February 1, 2023

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We are not masters of our own destiny. Bending the universe or God to your will is an impossible task

Participants in a 24-hour workshop stare out at the Zuiderstrand.Photo by Najeeb Nafed / Britain

Divorced woman and seeking help on facebook. She cannot find a home and is afraid that she will soon be on the street with her children. In the comments, a yoga teacher said: Imagine your ideal place, Send it to the universefeel good after finding it, and let it go with confidence.” If you pay attention, you hear these kinds of terms more and more often. This month, the Kukuru Festival was held, the spiritual platform for temporarily retired radio DJ Giel Beelen. It can conceivably lead to the true purpose of each individual’s life.” You can “learn to manifest through this powerful heart connection.”

It’s a new kind of language you’re hearing more and more often, peppered with key phrases in English to give it an extra air of credibility. If you want your dream to come true, you just have to want it hard enough. You can “manifest” your desires, which means more or less thinking about something so much that it becomes a reality in itself. This is ensured by “universe,” which is a kind of alternative umbrella term for all religious institutional terms—like “God”—that we’ve come to regard as old-fashioned.

About the author
Alan Verheig He is a theologian and writer. His book was published last year Money and go – how can we really enrich the world.

Prosperity gospel

There is nothing new under the sun: As an experienced Christian, I recognize in this the so-called prosperity gospel circulating in some corners of the church. Once a fellow believer asked his chronically ill relative how she could remain ill: did she believe enough? Someone said to me this year that I was a son of the King, and great fortunes may be part of that. I have been promised great prosperity in many churches—if I will pray hard enough, and to quote a yoga teacher, “Let us go in faith.”

Alarm bells set off for most people when this type of terminology comes out. We all know someone who has a good and positive outlook on life yet faces one setback after another. It would be unfair to suggest that she did not visualize, manifest, or pray enough. The average Dutch person prides himself on a certain moderation that keeps us all from falling for superficial, spiritually enveloping lies. For example, a few Orange fans might be surprised by the exclusion of Qatar’s men’s soccer team. Despite the fact that Louis van Gaal has for years called on his players to “imagine they’re world champions” and half of the squad have given interviews about their fervent prayer life in the group.

Boom gliders

However, there is more going on. Prosperity floats are not a standalone phenomenon and have just arisen in a vacuum. It is not an overly dreamy and friendly pastime HappinessReaders – it’s a social phenomenon that says something about all of us. The pyramid schemes of the universe are an absurd distorted mirror of the two economic lies we have collectively fallen into. The first lie is that prosperity is a higher good. Your success as a person depends on the size of your park, the price of your car, and the frequency of long-haul flying holidays. As much as we’d like to deny it, success is still measured by the size of our bank account.

Spiritual charlatans understood this very well. They also carefully note that wealth is not for everyone in this economy. Not all of you have the right set of talents, circumstances, and knowledge to get rich. What do you do when you yourself are unable to reach your highest potential? Then you do what people have always done: close your eyes and fold your hands, or spread your arms and raise your eyes. Let a higher power lead us to salvation. If you lie to each other that great wealth is the most important benefit, don’t be surprised if people start praying for it.

Merit society

The second lie is manufacturability. A persistent misconception in our meritocratic society is that there is a strong correlation between your merit and your success. Whoever made it praises. Those who are on Earth, that is the dark side, have themselves to blame too. The guys who bought bitcoin at the beginning of 2017 were smart, and the guys who bought them at the end of 2021 were dumb. Whoever put a jubelton into a house invested wisely, whoever ran up student debt should have thought carefully. Spiritual success gurus do little more than embrace and parody this icy, pervasive logic. Are you looking for a home? Show character, have courage, show your will, because anything is possible.

If we are to provide an authoritative response to magical phenomena, we must address these two blind spots in our society as a whole. First, we’ll have to get rid of the old adage that money can’t buy happiness, and that there are more important things in life than designer bags and the overall growth of the economy. There are rich people who fail completely as individuals, and there are people who live below the poverty line who are very successful people in most respects.

The tyranny of entitlement

Finally, we must get rid of the “tyranny of entitlement.” In essence, most cases of success and loss, poverty and well-being are simply matters of luck and misfortune. Only when we see this can we stop blaming each other or ourselves for situations like homelessness after divorce. Then we hope to also stop raising them on the successful, who were lucky enough to have wealthy parents, kind investors, and the requisite innate talent—or were simply in the right place at the right time.

We are not masters of our own destiny. It is impossible to bend the universe or God to your will. Better yet, says the Book of Job in the Bible, try to catch a hippopotamus with your bare hands.

This is an opinion contribution. The author’s opinion does not necessarily reflect the editors’ view. Would you like to respond to a message or article? Send a letter (maximum 200 words) to [email protected]

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