A book by Uwem Akpan
This book is partly a biography of Oprah's life. It is also partly a discussion about Oprah's influence as a religious leader. I never thought of her in this way. Mansfield provides evidence that she has become one though. The Oprah Winfrey show first started covering topics like sexual abuse and drug addiction. I enjoyed reading about the transformation of the show to more spiritual subjects. Stephen Mansfield claim is that Oprah's New Age religious has caused people to abandon their own beliefs and adopt Oprah's. It just amazes me how one celebrity can be so influential in today's society.
Oprah's New Age religion is centered on the self-improvement of each individual person. She does not believe in one religious entity like God or Buddah. She also believes that it is acceptable to borrow ideas from different religions and create an unique belief system. Stephen Mansfield rejects all of these beliefs. He does believe in the idea of prayer and the idea that every person has a spiritual side.
Oprah believes that it is possible to be spiritual and not religious. She believes that religion and spirituality are two different things. Stephen Mansfield sharply disagrees with Oprah on this concept. I tend Stephen Mansfield devotes a chapter to Oprah's spiritual family. I enjoyed reading about how people like Marianne Williamson and Deepak Chopra have influenced Oprah in crafting her unique New Age religion. Marianne Williamson redefines the concept of heaven and hell in a new way. Heaven is created when a person has thoughts of love in the mind. These thoughts of love create a state of love in a person's life. Fearful thoughts in a person's mind creates fear in a person's life. Mansfield mentions Chopra's emphasis on meditation, herbal remedies and music therapy. This is all part of Ayurveda alternative approach to health. He spends more timc focusing on Williamson than Chopra. I personally think that Chopra's ideas are more interesting.
This book forces me to reflect on my religious beliefs. This is a good thing, because I don't do enough reflection on deeper issues. I do believe in God, but I do not attend a regular church every week. I pray regularly for clarity and peace of mind, but I also respect the rights of people to pray to Buddah and Allah. I believe that is possible to be spiritual and not religious. This book makes think of Oprah in a different way as a religious leader. Mansfield does reject a lot of Oprah's beliefs as false, but he allows me to formulate my opinions based on the information he provides.
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