Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Letter to Bill O'Reilly from Jeremy Green on TM

Mr. O'Reilly

Very often, I appreciate your take on contemporary culture. More often than not, I agree with you. However, I was disappointed to see your commending Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr regarding their charity concert. Of course, raising money for education programs directed toward at-risk kids is a noble cause. Nevertheless, not all education programs are created equal.

We would not commend as "patriotic" a program developed to teach proper firearms technique to kids at risk of gang involvement. Meditation in general, and TM specifically, are more akin to the gun class than a program designed to teach kids to cope by learning better study skills, the value of hard work, and the importance of facing reality with both eyes open.

If TM does indeed help young people cope with the stressors in their lives that pull them toward viciousness, it does so only by training these young people to escape their world by ignoring it--escaping by concentrating mantras leading to meaningless thought. We are both Christians. We confess that the world is broken due to sin, and God is reconciling it to himself through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. We are called to proclaim this good news to the world by engaging it, not by escaping from it. TM is therefore incompatible with Christianity.

TM is nothing more than Hindu religious practice. TM's Vedic roots lie in pantheism--all is god. Christianity confesses that there is one unique personal God, and we proclaim this God to the world. We call the world to repentance and submission to his throne. Thus, TM and Christianity proffer contradictory positions on the nature of ultimate reality: it cannot be that both "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, revealed in the person of Jesus, is the source of a reality distinct from himself," and "god is the impersonal collective sum of all entities" are true statements. One must be false.

Given our mutual Christianity, we must follow Christ. But this is no blind faith. We have good evidence to believe that Christ was risen; thus, we have good reason to think that Christ is Lord and God. If this is so, then Vedic Hinduism is false and practicing TM is participating in the worship of a religion that has set itself up against the throne of the risen King.

One cannot be both a Christian and a practitioner of TM.

Given the truth of Christianity, one ought not to practice TM.

Therefore, one ought not support efforts to introduce TM to others.

Therefore, the extant Beatles are on the wrong side of truth.

As for coping methods: point kids toward the Prince of Peace. Show them how to face a fallen world through bearing the cross of Christ.

I hope these comments prove useful. They are intended as friendly fire.

Jeremy Green


Jerry said...

Good letter. Just a couple of comments:

1) What is wrong with teaching "proper firearms technique to kids at risk of gang involvement"? It seems to me that the US Military does this every day. ;>)

2) I am not certain that it will give Mr. O'Reilly any pause. It appears to me that he embraces a "can't we all get along" form of Universalism, and it particularly immune to Biblical arguments to the contrary.

Jeremy said...


As for your (1), I had in mind something like teaching advanced sniper technique to a Crypts member. But I guess this kid would not merely be "at-risk" of gang involvement :)

As for your (2), what Bill O'Reilly does with this letter is between him and Jesus. If he rejects the arguments because he is a Universalist of sorts and because he is immune to biblical arguments, then that is merely evidence that he is no cognitive condition to accurately evaluate the arguments. It is no skin off my back if his unregenerate mind subverts the truth. I hope he's a genuine follower of Christ, and if he's not, then I pray that he would become such a person. But if he doesn't, he alone will bear the responsibility for his rejection of Christ's lordship.

I just wrote a letter.

Without the Spirit's illuminating power, we're all in that same boat. There are none that are innocent of cosmic treason, and every part of creation and every par of the person is touched in some way by sin. It is only by God's grace that we, including O'Reilly, could come and submit to the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Therefore, if O'Reilly rejects the arguments because he's not a faithful follower of Christ, let's pray that he becomes such a follower. After all, "God is not willing that any should perish."