Tom Gilson

A New Earth, an Old Deception

A New Earth, An Old Deception

Book Review

Richard Abanes takes a thorough and critical look at Eckhart Tolle’s latest book, in his 2008 Bethany House book, A New Earth, An Old Deception: Awakening to the Dangers of Eckhart Tolle’s #1 Bestseller. It’s a study primarily aimed (through most of its length) toward Christian believers, drawing on Christians’ shared trust in the Bible as a trustworthy revelation from God. As such it could well be an invaluable resource for Christians who may find Tolle attractive, like Kelly at the 2:41 point in this YouTube video. Abanes draws 80 discrete statements out of Tolle’s A New Earth and painstakingly shows how they all fall short of truth.

The first chapter differs from the rest in comparing Tolle with Tolle, rather than Tolle with Scripture, providing a point of contact with those who do not adhere to biblical authority. For example, Tolle says, “every belief is an obstacle.” Abanes asks rather sensibly whether that itself is a belief. Later he quotes Tolle,

To be in alignment with what is means to be in a relationship of inner nonresistance with what happens. It means not to label it mentally as good or bad. . . . The Master responds to falsehood and truth, good news and bad news, in exactly the same way: [By merely saying,] “is that so?”

As spiritual as that may sound, Abanes shows that Tolle’s

[B]ooks and lectures are filled with judgments about what is good, bad, right, wrong, true, and false (for example, wars, exclusive religious claims, the witch hunts of Europe, materialism, sickness, addiction).

It is indeed an old deception, wrapped up in soothing spiritual language and propelled by Oprah’s powerful marketing. If you have questions about Tolle, or if you know of someone who thinks it may be a nice addition to Christianity, this short book may provide your best, most accessible set of trustworthy answers.

A New Earth, An Old Deception: Awakening to the Dangers of Eckhart Tolle’s #1 Bestseller by Richard Abanes. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2008. 173 pages plus endnotes. Amazon price US$9.59.

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