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Eckhart Tolle: A Christian Critique Login/Join 
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Dear people,

A voice from Ostend/Belgium. I am a Catholic since some years now after a journey through Jehovah's Witnesses, evangelicalism, pentecostalism, Zen Buddhism. I have always had a high esteem for people like R. Rohr, T. Keating, J. Main, L. Freeman, M. Fox, R. Panikkar, D. Steindl-Rast, and pioneers in the past like Bede Griffith, Henry Le Saux, Lassalle, D�chanet, K.G. von D�rckheim and many others who have tried to integrate Eastern points of view (f.e. on meditation such as Vipassana and Zen) with Christian faith. But sometime ago I came along this rich website, which is certainly worth considering, also along the lines of this debate on Eckhart Tolle and non-duality versus Trinitarian love!

http://www.catholicculture.org/

http://www.catholicculture.org...pos=&searchid=247873

http://www.catholicculture.org...313&CFTOKEN=58371116

http://www.catholicculture.org...pos=&searchid=247876

http://www.catholicculture.org...pos=&searchid=247877

http://www.catholicculture.org...pos=&searchid=247878

FUNDAMENTALISTIC? I don't think so!

PAX,
Fred
 
Posts: 123 | Registered: 09 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That website adopts the tactic of hurling mud and hoping some of it will stick. In discussing Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey in Christian Hermeticism it tells us, "The tarot is a deck of cards used in fortune telling" and "The Library of Congress has classified the book under 'occult sciences' and 'cartomancy'." As anyone who has actually read the book will tell you, it has nothing to do with fortune telling.
 
Posts: 140 | Location: Canada | Registered: 26 May 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Welcome, Derek. We have a review of Meditations on the Taro on this thread, if you're interested. It is truly a remarkable work -- real "meat and potatoes" for the serious spiritual seeker.

- - -

Freddy, I've looked over that Catholic Culture site before and would tend to agree with Derek's view that it "adopts the tactic of hurling mud and hoping some of it will stick." I agree with some of their positions, but generally don't find them well thought-out. Some, indeed, are rather harsh and unfair, such as this assessment of centering prayer and Contemplative Outreach.
quote:
Centering prayer is not compatible with Catholic tradition; its techniques are neither Christian nor prayer. They are at the level of human faculties and as such are an operation of man, not of God. The deception and dangers can be grave.
One wonders why prayer cannot involve the operations of the faculties and if they even know what centering prayer is, in the first place? I have my own reservations about some of what teachers on CP say, but would never go so far as to say that it is neither prayer nor compatible with Catholic tradition. That's just wrong. In this discussion, the author maintains that teachings on CP are New Age, which is ridiculous. CP has solid roots in Catholic spiritual practice as the simple word recommended by the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, and in St. Teresa's teaching on the prayer of simplicity, or simple regard. A state of acquired recollection is assumed by these authors to be a pre-requisite for this kind of prayer, and that's my main beef with CP teachers who recommend the practice rather indiscriminately.

What did you find to be helpful on that site, Freddy? The fact that they make strong distinctions between Christianity and Eastern spiritualities. That is indeed important.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Dear ones,

I agree with you after all. 'Catholic Culture' is overly critical and many times unfair. My question indeed concerned especially the adaption of Eastern spiritualities and the use of Jungian therapy in a Christian pastoral and healing context: http://www.catholicculture.org...817&CFTOKEN=10975066
Jung is a gnostic and even an occultist, but even then he has said true things about the unconscious, the shadow, archetypes and so forth... The Canadian Jean Monbourquette is one of the many priests/psychologists who seems to be more of a Jungian therapist than a Christian priest. This I can difficult understand!
Christian psychologists/therapists who are doing a great job in integrating P and C are to my opinion Nelly Astelli, Simone Pacot, Marc McMinn a.o. Any response?

PAX,
Fred

PS Indeed, even the great H.U. von Balthasar wrote an introduction to 'Meditations on the Tarot' and there is a picture of pope John Paul II with the books on his desk!
 
