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By Warren B. Smith
Several months after the tragic events of 9/11/2001, Oprah Winfrey did a special program on the ten most “memorable thinkers” she had ever met.1 One of these memorable thinkers was a controversial New Age channeler by the name of Neale Donald Walsch who teaches—among other things—that we are all “God”2 and that “Hitler went to heaven.”3 Oprah’s high praise of Walsch provides important insight into the strong New Age beliefs she attempts to pass off as being “Christian.”
Who is Neale Donald Walsch?
In 1992, Neale Donald Walsch, a disillusioned and distraught former radio talk-show host, public relations professional, and longtime metaphysical seeker, sat down one night and wrote God an angry letter.4 He was amazed when “God” immediately answered his letter by speaking to him through an inner voice. That night, and in subsequent conversations, Walsch wrote down all the dictated answers to his questions. Walsch’s Conversations with God, Book 1 was published in 1995 and became the first in a series of best-selling Conversations with God books. It seemed that in Walsch, “God” had found yet another willing channel for his New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality teachings.
In a style reminiscent of John Denver and George Burns in the movie Oh, God!, Walsch and “God” present a more “down home” version of the same New Age/New Gospel teachings that were conveyed through previous “inner voice” dictations to Helen Schucman (A Course in Miracles), Barbara Marx Hubbard (The Revelation), Benjamin Creme (Messages from Maitreya), and many others. With Walsch playing the role of devil’s advocate, “God” cleverly plays off of Walsch’s leading questions and comments. Walsch and “God” come across in these conversations as a couple of “everyday Joe’s” who systematically dismantle biblical Christianity with their straight-from-the-source, “thus saith the Lord,” “spiritually correct” teachings. With the assurance of two foxes now in control of the henhouse, they emphatically assert that their New Gospel is from God and the “Old Gospel” is not.
Delighted by the fact they are being taken seriously by millions of people around the world, “God” and Walsch appear to thoroughly enjoy their process of bringing the public up to spiritual speed. Continuing to build upon the foundation of New Age doctrine already introduced through other channelers, “God” and Walsch add some special twists of their own to the New Gospel story. Using Walsch as the straight man, “God” introduces many of his more extreme teachings with smug, authoritative declarations such as: “There are no such things as the Ten Commandments,”5 “So who said Jesus was perfect?,”6 and “Hitler went to heaven.”7
Hitler and Death
Regarding Adolph Hitler, Walsch’s “God” makes a number of provocative statements about him. The net effect is a minimization of Hitler’s actions and a glorification of death. The following are several examples of “God’s” comments about Hitler and death:
The real issue is whether Hitler’s actions were “wrong.” Yet I have said over and over again that there is no “right” or “wrong” in the universe. A thing is not intrinsically right or wrong. A thing simply is.8
Now your thought that Hitler was a monster is based on the fact that he ordered the killing of millions of people, correct? . . . Yet what if I told you that what you call “death” is the greatest thing that could happen to anyone—what then?9
So the first thing you have to understand—as I’ve already explained to you—is that Hitler didn’t hurt anyone. In a sense, he didn’t inflict suffering, he ended it.10
The mistakes Hitler made did no harm or damage to those whose deaths he caused. Those souls were released from their earthly bondage, like butterflies emerging from a cocoon.11
Walsch, always the public relations man, anticipates reader incredulity at statements like these by expressing apparent surprise and then asking “God” questions that the skeptical reader would probably ask. But in the process of seeming to challenge “God”—which he does with considerable skill—Walsch actually enables “God” to further expand upon and reinforce the thoughts and ideas contained in his teachings. Not surprisingly, Walsch always seems to come around to “God’s” point of view—even to some of his more extreme views about the nature of “God,” the glorification of death, and his strange proclamations regarding Adolph Hitler. In his book titled Questions and Answers on Conversations with God, Walsch tries to address reader concerns about some of the comments “God” makes about Hitler and death. In response to one person’s confusion, he states:
Yet while the books do state that life is eternal, that death is nothing to fear, and that returning to God is joyful, I do not believe that any reasonable interpretation of the material could fairly portray God as condoning the killing of human beings—or brushing it off as if it were of no importance or consequence.12
But his attempted explanation that his “God” does not condone killing human beings or taking death lightly is woefully inadequate and totally unconvincing. Neale Donald Walsch is caught in the vortex of his own twisted channelings. His “God” contradicts the one true God of the Bible at every turn. Contrary to what his New Age “God” teaches, we are not God; Satan is real; there is spiritual deception; there is a hell; and Jesus is Lord. In his convoluted rationalizations about Hitler and what he did, Walsch does not address the fact that he and other New Age leaders highly recommend Barbara Marx Hubbard’s The Revelation. This is a book in which the New Age “Christ” describes a future “selection process” that would result in the mandated deaths of all those who refuse to comply with the bottom-line doctrine of his New Spirituality—that we are all “God.”13 Thus, it would certainly appear that the New Age “God” and “Christ”—through their channeled New Age books and teachings—are trying to make it easier for people to rationalize the future elimination of Christians and all who oppose the New Spirituality.
