The Law Of Attraction Explained & Debunked

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The following is the transcript for the above video.

By Steven Bancarz| In this article, we are going to cover one of the most prominent philosophies in the New Age movement, a philosophy that has even began to work it’s way into the Christian church; the well-known “Law of Attraction”. 

Could it be the case that the Law of Attraction is actually a deception, and if so, how do we explain apparent success stories? And doesn’t the Bible confirm this philosophy saying things like “the power of life and death are in the tongue”, “seek and you will find”, and “ask and it will be given unto you”?

We are going to go over all of this, but before we do, let’s define this philosophy first.

Defining the Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is the principle that we can attract anything we want into our reality if only we align our thoughts, intentions, and emotions with the result we want.  When we adjust our inner world with the thoughts and feelings that correspond to our desire, we will manifest this desire in the actual world, because the belief is that the fabric of the universe has an in-built mechanism that bring to us that which is aligned with our dominant thoughts and emotions. 

There is a metaphysical mechanism built into the universe that will send people events and experiences that correspond to what is already going on inside of them. The idea is that “like attracts like”, so I am going to attract into my outer world something that mirrors what is going on in my internal world.

So if I want a new partner in my life, all I have to do is position my thoughts and emotions with the result of already having a new partner, and the Universe can’t help but send me a new one.  If I want a new house, this law that is built into the universe will ensure I receive a new house if I do things like say positive affirmations, visualize myself in my new house, walk in the feeling of already having a new house, etc. 

We literally “attract” things into our reality with our internal states, hence the name The Law of Attraction. If we want a new outer world, we can create through the Law of Attraction this by adjusting our inner world to match the one we want.

 New Thought proponent Charles Haanel defined it this way in The Master Key System (1912):

“The law of attraction will certainly and unerringly bring to you the conditions, environment, and experiences in life, corresponding with your habitual, characteristic, predominant mental attitude.

This teaching blew up with a book known as “The Secret” published in 2006 which has sold over 30 million copies, later turned into a film in 2009 grossing over 300 million dollars in sales.  This is largely because it has been heavily promoted by Oprah Winfrey. She has actually said that the message of The Secret is precisely what she has been trying to teach her viewers for the last 21 years. 

But this teaching started to be taught in the West much earlier in the 1800s by someone named Phineas Quimby, which began to influence people like Mary Baker Eddy and other New Thought teachers. The term “The Law of Attraction” was actually first coined by famous Luciferian occultist Helena Blavatsky in the late 1800s.  Today, it is taught by the likes of Deepak Chopra, Echkart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, and even secular life-coaches such as Tony Robbins.

As Marianne Williamson has said, “Imagine the most outrageously positive possibility for your life, claim it, and consider it done.”

Match your thoughts and feelings with the result you want, and the universe will begin conspiring in your favor. This is believed in by every New Age teacher and practitioner, and is something I used to credit to my former financial success as a New Age writer online.

I believed that if I was fully confident I would be wealthy and successful, wealth and success would be sent to me through the Law of Attraction.  Thankfully, I now know this isn’t the case.

To begin this discussion we have to first ask the question, does the Law of Attraction actually exist?

The Law of Attraction Doesn’t Exist

Let’s use the example of a lottery draw to answer this question.  It’s not uncommon in the US for the grand prize of lotteries to be upwards of 50 million dollars.  It’s also not uncommon for people to begin fantasizing about what they are going to do if they win.  People will sometimes get vision-boards out to plan how they will spend their winnings.

They amp themselves up, speak positive words out loud, and begin to celebrate early.  These are all law of attraction principles. The average major lottery has 1 million participants. A safe estimate would be that at least 1000 of these people (.1%) are practicing these Law of Attraction principles, whether consciously or unconsciously.  Yet only 1 person ends up winning the lottery.  

We have all these people that, according to the Law of Attraction, have all the right conditions present within themselves to attract the result of winning the lottery, yet they don’t attract anything.  And they couldn’t have, since there was only one possible winner.

If this was really a law, we would expect that everyone who has the right conditions present in their inner world can’t help but attract a corresponding outer world.  But instead, we have all the right conditions present in their internal world while literally nothing is attracted in the outer world.