Posts: 123 | Registered: 09 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Dear Phil a.o.,

By the way, thanks again for all those wonderful discussions and this rich website! I have already directed many searching people to it!
There isn't anything in poor Belgium like it!Please pray for Belgium!

Greetings,
Fred
 
Posts: 123 | Registered: 09 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Some information concerning my previous messages:
http://www.bethasda.org/
http://www.amazon.ca/Sauver-ce...-perdu/dp/2850493562
http://www.amazon.com/Integrat...proach/dp/0830828303
(but I know this has little to do with Eckhart Tolle!)
Fred
 
Posts: 123 | Registered: 09 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Dear Phil,

Where can I find a discussion on 'good and evil'? many Christian priests/monks/therapists are influenced by Jung. Jean Monbourquette says: 'Man is originally good'. Gr�n says: 'Eating of the tree of good and evil is growth in consciousness' and so forth... Gnosticism! But, what is the right relation of good and evil? Is evil only 'privatum boni'? Manichean thoughts of an eternal struggle between a good and an evil God is of course not Christian, but what about Augustine in 'The City of God', who was for a time influenced by neo-Platonism and Manicheism?
And what are the implication for healing? Many therapists attack Christianity because it is dualistic. But at the same time, there is a moral relativism in our world which surpasses maybe (?) everything in the past!

Greetings,
fred
 
Posts: 123 | Registered: 09 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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God is love. I don't know how love can work if there not an "other".

Caneman
 
Posts: 99 | Registered: 25 February 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's a relevant reflection recently posted by Johnboy, in case you missed it.

http://shalomplace.com/ubb/ult...t_topic;f=1;t=000309
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just opened my email and someone sent the following to me on Tolle's view of Jesus. Good reflections:
- http://prolepticlife.wordpress...say-that-i-am-jesus/

quote:
Tolle�s Jesus was not the unique Son of God, God incarnate, the Lord, the Creator, the only Savior. To Tolle Jesus is not the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Jesus was simply a man who became awakened or enlightened to the �Consciousness,� or the �Presence.� Apparently, to Tolle any teachings that are attributed to Jesus that contradict his views, or any teachings by Jesus disciples contrary to his views are a distortion and a misunderstanding.

Of course, to accept Tolle on this point you have to think he has more understanding about Jesus than those who personally lived with him. You have to believe that Tolle has some special insight into what is accurate and true in the New Testament and what is not. You have to believe that Tolle is able to pick out of the New Testament those things which Jesus really taught and those things which he did not teach. Somehow Tolle is able to say with all seriousness, Jesus� contemporaries and subsequent generations of followers of Christ have all misunderstood Jesus, and now he is going to explain him for us.
Tolle also repeats the lie that the Inquisition killed around 6 million women. Guess that must mean something bad about Christianity, or organized religion? Many of these movements were initiated and carried out more by politicians or their ecclesiastical hacks.

What really happened?

quote:
In 2000 Pope John Paul II called for an "Inquisition Symposium", and opened the Vatican to 30 external historians. Their findings discounted certain long-held beliefs. It emerged that more women accused of witchcraft died in the Protestant countries than under the Inquisition. For example, the Inquisition burned 59 women in Spain, 36 in Italy and 4 in Portugal, while in Europe civil justice put to trial close to 100,000 women and burned 50,000 of them.[11][12] 26,000 condemned "witches" died in Germany
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition

Tolle could have found out about this easily enough. Do you think we'll get an apology or retraction from him?
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for this article Phil. It's right on with what we've been discussing on this thread.

There's a passage in John that I really love:

The person who has My commands and keeps
them is the one who really loves Me; and
whoever really loves Me will be loved by
My Father, and I too will love him and
will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him.

I will let Myself be clearly seen by
him and make Myself real to him.

John 14:21 (Amplified Bible)

Praise God!!! Thank you!! Thank you!!!

As I read Tolle, B. Roberts, and so many gurus who certainly live in metaphysically evolved /unusual states, I don't get the sense that they have seen Jesus in the way He states above.
 