Humanity as “God”
At one point in their conversation, Walsch’s “God” expounds upon the fact that man is not subject to God because man is “God.” His “God” explains there are no rules, and there is no right or wrong because man, as “God,” is his own “rule-maker.” Walsch’s “God” contends that because “God” and humanity are one, it is therefore up to humanity to determine what “God” wants to do. If humanity wants to make up a new set of rules this late in the game, humanity can do that because it was humanity—as “God”—that devised the original rules in the first place. Everything is relative. Everything is up to the prevailing majority. Therefore, because humanity is believed to be “God,” humanity can create whatever rules and whatever future it wants. “God” tells Walsch:
You are the Creator and the Created.14
All your life you have been told that God created you. I come now to tell you this: You are creating God.15
You are your own rule-maker.16
In truth, there is no such thing as a “sinner,” for no one can be sinned against—least of all Me.17
Think, speak, and act as the God you are.18
Your future is creatable. Create it as you want it.19
There is only one of Us. You and I are One.20
And do not stay so “stuck” in your present beliefs and customs that you halt the process of evolution itself.21
Walsch’s “God” makes it clear that his postmodern progressive “revelation” is for people who have never really understood his teachings about man being “God.” Walsch’s “God” contends that the only real “sin” is for man to see himself as sinful and separate from God. He states that the only “devil”—or “Satan”—is the separatist thinking that causes people to make a distinction between man and God.
When at last you see that there is no separation in God’s World—that is, nothing which is not God—then, at last, will you let go of this invention of man which you have called Satan.22 (emphasis added)
The mind can make the belief in separation very real and very fearful, and this belief is the “devil.”23(emphasis added)
Echoing A Course in Miracles and other channeled New Age teachings Oprah Winfrey has also endorsed, her New Age “God” states that only as humanity sees through the illusion of “separation” and “sin” and affirms its own godhood and “Oneness” with all creation, will the planet be saved from ultimate ruin.
New Age/New Gospel Politics
Walsch’s New Age “God” warns that in the future people will have to make a choice between the “old” and “new” gospels. The choice they make will have great bearing on the future of mankind. His “God” declares that humanity, by collectively imagining and envisioning its highest hopes and dreams, can override Bible prophecy by consciously creating a positive future. “God” expresses great optimism that the New Age/New Gospel spirituality will prevail and tells Walsch that humanity is standing on the threshold of a “golden” “New Age.”
The twenty-first century will be the time of awakening, of meeting The Creator Within. Many beings will experience Oneness with God and with all of life. This will be the beginning of the golden age of the New Human, of which it has been written; the time of the universal human, which has been eloquently described by those with deep insight among you.
