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Robert Schuller is Evil

November 1, 2010

Huh, who knew the power of positive thinking was so ineffectual?

Most likely, a few of you are surprised I haven’t commented on this situation yet. Let me just say flat out: Robert Schuller is evil. He sells people a bill of goods that can’t possibly work except in a fantasy world. He gives people expectations that cannot possibly fulfill themselves in real life, and the space between false expectations and reality is called disappointment. Robert Schuller is supposed to be a pastor, a Shepherd, but telling fantasies–even if he smiles and is real nice about it–to people cloaked as religion is evil… or vile. Order those four letters however you like.

That’s the short version. Now the longer one.

A couple of weeks ago Robert Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral and Hour of Power infamy filed for bankruptcy as they are tens of millions–tens of millions!–of dollars in debt. First the irony, then some thoughts.

Currently Schuller’s daughter is being groomed to take over the empire. The only thing worse on the Hour of Power than her charisma is the music; but it is her husband who is ironically interesting as he has authored several books with his father-in-law. Such as:

The Power of Being Debt Free

*sigh*… without any help from me–and as a test whether you have any critical thinking skills–all of the lights should be flashing on your dashboard right now, and should be indicating to you there is a really, really good chance that Schuller is full of crap. So let’s see if there are any valuable lessons to be learned from this theological, philosophical, and economic fiasco.

Robert Schuller is a ‘possibility’ apostle and sincerely believes in the power of positive thinking. I abused my own psyche and watched the opening of his show yesterday. He prayed something along the lines “We know good things can happen because we are in a positive place with positive feelings where positive things can happen.” If you’re just positive enough with God all things are possible.

Christianity er, wait, it’s not Christianity. Westernized Syncretistic Sanitized Economic Philosophy (Schuller’s religion) is not the only religion where this sort of thinking exists. There are non-theist versions of this philosophy as well. As equally tendentious, immature, and self-centered as Schuller’s.

Here’s the problem: it plain just doesn’t work.

Now having a good attitude is one thing. Conquering self-defeating attitudes is another. Directing your energies towards a task in an energetic and useful manner is important. There are certain ways and manners in tackling issues and problems that are simply more productive than others.

BUT!

There’s always a but… but this does not mean then that these things are formulas. This goes back, in my opinion, to what we have discussed before: the illusion of control. What makes “sense” to some attracted to the manipulatable “principles” of their make-believe economics is that we are all inculcated in the scientific age and are deeply ingrained in post-enlightenment thought, so we know that causes have effects. If I eat more calories than I use I will get fat. If I drop a pencil it will go down and not up. Our world works a certain way and we use our knowledge of how it operates to navigate it quite successfully; however, as we all should know: life doesn’t always go the way we plan regardless of how positive we are or how good our attitude and intentions are.

Now, what should make sense to a mature adult is something along the lines of: if I spend more than I have I will be broke; if my company borrows tens of millions of dollars more than it earns it will have to declare bankruptcy but for some god-forsaken reason this is not how the mind of the ‘possibility’ thinker works, instead they operate under the delusion that just because something is possible they can make it happen with positivity magic.

G. K. Chesterton once wrote, “If we want, like the Eastern saints, merely to contemplate how right things are, of course we shall only say that they must go right. But if we particularly want to make them go right, we must insist that they may go wrong.” The problem with possibility or only-positive thinking is that it leaves it’s practitioners with a massive blind spot: things can go wrong.

It is those that can see the most possibilities, positive and negative, who will make the best plan. If things are ‘bound’ to work out, or positive outcomes are the only ones possible then you will find yourself quite unprepared when life actually happens.

With the current economic situation in the USA, Robert Schuller should be banned from any form of communicative media. Sure have a good attitude. Be thankful for the wonderful blessing of existence, health, and family. If you live in the western world you have access to a life that in the scope of human history is obscenely blessed and wealthy. Be positive. Be grateful. Be thankful.

But be honest. If you have bills to pay, you can’t do magic. You might have to work and you might have to save. Or you can pretend like a small child that the world operates under fantasy economics and will give you money, and you can take out whatever sort of mortgage, or run up several credit cards because more money is ‘bound’ to come your way. If you choose to do that you might also want to keep the number of a good lawyer close by. You’re probably going to have to join Schuller in the bankruptcy line.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2010 5:42 pm

    Scot, I think you’ve sugar coated it! I wholeheartedly agree with you and your assessment.

  2. C. Alan Loewen permalink
    November 1, 2010 7:58 pm

    Superb post.

    In the secular arena, friends of my own are learning how any discussion on the so-called “Law of Attraction” can have me spitting nails in seconds.

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