Posts: 352 | Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan | Registered: 24 December 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's a piece from a Catholic professor of religious studies, published in the National Catholic Reporter:
- http://ncronline.org/NCR_Onlin...b/041808/041808t.htm

quote:
What, then, is the verdict? My reading of Eckhart Tolle is that there is a real difference between his God and the God of Christianity, as most of us, even most of the Christian mystics, understand that God. For Mr. Tolle, God is in the world in a more radical way than for the Christian. Mr. Tolle sees persons as being like water drops, and God as being like the ocean from which the drops come. For him our inner nature, our tiny morsel of Being, is literally and completely divine. It is of the same substance as God. As Fr. Keating sees it, however, we are not like drops of water; rather we are like little sponges in the water. We are completely saturated with the water, but we are not the water.

Theological differences between Mr. Tolle�s God and the Christian�s will loom as important for some Christians, and they have a right to know what they are in for if they tune in to the show. Other Christians may not notice or care. Frankly, I wouldn�t worry about them. Mr. Tolle�s theology is only a footnote to the therapy he holds out to his audience. What�s essential, as he sees it, is the experience of God in our depths, not the way we think about God. After all, thinking is the problem. Both Mr. Tolle and the Christian mystics agree that to know God we must get beyond thinking, beyond creeds, beyond belief and experience his presence. If enough people did that, the world would be new indeed.
There we go again: thinking is the problem.

No, it's not! A certain kind kind of thinking is the problem. There are all kinds of thinking, some of which actually conduce toward silence, and other types which can co-exist with contemplation (as I know it, at least). If thinking is the obstacle to what Tolle describes as the experience of "God," then I seriously doubt that what he's referring to is the real God. More likely, it's the state of simple awareness -- non-reflective consciousness: Lonergan's first level of consciousness.

Note, too, how this Catholic teacher is unperturbed by the apparent discrepancies between Tolle's implicit theology and Catholic teaching. No big deal! Enjoy the therapy!

And so we must get beyond the creeds, dogmas, etc. I don't like the way this sort of thing always gets thrown in. How many people think God is a bunch of words anyway? None that I know, and not a directee I've ever met with (hundreds through the years). EVERYONE knows that God isn't a concept or a dogma. Good heavens! Roll Eyes It's all so straw-mannish, imo, and seems a back-handed way of minimizing the manner in which these conceptual fingers really do point us toward the real Moon.

Of course, one of the things people like about Tolle and others of his ilk is that they seem to be saying that we can just jump into God without dealing with our sins, or accepting Christ, or -- especially! -- joining a Church! You don't need religion, community, nor even the Son of God to die on the cross for you! He's a postmodern secularists' dream come true! Wink
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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i know this post is 88 replies deep...and I just wanted to add my 2 cents:

Power of Now is the only one I read, havent gotten to a New Earth, although I bet I can predict what its about (a combo of 2012 and the return of Christ as Christ consciousness)

After reading Power of Now...there were allot of good insights, but its practically something old re-packaged and re-sold. Plus all the emphasis is shifting into the Now....which can be rather difficult.

Instead, he should have put his focus on receiving the Holy Spirit within...that's so much better and automatically shifts you into the Now along with a vast array of other awsome by-products.

You must be born of water and of Spirit.....Jesus said (paraphrase). Tolle takes all the direction away from the Spirit in my opinion and I think it could be doubtful that he himself has the Holy Spirit...but who am I to judge...I could be wrong.
 
Posts: 26 | Location: chicago | Registered: 06 April 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Dominicus, we've had a lot of discussions on this topic. It's impossible to count the Holy Spirit out of any experience, of course, although the kind of open, non-judgmental attentiveness Tolle emphasizes doesn't require an infusion of supernatural grace to achieve. That's why I consider it to be more about natural mysticism, or metaphysical mysticism, if one prefers.

w.c. has written on number occasions of the difference between present moment awareness and Eternal Life. Good distinctions, imo.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil,
I agree with you completely. I know yogi friends who have reached states through Tolle-like techniques which parallel yogic techniques and I know a few Christians who by Grace recieved the Holy Spirit and have their states. It seems as if the Grace by the Holy Spirit states are deeper and more powerful impressions, but the fireworks do not last. Whereas the Tolle-like techniques are more subtle and do last, and this group of people seems more non-judgemntal. But again this is turning into walking a fine line in stereotyping so I cease here.
 