There are many such people in the world now—teachers and messengers, Masters and visionaries—who are placing this vision before humankind and offering tools with which to create it. These messengers and visionaries are the heralds of a New Age.24
Regarding how the New Age will be achieved and ultimately overseen, “God” impresses Walsch with the importance of bringing spirituality into politics and government. Walsch’s “God” is very specific about how this spiritualization of politics should ultimately manifest itself:
“God”: Something will have to be new if you wish your world to change. You must begin to see someone else’s interests as your own. This will happen only when you reconstruct your global reality and govern yourselves accordingly.
Walsch: Are you talking about a one-world government?
“God”: I am.25
“God” then exhorts Walsch to carry out his mission to change the world and bring in a spiritually based new-world order by issuing this charge:
Go, therefore, and teach ye all nations, spreading far and wide The New Gospel: WE ARE ALL ONE.26
And certainly, Walsch seems to be doing his part. Responding to his “God’s” charge to spread the New Gospel and to help establish sympathy for a “one-world government,” he co-founded “The Global Renaissance Alliance” to help further the New Age agenda for world peace. GRA members include Deepak Chopra, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Wayne Dyer, James Redfield, and Gary Zukav among others.
Walsch, “God,” and Hitler
And while Walsch’s New Age “God” describes his unbiblical plans to save humanity, he also puts forth his bizarre views regarding Adolph Hitler. The channeled teachings about Hitler alone prompt one to seriously question how Oprah Winfrey could even begin to describe Neale Donald Walsch as one of the ten most “memorable thinkers” she had ever met. Did she read all the statements Walsch claims to have channeled from “God?” Did Oprah and her staff somehow miss what “God” said about Hitler—such as “Hitler went to heaven, “Hitler didn’t hurt anyone,” Hitler “did no harm or damage to those whose deaths he caused,” etc. If those statements weren’t enough, Walsch’s “God” seems to wonder why anyone—like Hitler—should be punished for bringing the “greatest peace” and the “greatest joy” to those who were killed:
I tell you this, at the moment of your death you will realize the greatest freedom, the greatest peace, the greatest joy, and the greatest love you have ever known. Shall we therefore punish Bre’r Fox for throwing Bre’r Rabbit into the briar patch?27
A generation or so ago, Neale Donald Walsch would never have been taken seriously. Yet in today’s metaphysically minded mainstream society, he is regarded as one of America’s top spiritual leaders—someone to whom Oprah Winfrey gave her highest praise. What was Oprah thinking to single out Walsch as one of the most “memorable thinkers” she has ever met?
Humanity’s Team and the Oprah Interview
To encourage people to accept and defend the teachings of the New Age/New Spirituality and to help Walsch reinvent himself, he founded a new organization in 2003 called Humanity’s Team. At the first “Humanity’s Team Leadership Gathering” held June 27-29, 2003 in Portland, Oregon, Walsch described Humanity’s Team to its leaders:
A grassroots, citizen’s movement with chapters and people active in cities, towns and communities and villages all over the world. . . . We seek to create the possibility for a New Spirituality to emerge on the planet. . . . We seek to encourage humanity to expand and explore its ideas about God and about Life. To change our fundamental beliefs in such a way that we alter our collective reality. . . . We are trying, we are seeking to create a cultural story for the whole of humanity.28
One of the things Neale Donald Walsch wanted to impress upon those attending his Humanity’s Team Leadership Gathering was how to effectively deal with the media. In a session titled “The Care and Feeding of the Press,” Walsch taught his team leaders some subtle tricks of the trade. Because he and his Conversations with God books were so controversial, he warned attendees they would have some problems with the press. To make it easier for people to accept his ideas, Walsch described how he was in the process of “reinventing” and “repackaging” himself. He explained that the establishment of Humanity’s Team was an important part of the “repackaging” process. He told them:
