Why the “law of attraction” doesn’t attract me

Everywhere I go these days there is this buzz around the “law of attraction.” Hardly a day goes by where I don’t hear someone (usually female) talk about “the universe” and what they are giving to it or getting from it. In all the conversations I’ve participated in or eavesdropped on, I haven’t heard anyone say what I’m about to announce: I don’t believe in the “law of attraction.”

I can almost hear the gasps as I type. If the law of attraction does exist despite my unbelief, then I suppose this will come back to bite me, since the basic premise of the law is that what you put out into the universe is what you get in return. I guess we’ll see about that.

The topic is on my mind tonight because I just watched a DVRed episode of Oprah featuring a panel of experts on the “law.” It’s really fascinating stuff. Much of what they say I have found to be true in my own life. Loving myself is important. Having a peaceful soul can be my reality. Having a vision for my future is helpful in achieving my goals and dreams. But I just don’t buy the central idea they hold as gospel, that what I put out into the universe is what I get back.

I think I missed the spiritual shift in our society from believing in God to believing in “The Universe.” I don’t think I even know what “the universe” means but I do know that belief in a faceless, nameless, personality-less cosmos does nothing to bring me any peace or hope. At the risk of sounding preachy, I hold fast to the traditional belief in a loving God whose son Jesus died for me. I love myself because He loves me and no matter what comes into my life, I believe He cares for me so I can trust what He sends my way. Notice the difference here – He sends it my way, I don’t attract it myself.

Ultimately the “law of attraction” is overly simplistic and leaves me with my mouth gaping open at how many important questions its proponents leave unanswered. What about the hundreds of millions of people in the world who go to bed hungry every night. Did they not put out enough “good energy” into the universe to get even their basic needs met? If the “law of attraction” is true, why are children orphaned from HIV? Did they not have a strong enough vision of their parents living? Or the millions of Americans who can’t afford basic healthcare for themselves. If they all could just envision having health insurance would the system immediately shift in their favor? Or maybe it’s a cosmic power struggle between the haves and the haves-nots. The haves are envisioning getting so much stuff for themselves that they are in fact creating the injustice around them.

If the law of attraction is true, it follows that we are each responsible (or to blame) for whatever wonderful or horrific events or things come into our lives. When I look around me and around the world I see far too many humans suffering, often at the hands of other humans, through no fault of their own and I shudder at the suggestion that it is only for lack of “visioning” that the sick are sick, that the poor are poor, and that the oppressed are oppressed.

I feel I’m alone in my disgust at this popular idea. Am I?

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