Posts: 26 | Location: chicago | Registered: 06 April 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A year after the converation I want to add my two cents on "The New Earth," by Eckhart Tolle...
It appealed to me on many levels, however, when I narrow it down, the real draw was,
I could finally escape the residue from the damage of my past, by simply being in the
present moment. And better yet, I could escape my present suffering through acceptance...

Exciting possibilities...Didn't work so well after trying to put it into practice for a year.

I stumbled across Shalom Place and my heart has been re-awakened through the postings of all. Also, found this quote that gave me a little kick in my britches; "A God without wrath, brought men without sin, into a Kingdom without judgment, through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross"...

Yikes...The light shines. That my consciousness is God, or that I am not a sinner, but a eternal soul who has no need for repentance or forgiveness from God all collides with the Cross of Christ. Whew! What was I thinking? No, not thinking, but trying to find another spiritual gimmick to avoid death to self...

Quote;It's from Daniel Berrigan-"Before you get serious about Jesus, first consider carefully how good you are going to look on wood."
 
Posts: 173 | Location: East Lansing, MI | Registered: 18 July 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've just discovered a thoughtful Catholic critique of The Power of Now.

It's written by Roger Buck, who explains elsewhere on his site that he spent 20 years in the New Age movement before converting to Catholicism.

Here's his critique:

http://corjesusacratissimum.org/2009/04/article-2

For those of you who don't want to read the full article, his main point is that he rejects The Power of Now's assumption that what Eckhart has found is what everyone else is looking for.

"I, at least, am not at all looking for what has happened to Eckhart Tolle," he says.
 
Posts: 998 | Location: Canada | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very good indeed! Thanks, Derek.

What's bugged me most about Tolle and others of similar stripe is their contention that their experience is the same as that of Christian mystics. In "A New Earth," he quotes liberally from the Gospels and interprets them in the light of his experience, implying that the "kingdom" Jesus taught about is what Tolle is writing about, only Tolle can be more direct and helpful to modern people. Thus I appreciate the reviewer's point:
quote:
For throughout my long New Age years, the assumption Tolle is making about one single path that he is qualified to offer, might have washed over me, completely unnoticed. Unnoticed, because I had never paid serious attention – as I suspect Tolle has also never paid serious attention – to the idea that just because one has had a certain perhaps very profound form of mystical experience, does not mean ipso facto that this is the ONLY valid form of mystical experience.


Exactly!

Everyone one of us knows that we can all have different experiences of one another, so why not of God? There can be broad categories of experiences, but within each there are sure to be various nuances.
quote:
Dear Reader, in summing up, may I simply say that these are my personal convictions after years of reflection? That the kind of New Age-ism that takes its cue from Tolle IS about something radically different from Catholic Christianity. And we have a choice. And we deserve to know, that we have a choice – and that different spiritual paths DO exist, leading to different results in the soul.


Yes indeed.
 
Posts: 3862 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, thanks Derek for bringing R.Buck's
article to our attention.

Wonderful reflection on Tolle's illusion of the ONLY valid form of mystical experience. I can relate to that illusion. I recall vividly that my initial experience of unity consciousness was so consuming that I was absolutely sure nothing could be higher/better/more like God--directly seeing God in all of creation with absolutely no differences between any two people, things, etc. tore the roof off of ordinary consciousness. Seeing the all-pervading One closed my mind to the God of Jesus and the possiblity of mystical graces that bring about an unbearable, crushing love, a union with the Father for which one becomes eager to surrender all. Notice that things like:
---discerning God's will,
---experiencing a burning and Holy fire of Love,
---passionately embracing redemptive suffering--

are not common themes among those New Age/Hindu who have found the 'divine within.'

Phil helped me conceptualize these different experiences as two 'orders' of reality--the Created Order and the Divine Order. The Created Order is what one experiences /sees in natural mysticism (what Tolle describes). The Divine Order, however, is underway through a Christian rebirth and reconstruction of humanity, that which only the Holy Spirit can bring about. Do I understand that correctly, Phil?
 