You’re fighting an uphill battle here because I’m the guy who says he has conversations with God and nobody in the media wants to touch that with a ten foot pole. . . . The reason we formed Humanity’s Team was to get it away from me. And to get it away—at least one step away—from the Conversations with God stuff. . . . We formed Humanity’s Team as a way frankly . . . of repackaging, repackaging the product, if you please, which is the New Spirituality. And suddenly we are getting media, suddenly we are getting interviews. . . . We’ve stepped into a place that generically is difficult to disagree with. Humanity’s Team is difficult to disagree with. Conversations with God brings up disagreement almost at once.29
In this presentation, Walsch disclosed some interesting things about himself. In a very revealing talk, he used a personal situation with Oprah Winfrey to illustrate the problems he has had with the media and why he felt the need to “repackage” and “reinvent” himself. To illustrate his point to attendees, Walsch described how Oprah had flown him to Chicago where they taped a special two-hour interview. He goes on to recount how she held up his book Conversations and called it her “favorite book.” In his presentation, Walsch inadvertently revealed how New Age leaders like Oprah Winfrey and himself are subtly—and not so subtly—maneuvering and manipulating people into accepting the teachings of the New Age/New Spirituality. Because the context is so important, I have quoted Walsch at length:
Oprah brought me to Chicago. She loves Conversations. In fact she says it is her favorite book. She says that on the air—“This is my favorite book”—and she holds up Conversations with God. So she brought me to Chicago and she said, “Let’s do two hours.” I’m gonna do a two-hour special. And she interviewed me on videotape for two hours and we had a fascinating conversation, the way only Oprah can, ’cause she gets right into the interior of it. And I went back home, flying back home, and I thought, My God, they’re going to do a two-hour special. This is incredible . . . talk about zooming sales. And I went home and . . . it stayed in the can for a year and a half. I did not call her, ’cause I didn’t want to bother Oprah with, you know, “Where is my program? When are you going to put it on?” . . . But finally the producer called us and said, “You know, Neale, we just can’t use it. You are so incredibly provocative in what you’re saying about your relationship with God, humanity’s relationship with God, where religion currently stands in the world etc. etc. . . . that we’ve looked at this thing, we’ve watched this program eight times and all of us agree it’s just too soon. You’re way ahead of the curve, we can’t put this on now.”30
Thus, the unaired interview was perceived as a potential public relations problem for Oprah and her staff. They thought the public wasn’t quite ready for a controversial interview with a man who claimed to be taking spiritual dictation from “God.” And they were definitely not happy that Walsch had mentioned the unaired interview in one of his newsletters and took him to task for bringing the whole situation into the open. Walsch explained:
I made a comment about this—just a short one or two sentence comment in a newsletter about a year and a half ago—about this. And she didn’t get a thousand e-mails, she got about six thousand e-mails and phone calls and letters. And they actually had one of her personal assistants call me and say, “Neale, would you just, could you just not do that, because you’re hurting yourself more than you’re helping yourself. You’re irritating the producers here. I know you didn’t do it personally, but you’re upsetting. You’ll never get on the show that way. Don’t do that . . . Don’t send letters of protest to Oprah because you’ll just ruin it—any chance.”31
Walsch proceeded to use the whole interview incident to teach his Humanity’s Team leaders how to avoid antagonizing the media. Walsch suggested that it was his own low-key reassuring attitude that helped Oprah and her staff find an alternative way to introduce him to their millions of viewers. It also set up the possibility for airing the entire interview sometime in the future.
We’ve got to make Oprah and her people totally okay with the decision they made. You know what I said to Oprah, I called Oprah personally. I know Oprah. I called her personally. I said, “You know, Ope”—see now, you know you know Oprah personally when you call her ‘Ope.’ I said, “You know Ope, I totally get it. I totally understand. I’m totally okay. I’m right there with you. Don’t you put me on your program one minute before you think your audience is ready to receive it. I would not have you jeopardize all the wonderful good you’re doing in the world by stepping into that before your audience is ready to go there with you. You will know when the right time is and I will be there, unless I’m not.” And she got to feel like, whew . . . totally understood, totally embraced and totally made okay with the decision that she had made. That’s how I’ll get on Oprah if I’m ever on it.
