NORMAN_VINCENT_PEALE_AND_THE_POWER_OF_POSITIVE_THINKING.doc

Liston pope dean of yale divinity school agreed with

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Liston Pope, Dean of Yale Divinity School, agreed with Niebuhr. " There is nothing humble or pious in the view this cult takes of God. God becomes sort of a master psychiatrist who will help you get out of your difficulties. The formulas and the constant reiteration of such themes as "You and God can do anything" are very nearly blasphemous. " (Ibid). G. Bromley Oxnam, Bishop, Methodist Church, Washington D.C., also weighed in . " When you are told that if you follow seven easy rules you will become president of your company, you are being kidded. There just aren't that many openings. This kind of preaching is making Christianity a cult of success. " (Ibid).
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A. Powell Davies, pastor of All Souls' Unitarian Church, Washington D.C., added his view. "It has sort of a drug effect on people to be told they need not worry. They keep coming back for more. It keeps their minds on a superficial level and encourages emotional dependency. It is an escape from reality. People under stress do one of two things; seek shelter or respond to harsh reality by a deeper recognition of what they are up against. The people who flock to the 'peace of mind' preachers are seeking shelter. They don't want to face reality. " (Ibid, p. 94) In spite of the attacks, Peale did not resign from his church, though he repeatedly threatened that he would. He also never directly challenged or rebutted his critics. Meanwhile, his book "The Power of Positive Thinking had stopped selling by 1958, ("Pitchmen in the Pulpit." Fuller, Edmond. Saturday Review, March 19, 1957, pp. 28–30 and "The Power of Positive Thinking." Peale, Norman Vincent. Fawcett Crest, 1963, pp. vii.) As Donald Meyer noted, at first It was evident that Peale had managed to tap wide audiences formed by prolonged changes in the tone and morale of American society, for whom the coherence of Protestantism even as late as the early twentieth century was not enough. His attackers did not fall short of declaring his Protestantism non-existent. Peale survived. As he himself recounted it, he found himself stunned by the attacks. Troubled, even considering the virtues of resigning his post, he entered his season of withdrawal. There he found his answer. His father assured him he must go on. Was he not, after all, helping millions? Besides, it was unheard of in a democratic society for a man to believe his lonely critics when millions had approved. And so he returned. How to Stay Alive Your Whole Life, Peale entitled his next book; what else was George Beard's neurasthnia but a form of half-living? Finally, in consistent exemplification of the logic of the new religion, Peale proved he was right as well by publishing the testimonies of those declaring that for them positive thinking had indeed worked. There was no particular reason to doubt them . [21] 21. "The Positive Thinkers." Donald Meyer. Pantheon books, 1965, p. 265 Religious scholars, however, warned the public not to believe Peale just because he was a minister. They said the Peale message was not only factually false but also misrepresented Christianity.
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  • Fall '19
  • New Thought, Norman Vincent Peale, Prosperity theology, Word of Faith

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