We have the right conditions to produce the effect, without any effect being produced. We have the apparent cause without the apparent effect, which is proof it can’t be a law.  According to Webster’s dictionary, a “law” is, quote:

a statement of an order or relation of phenomena that, so far as is known, is invariable under the given conditions”

A law is only a law if the phenomenon that occurs is present 100% of the time that the right conditions are present.  For example, every time you mix vinegar with baking soda, you will have a chemical reaction. It’s impossible to mix vinegar and baking soda without this reaction occurring, because of the laws of chemistry.  There are laws of motion, laws of combustion, laws of nature, etc.

If you throw gas on to an open fire, drop a bowling ball from the Eiffel tower, or leave a banana peel on the counter overnight, you know exactly what’s going to happen.  If something is a law, then every time the right conditions are present, the phenomenon or occurrence will be unavoidable.

In order for the Law of Attraction to be a law, the result of abundance would have to occur every single time a person has the right conditions present inside them.  This would have to be as unavoidable as a vinegar and baking soda reaction in order to be an actual law.

The lottery is an example where you have all of the right conditions present in tons of people, without abundance being attracted by any of them.  The alleged conditions are present while the phenomenon is absent, which is absolute proof this cannot be a law.

And just like only one person can win the lottery, only one person can get the open job position.  Let’s say there is 1 job opening at a company, and 100 people apply for the same job, all trying to utilize the Law of Attraction.  Only 1 of them can actually get the job, which means you have all the right conditions present in 99 people to attract the job, but the effect is missing.  And like we have already established, something is only a law if every time the right conditions are present, the occurrence is present.

Someone might respond to this by saying sure it’s not actually a law in a literal sense, but it seems to be the way things are, generally speaking, even if this only works 20, 40, or 60% of the time.  If you visualize your result, are positive, make affirmations and declarations, you are increasing your chances of bringing the result you want into your life, even if it’s not guaranteed.

After all, what about all of the Law of Attraction success stories of people who have turned their lives around and experienced success after following these spiritual principles?  

I think there are four possible explanations for what is going on here.

4 Explanations for Law of Attraction “Success Stories”

1) The success stories are actually just a byproduct of the self-improvements people make when trying to practice the Law of Attraction. 

On a purely naturalistic level, it’s going to be the case that you are going to be more likely to, say, get a promotion, if your attitude is aligned with the result you want.  

If you are thinking positively, matching your emotions with your goal, and making positive affirmations, this may indirectly help you get a raise.  These practices will make you feel more confident, which will make you more assertive, competitive, and decisive in the workplace, all of which are more desirable to employers. 

But the reason it seems like you may be “attracting” this raise into your life is not because of a spiritual law, it’s because you are adopting more desirable traits to employers by being assertive, driven, and self-certain.  This will increase your performance at work. This may also improve your mood, causing you to be more charismatic, confident, and attractive in the expression of your personality, which will also increase your chances of being promoted in various areas of your life.

People begin walking in confidence, setting goals, and believing in themselves, and then attribute then positive results to an invisible spiritual force in the universe rather than their own self-improvement.  For example, with my prior success in the New Age, that came through being an opportunist, making the right connections, being educated in my field, etc.

These things will naturally improve your chances of success, as they did for me, but once again this success wasn’t given to me by the Law of Attraction, even though I was trying to practice it.  I WAS trying to attract abundance in my life, but the abundance itself came as a result of other factors. A first explanation of “success stories” is that these results are actually rooted in the self-improvements one naturally makes in trying to attract new opportunities into their life.

2) The success stories are products of sheer coincidence. 

Perhaps it’s the case that right before a blessing came into your life, you were trying to practice the Law of Attraction.  We have to remember that correlation doesn’t imply causation. Just because something is present right before an event doesn’t mean it caused that event. 

A perfect analogy for this is an experiment done by BF Skinner, a psychologist who was studying a phenomenon known as operant conditioning in pigeons. Pigeons were put in a box, and food would fall into the trough every 15 seconds on a timer. 

