A prominent Christian apologist believes that mass media has made Americans vulnerable to mass-marketed spiritual ideas, like those pushed by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra.
Dr. Ravi Zacharias, who details this in his new book , Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth In An Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality, said that Americans have been made susceptible to the allures of spiritual ideas because of mass media.
In an interview with CP, Zacharias said that television has "built in it the capacity of god-makers."
"The vaster the audience, the more vulnerable the people watching the media," said Zacharias, who notes "how weak the human mind is" when dealing with mass media.
In Why Jesus?, Zacharias points to the examples of Oprah and Chopra as people who have become very influential due to American media, and who advance new age ideas on spirituality.
Though brought up Baptist, Oprah drifted away from this theological background as success corrupted her outlook.
"Success is more difficult to handle than failure," said Zacharias, who felt the corruption of outlook could come to any television personality "when millions actually see you as bigger than you actually are."
"Mystics, spiritual masters all are in the lineup to give the viewer the feeling that she who has become all but deified in their eyes can now make each viewer just like them," writes Zacharias in his book.
"It is a long way from the wanderings of a Buddha or the sacrifice of the Son of God, but it has eye appeal in a time in history when gullibility is king and riches control appetite."
Zacharias is not the first Christian apologist to express concern about the spiritual message of Oprah's programming. At McLean Bible Church in 2010, apologists Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett, co-authors of the book "O" God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah's Spirituality, discussed the pantheistic leanings of the spirituality Oprah advocates on her shows.
"The Christian God is a personal creator God which all truth resides, who is totally outside of ourselves and outside of our universe," said McDowell before an audience of around 1,500.
"When Oprah and others refer to God, it is an impersonal force. And I think one way that comes out is that they will say, 'Look within you and find yourself from within. Find that God-consciousness. That is God.'"
Regarding Chopra, Zacharias describes in his book Chopra's "Quantum Healing" ideas, which are billed as being the perfect combination of eastern mysticism and science.
Zacharias quotes experts on Quantum Physics to argue that Chopra's ideas have little basis in the field.
"The simplistic solutions of Deepak Chopra cannot stand against the lofty and deep teachings of Jesus Christ," writes Zacharias.
"Only in his answers will we find the ultimate hope for the human heart."
Published by FaithWords, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., Dr. Ravi Zacharias' book Why Jesus? will be released on Wednesday, January 25.