Neale Donald Walsch and "Conversations with God"
Some of today’s hottest selling New Age books were written by a middle-aged man who turned to God after four divorces, countless career changes and a car wreck that left him with a broken neck. In the middle of a February night in 1992, Neale Donald Walsch picked up a pen and wrote an anguished letter to God. “What does it take to make life work?” According to Walsch, a kind and loving voice heard only in his head answered that question, and many more in the days to come. Assuming the voice belonged to God, Walsch began to write down everything it said, and these utterances became the basis for the bestselling books known as “Conversations with God.” Not to be confused with Francis Fernandez’s “In Conversation with God,” a series of books containing Catholic meditations derived from the writings of the saints, Walsch’s books present a God who repeatedly reassures us there is no sin, no right or wrong, and no judgment. The Bible is not an authoritative source, the voice says, and claims that we were created in order “for Me to know Myself as God . . . through you . . .” All of Walsch’s books follow the same question-and-answer format between him and his “God” and touch on hundreds of subjects from sex to sin to salvation. “Walsch's books promote what he calls New Spirituality, which, among other things, argues that organized religions are divisive,” said the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a review of the 2006 movie based on Walsch’s life. “Like those of The Celestine Prophecy, Walsch's revelations are little more than a syncretic hodgepodge of gnosticism, pantheism and New Age mysticism laced with Christian terminology without any set dogma beyond an emotion-driven subjectivism. ("You make the rules!" God tells him.)” Walsch was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1943 to a Roman Catholic family that he claims encouraged him to search for spiritual truth. He refers to his mother as a “non-traditional believer. She rarely went to church and once told him she didn’t have to because “God comes to me. He's with me and around me wherever I am." Walsch claims this view of God at an early age led to his transcending a need for organized religion. This could also explain why his “God” claims that feelings, not the Bible, should be used as an authoritative source of Truth, that “your will for you is God’s will for you” and that no one should worry about others “but only, only, only about Self.” Jesus is described not as the Son of God but as a Master who understood the universal laws of manipulating matter and energy. Walsch’s “God” also described the disobedience of Adam and Eve not as sin but as a “first blessing.” There is no such thing as evil, only “objective phenomena and experience,” and no right or wrong. New Age expert Marcia Montenegro of Christian Answers for the New Age says many of the messages in Walsch’s books line up very well with the messages of someone who first appeared in the book of Genesis. ”Someone who questioned God’s Word, called God a liar, told Adam and Eve they could be like God, and that they would not die,” she writes. “This someone was the serpent, also known as Satan.” She concludes that Walsch’s “God” who attacks Christ, marriage and family, denies the reality of heaven, hell and the devil, and who promotes sorcery and other Gnostic philosophies is “a perfect picture of what Satan would say and would want us to believe.” Send your New Age questions to email@example.com