So what happened? Last January Oprah did this really neat program. Last January—you may have seen it. She said the ten most influential people in my life. She had Nelson Mandela. She had Vaclav Havel. She had people at that level, and she had a clip from our interview. And she said, “Neale Donald Walsch.” It was a minute and fifty-seven second clip—less than two minutes of an interview of that two hours. She took about two minutes. But you know what—traveling in some pretty fast company . . . and even with those two minutes, our book sales just went through the roof. . . . So we learned don’t—that’s my last word to you here today—don’t antagonize the media.32
Walsch’s revealing account illustrates how New Age leaders like Walsch and media personalities like Oprah Winfrey are spiritually molding an unsuspecting public. They understand that the media is the message and that timing is everything. They are pushing their New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality beliefs, but they have to make sure the public is ready for what they have to say. They must always anticipate what their audience can handle. And this is why Oprah and her staff decided to introduce Walsch in a short, safe, carefully edited clip describing him as a “memorable thinker” rather than in the longer interview and describing him as the “man who has conversations with God.”
Walsch Anticipates Criticism
In a special tutorial session that immediately followed the Humanity’s Team Leadership Conference, Walsch warned team leaders about media questions that would inevitably arise regarding “God’s” controversial statements about Hitler. He explained that the Hitler material—if not carefully explained—had the potential to damage their New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality message.
To prepare his team leaders for what they might encounter, Walsch introduced a question and answer role-playing exercise. He used a seemingly logical, formulaic presentation they could employ to convince people that Hitler had really gone to heaven. The simple routine was cleverly designed to take skeptics through a process that would lead them to ultimately agree that if God’s capacity for love and forgiveness was all-encompassing, then God could forgive anyone of anything at anytime—if they were really sorry—even if the person had already passed on—even if that person was Adolf Hitler.33
But for all his talk of love and forgiveness, Walsch never really explained why his “God” seemed to be excusing Hitler for what he did—even going so far as to glorify death in the process. Unbelievably, Walsch’s “God” makes it look like Hitler actually did the Jewish people a favor by killing them. A knowledgeable observer, with prior understanding of the New Age’s proposed “selection process,”34 might suggest that Walsch and his New Age “God” were conditioning the public for the spiritual euthanasia of future resisters to their New Age/New Spirituality. In fact, it sounds a lot like Antichrist and his future plans for those who oppose him. It brings to mind the following Scripture where the true Jesus Christ warns about this kind of situation:
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. (John 16:1-3)
In Conversations with God, Book 1, “God” told Walsch:
You know you have found God when you observe that you will not murder (that is, willfully kill, without cause). For while you will understand that you cannot end another’s life in any event (all life is eternal), you will not choose to terminate any particular incarnation, nor change any life energy from one form to another, without the most sacred justification.35 (emphasis added)
One has to wonder just what Walsch and his New Age “God” would say about what constitutes the “sacred justification” of killing someone. In Walsch’s 2006 book Home With God, his New Age “God” continues to glorify death as he teaches that no one can die against his own will. In other words, Walsch’s “God” would have us believe that those who were killed by Hitler gave their consent to the Holocaust and thus bear equal responsibility for it. This kind of thinking even trumps the absurdity of those who insist there never was a Holocaust. The following are some quotes from Walsch’s ”God” that could one day be used to justify killing those who do not “choose” to conform to the dictates of the New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality:
Dying is something you do for you.36
You are the cause of your own death. This is always true, no matter where, or how, you die.37
You cannot die against your will.38
Death is never a tragedy. It is always a gift.39
Death does not exist.40
If Oprah was embarrassed by her endorsement of A Million Little Pieces—author James Frey’s partially fabricated book—it will seem like a very small matter compared to the fallout she could receive if she chooses to air the long-delayed interview with Neale Donald Walsch. Unless, of course, her viewers have been sufficiently conditioned to accept what Walsch says without question. Her praise of this New Age teacher is a tragic statement about her spiritual beliefs and her New Age “Christianity” that is no Christianity at all.