Posts: 1091 | Registered: 05 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thank you, Unknown Friends.

I appreciate all these comments on my article of course and the very considerable level of sincerity and thoughtfulness at this forum.

Now appreciating all of that I want to come into this pool. But from my impressions at first blush, I wonder if I will be a fish out of water?

I intend to say more in an Introduction in the lounge. But a little hint here. Just a single example. Again at first blush, there appears to me more interest at this site in Kundalini than the Sacraments.

As a complete and rather inhuman celibate years ago I had profound intense yet very peaceful experiences I associate with Kundalini. They were intense indeed, filled with joy. Yet if I never had another, I could not care less. By contrast, if you cut me off from the Sacraments, I would feel maimed for life ...
 
Posts: 5 | Location: Spain now, Ireland soon. | Registered: 14 February 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Shasha:
Phil helped me conceptualize these different experiences as two 'orders' of reality--the Created Order and the Divine Order. The Created Order is what one experiences /sees in natural mysticism (what Tolle describes). The Divine Order, however, is underway through a Christian rebirth and reconstruction of humanity, that which only the Holy Spirit can bring about.


That's an interesting distinction, and one I hadn't heard before. Is it related to the distinction between acquired contemplation and infused contemplation?
 
Posts: 998 | Location: Canada | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Roger:

I found this website when I was looking for a Christian critique of Eckhart Tolle. My first impression of SP, from reading the discussion of Tolle's writings, was very favorable. But then I wandered onto the Kundalini forum here and I was puzzled. I'm Kundalini-clueless, a bit curious about it, but not much. I didn't read here for a while because I assumed kundalini was a big part of Shalom Place, and that wasn't of great interest to me. I'm glad I came back to read more, though, and I think you'd find, too, there's much here worth your time.
 
Posts: 578 | Location: east coast, US | Registered: 20 July 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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FWIW, I'd like to add that it's been helpful to me to hear from people who have experienced kundalini and can make the distinction between that and Christ. No-one here pushes kundalini or equates it with God, so I think Phil and others are doing a real service to all by talking about their experience of k in distinction to the Holy Spirit.

And, too, Roger, it looks like you have things to share, so let's hear more from you.
 
Posts: 578 | Location: east coast, US | Registered: 20 July 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Welcome, Roger. Enjoyed your review very much and have recommended it to others.

Re. kundalini . . . it's off in its own little corner where those who aren't interested can ignore it if they wish. The topic pops up in other discussions (like this one) but it isn't "the point" of this board. I included it here, however, as I wrote a book on this topic and there aren't many places Christians can discuss its significance and place in the Christian spiritual life. What's become clear to me through the years is that there are many Christians who've awakened this process, usually through contemplative practices, and they're very confused about what's going on. So, it's a ministry, of sorts, I guess you'd say. I don't encourage anyone to pursue this, however, and those who are put off by the discussions ought to just ignore them as matters of irrelevance to their situation.

Looking forward to your contributions. We have lots of open discussions, so just jump in wherever you'd like. Smiler
 
Posts: 3862 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
So, it's a ministry, of sorts, I guess you'd say. I don't encourage anyone to pursue this, however, and those who are put off by the discussions ought to just ignore them as matters of irrelevance to their situation.


Hi Phil,

I've said sevaral times that I don't experience kundalini, but the discussion of it here has been a ministry to me in a different way. Religiously, I've lived a pretty sheltered life, and reading-wise, I'm more up on gardening than religion. So there's a lot of religious stuff "out there in the world" that I haven't been interested in becoming an expert on. And to be honest, that might seem kind of threatening to me: i.e., is Jesus really unique, or how big a part of my belief in Him is because I was raised with it? I can't read extensively on every religion in the world, so I see nothing wrong in taking the experiences of less "sheltered" Christians to heart when they say they've gone a different route but still found themselves at home with Christ.

Spring is coming! Anyone need gardening help? Smiler
 
Posts: 578 | Location: east coast, US | Registered: 20 July 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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