What he observed is that as more and more food would be dropped, pigeons would begin to think that the action they committed right before the food dropped actually CAUSED the food to drop. The pigeons actually thought that the food came as a result of their behaviour, and that if they repeated these behaviours, more food would drop, even though it would have dropped regardless of what they did.  This caused them to adopt crazy superstitious behaviours in order to get more food:

 

According to the study,

“One bird was conditioned to turn counter-clockwise about the cage, making two or three turns between reinforcements. Another repeatedly thrust its head into one of the upper corners of the cage. A third developed a ‘tossing’ response, as if placing its head beneath an invisible bar and lifting it repeatedly. Two birds developed a pendulum motion of the head and body, in which the head was extended forward and swung from right to left with a sharp movement followed by a somewhat slower return…Another bird was conditioned to make incomplete pecking or brushing movements directed toward but not touching the floor.”

Just like this food would have dropped regardless of what these pigeons did, there are many things that would have happened in a person’s life regardless of what they did, whether they practiced the Law of Attraction or not.  Maybe their boss decided 6 months before they even heard tried practicing the Law of Attraction that they would be promoted on a set date, but because they did something right before that blessing came into their life, they think this CAUSED the blessing to come into their life, even though it would have came regardless. 

Just like the pigeons thought turning in circles caused the food to drop when it would have dropped regardless, some of these “success stories” are sheer coincidences that would have occurred in a person’s life regardless, but because they practiced it before the occurrence, they think it CAUSED the occurrence, when in fact it had no correlation.

3) The success stories are byproducts of selective awareness.

Selective awareness where the mind will highlight events or patterns that it calculates are noteworthy in order to complete a task or support a narrative, while blocking out other information.  Our minds because aware of select stimuli that they weren’t aware of before, because these select stimuli are now deemed important to us.

For example, people walk past loose change on the ground all the time.  It’s literally everywhere. The average person who is not practicing the Law of Attraction will probably not notice a dime or nickle if it’s in front of them on the sidewalk.  However, if someone has been practicing the Law of Attraction, they are primed to believe that the Universe will send abundance their way. They say their daily affirmations for attracting finances, set the right intentions, visualize money flowing into their life each morning, and are told to expect financial blessing. 

This expectation causes them to be selectively aware of events and stimuli they wouldn’t have been aware of before, because now they are looking for evidence that confirms their new narrative. And all of a sudden they start noticing that loose change seems to be following them around on the streets. Every dime and nickel becomes highlighted to them when before they never paid attention. 

They start to notice when their favorite items go on sale, when the cashier accidentally gives too much change back, or when they save money on gas that week. In reality, these things are happening at the exact same rate as before, only now, through the mechanism of selective awareness, they are simply becoming more aware of these things because they have been primed to see them as significant.

So as we have seen so far, the Law of Attraction is no law at all, and it’s apparent success can be better explained by simpler mechanisms.  But what does the Bible have to say about such a practice? To be blunt, to attempt to practice the Law of Attraction is engage in sorcery.

Sorcery, by definition, is any attempt to manipulate a supernatural force using the power of your will. Energy healing, spell casting, and occult Magik are examples of sorcery because they involve a person trying to manipulate metaphysical forces.  “Metaphysical” means “beyond the physical”, and The Law of Attraction is premised on the idea that there is a metaphysical force in the universe that can be manipulated to your advantage.

Whether this force exists or not (which it doesn’t), the one who tries to manipulate this force (or any metaphysical law or force) is one who is involved in the sin of sorcery, or magic.  The Bible says in Galatians 5:19 that sorcery is a work of the flesh and those who practice it will not inherit the Kingdom of God, and in Revelation 21:8 it says that practicers of magic arts will have their place in the lake of fire. 

Sorcery, even more “mild” forms of it, may not seem like a big deal to us, but to God it’s an example of attempting to manipulate supernatural forces outside of His will, which is a very big deal in His eyes. It’s also an example of idolatry, as we are putting something above and in the place of God in our lives.  We are trusting in a mechanism in creation, rather than the Creator Himself (idolatry), while simultaneously trying to manipulate something metaphysical (sorcery). Obviously, this practice can be repented of, but the point is this practice is inconsistent with the moral will of God.