In 2002, the same year that Oprah declared Walsch to be one of the ten most “memorable thinkers” she had ever met, Walsch released a new book titled The New Revelations: A Conversation with God. In this book, Walsch’s “God” states:
There have always been ideological differences on your planet, but the present widening of the split in ideology with a simultaneous advance in technology has created the conditions for rapid self-destruction. . . .
It will take an unprecedented act of courage, on a grand scale. You may have to do something virtually unknown in the annals of human history. . . . You may have to give up some of your most sacred beliefs.41
Later in the book, Walsch’s “God” lays out the heretical bottom line of his New Age/New Gospel Spirituality when he categorically states:
Yet let me make something clear. The era of the Single Savior is over.42
Oprah or Orpah?
At birth, Oprah Winfrey was given the biblical name of Orpah. She was named after the biblical Ruth’s daughter-in-law Orpah, and that name was recorded on her birth certificate. But her name was mispronounced by her family as the r and the p were inverted and her name morphed into Oprah. A little letter or two can leaven a biblical name away from its biblical foundation. And a little New Age leaven—God “in” everyone—can leaven away the true foundation of biblical Christianity (Galatians 5:9).
Oprah is not God and neither are any of the rest of us. Hopefully she will one day recognize the falsity of the deceptive teachings that have converted her to the New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality that she is sharing with her millions of followers. We should all pray that Oprah will one day renounce the false New Age “God” and “Christ” she has learned from Neale Donald Walsch and all the other New Age figures she has read, studied, and featured on her programs throughout the years. Until then, Oprah Winfrey remains one of the most influential and charismatic false teachers in the world today.
- “Memorable Thinkers” (The Oprah Winfrey Show, January 2002).
- Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue, Book 1 (New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995), p. 202.
- Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue, Book 2 (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., 1997), p. 35.
- Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 1, op. cit., p. 1.
- Ibid., p. 95.
- Ibid., p. 192.
- Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 2, op. cit., p. 35.
- Ibid., p. 36.
- Ibid., p. 56.
- Ibid., p. 42.
- Neale Donald Walsch, Questions and Answers on “Conversations with God” (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., 1999), p. 334.
- Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation: A Message of Hope for the New Millennium (Novato, CA: Nataraj Publishing, 1995), pp. 240, 267.
- Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue, Book 3 (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, 1998), p. 350.
- Ibid., p. 256.
- Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 1, op. cit., p. 41.
- Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 3, op. cit., p. 87.
- Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 1, op. cit., p. 76.
- Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 2, op. cit., p. 235.
- Neale Donald Walsch, Friendship with God: an uncommon dialogue (New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1999), p. 23.
- Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 3, op. cit., p. 89.
- Ibid., p. 56.
- A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume (Glen Ellen, CA: Foundation for Inner Peace, 1975, 1992, Text), p. 50.
- Walsch, Friendship with God, op. cit., pp. 295-296.
- Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 2, op. cit., p. 141.
- Walsch, Friendship with God, op. cit., p. 375.
- Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 2, op. cit., p. 36.
- Humanity’s Team Leadership Gathering, Portland, Oregon, June 27-July 1, 2003: Session: “The Care and Feeding of the Press.” Transcribed by author from audiotape of conference. Note: January program Walsch is referring to is The Oprah Winfrey Show that aired in January 2002 and titled “Memorable Thinkers”).
- Humanity’s Team Teacher’s Tutorial: Session 12, Portland, Oregon, June 30-July 1, 2003. Transcribed by author from compact disc of the tutorial.
- Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation, op. cit., pp. 240, 267.
- Walsch, Conversations with God, Book 1, op. cit., pp. 96-97.
- Neale Donald Walsch, Home with God: In a Life That Never Ends: A wondrous message of love in a final Conversation with God (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2006), p. 7.
- Ibid., p. 8.
- Ibid., p. 10.
- Ibid., p. 42.
- Ibid., p. 89.
- Neale Donald Walsch, The New Revelations: A Conversation with God (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2002), p. 175.
- Ibid., p. 157.