Neale Walsch: A New Guru for the Gullible
Neale Donald Walsch lives in a hilltop mansion near Medford, Oregon. A few years ago, he was a “nobody.” Now, he is a “somebody” who’s attracting some attention.
Having had a troubled childhood, Walsch has been through a series of unstable relationships and career difficulties. He has been in four marriages in which nine children were produced. He has passed through a variety of phases, from being a radio talk show host, to slouching around as a homeless vagabond.
Walsch now claims that back in 1992, he arose one morning at 4 o’clock and began to scribble his emotional frustrations on a yellow legal pad. A recent article in a national magazine describes it like this: he “was feeling suicidal over finances, shaky health and a broken love affair” (People, January 24, 2000). Suddenly, he contends, he heard a voice behind him: “Neale, do you really want answers to all these questions, or are you just venting?” He identifies the voice as God’s.
Out of this alleged encounter, came Walsch’s book, Conversations with God, which has sold in excess of 3 million copies. A more recent production, Friendship with God, made the New York Times best-seller list within three weeks. People have gone “nuts” over this theological “quack,” paying up to $725 a whack to hear him speak. In these sessions, he recounts these illusional conversations with the Lord. Surely this must be the “Age of Gullibility.” Folks are so desperate to believe something, they will believe anything!
Walsch’s “theology” certainly is not from the real God. It is as wild as anything imaginable. It is blasphemous, contradictory, and downright absurd. Consider the following.
(1) Walschism makes a mockery of true Deity. The author says that on one occasion, when he tried to talk with God, the Lord said: “What do you want?! I’m old!” This senseless slur suggests that God is both impatient and decrepit.
The truth is, the Almighty is ever anxious to hear the petitions of those who are committed to doing his will (1 Pet. 3:12). Moreover, Jehovah is eternal; he doesn’t get old, and he’s not afflicted with arthritis (Psa. 90:2)! Walsch has watched too many George Burns, “Oh God,” movies.
(2) The huckster then alleges that this “God” told him to “forgive his own sins.” How blasphemous! If a man could forgive his own sins, there would have been no need for Christ to become incarnate and subsequently die the atoning death at Calvary. Salvation is beyond the ability of any human being to achieve on his own merit (Eph. 2:8-9). Man must surrender to Heaven’s plan for redemption (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16).
(3) To top that, Walsch contends that “God” told him that “there’s no distinction between right and wrong.” Rather, “good and evil are mere illusions.”
Well, the gentleman’s “god” is a bit confused. First, he tells the Oregonian dreamer that there is no such thing as “evil,” and then, this “lord” instructs him to “forgive his own sins.” His what? How can one “forgive” a mere “illusion” – that which does not even exist?
(4) Finally, according to this modern “guru,” “God” informed him that Adolf Hitler was welcome in heaven! Why not if there’s no distinction between good and evil? The fact is, Walsch’s heaven is the Bible hell!
Neale Walsch is but another oddity in the modern “Ripley’s Museum” of religious freaks. But as long as there are ignorant people – blighted and confused souls who are ever in search of the unusual, even the bizarre – there will be a place for the Walsches of this world.
About the Author
Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.