Eckhart Tolle and Christianity – is Tolle the Anti-Christ or an enhancement for Christian practice?

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Richard Rohr Franciscan friar and author.

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There is so much vilification of Tolle from extremist Christians that is was 'sweet water' to come across a wonderful article by Richard Rohr –
Franciscan friar and prolific author and speaker.  

The article contains much much more, but about Tolle he says;

What Tolle Is Not:

  1. Eckhart Tolle is not a Christian theologian or teacher.
  2. He is not teaching Christian contemplative prayer or Christian prayer at all.
  3. He is not teaching any dogmas or doctrines as such.
  4. He is not presuming or teaching that there is a personal/relational God (but neither is he denying it).
  5. He is not a proponent of the social, communitarian nature of religion. 

What Tolle is Doing:

  1. Eckhart Tolle is teaching a form of natural mysticism or contemplative practice.
  2. He is teaching a morality and asceticism of recognizing and letting go of "the self that has to die" (Matthew 16:25), which he calls ego and Jesus calls the "grain of wheat" (John 12:24) ; so that another self can be born, which he would call "consciousness" and we would call the person born again in Christ, or something similar.
  3. He is giving us some practices (Similar to how John Wesley gave "methods" or Ignatius gave "exercises") whereby we can be present to the grace of the moment and stop the "passions," the "egocentric mind," or the "prideful self" which keeps us from true goodness (or God, as we would call it). Each tradition uses different language for what is to be overcome, but it is always some form of "un-love" and selfishness (which he calls ego). TOLLE IS NOT ASKING YOU TO BELIEVE ANYTHING. HE IS ASKING YOU TO TRY SOMETHING! You will know if it is true, if you try it, and you will not know if it is true or false, if you don't try it. No point in arguing it theoretically or in the abstract.
  4. He does assume and imply a worldview that is foreign to many, if not most Christians. For Tolle, Being, Consciousness, God, Reality are all the same thing, which is not all bad, when you come to think of it. Of course, his very point is that you cannot think of it at all, you can only realize it. I would not call him pantheistic (all things are God) as much as panentheistic (God is IN all things).
  5. His brilliant understanding of the "pain body," as he calls it, is actually very close to the Catholic notion of Original Sin, and does give a corporate, communitarian, mystical understanding to religion. We are all in this together, and share one another's pain. I'm not sure he makes clear how we share one another' joy, except that he tends to create very "low maintenance" people who can relax and enjoy life.

Inspiring stuff for me – what do you think?

To read the full article go HERE

Find out more about Richard Rohr HERE

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