic truths.” When Harris said “But many Christians would vehemently disagree with that. They would say, ‘Our religion is the one true religion.’”
“And that is called the ego,” Tolle responded. “It says, ‘we are right and you are wrong.’”
According to the Culture and Media Institute’s findings in the National Cultural Values Survey, 52 percent of Americans say they believe the Bible is God’s authoritative word. Harris’ claim about those who oppose Eckhart doesn’t fully portray the clear majority of Americans who believe in the Bible, and not Eckhart.