Now, while there is absolutely no reason to believe that there is any such Law present in the universe, and while it’s contrary to the law of God, we do know from Scripture that idolatry and sorcery can open up doorways to the wrong side of the Kingdom. 

Perhaps it’s the case sometimes that when people really dive into this type of practice, people may be attracting deceptive spirits into their life through the open doors of sorcery and idolatry. Willful sin is a major way demons can have a foothold in our lives, and if sorcery and idolatry are willful sins, and if the Law of Attraction is sorcery and idolatry, maybe this practice is opening up people to deceptive spirits that orchestrate things in their lives to convince them of a false narrative. 

These is even more likely if you are someone like a New Ager, who has other demonic doorways open through the use of psychedelics, transcendental meditation, yoga, or trying to make contact with your spirit guides or angels.

4) The success stories are a product of demonic orchestration.

Let’s imagine a girl named Sally.  Sally is a former yoga instructor who is practicing the Law of Attraction to get a new job opportunity.  She woke up and wrote out in her journal that she will be going to the grocery store at 12pm. When she is on her way to the grocery store, when all of a sudden a thought-form gets projected into her mind by one of these deceptive spirits.  The thought-form is a name and image of her old childhood friend Cindy. All she can think on the way to the store is “Cindy, Cindy, why can’t I get Cindy out of my head”.

Cindy is also a New Ager.  In fact, she owns a yoga studio and is looking for a new instructor.  She happens to be driving through Sally’s city. This same spirit that projected into Sally, or a spirit partnered with that one, begins to project the thought-form of kombucha into Cindy’s mind, and in her mind she can’t kick this feeling of wanting to stop to get a kombucha.

They end up bumping into each other at the grocery store, and are blown away at how “the Universe” organized this “synchronicity”, when really, demonic spirits they opened themselves up to staged the whole thing by projecting the right thought-forms into each of them at the right time.  Sally gets offered a new job as a yoga instructor, and then attributes this encounter to the Law of Attraction.

Some may say this is a completely crazy explanation, but think about it.  People play tricks on one another all the time. If a guy lies to his girlfriend about where he is going and wants his friend to cover him, he may phone his friend and say “Hey my girlfriend is at the store right now, can you go there and pretend to bump into her and tell her about how good of a time we had last night?” 

People manipulate others and set each other up all the time to convince them of a false narratives. Demons can communicate with each other to deceive a person, just like people can communicate with each other to deceive a person. If people do this, why should we expect anything less from demons who are infinitely more wicked?

And their motive for deceiving people in this way is simple.  To reinforce them in a false New Age paradigm to keep them away from the cross of Christ.  Demons hate God, and they hate people, and their goal is to keep people eternally separated from God.  And a major way they do this is by giving people experiences that seem to validate anti-Biblical worldviews as a means to keep them believing a lie about who they are, why they are how, who God is, what the afterlife holds, etc.

The natural effects of self-improvement, coincidence, selective awareness, and demonic intervention are sufficient for explaining the Law of Attraction success stories.  But the question remains.  Doesn’t the Bible teach the Law of Attraction?

The answer to this question is no, and let’s take a look at a few reasons why.

3 Reasons the Bible Contradicts the Law of Attraction

1) The law of attraction contradicts Biblical monotheism, and the way the Bible says God answers prayers. 

The Bible reveals a personal, transcendent God who responds to prayers positively or negatively as an act of His own free will.   By transcendent, we mean outside of space and time. By personal we don’t mean that God is a human being, or is embodied. What we mean is that the Father is an unembodied mind that is self-aware, rational, and endowed with freedom of the will.  God has a will, a mind, emotions, likes and dislikes, things that please Him and things that displease Him, etc.

God isn’t a mechanism to be manipulated, God is a person, and just like you can say no to the wishes of your children, God can say no to the wishes of His.  In fact, the Bible lists some conditions under which God will not answer prayers, all of which are incompatible with the Law of Attraction philosophy:

  • The prayers of unrepentant sinners who blatantly disregard His moral will (John 9:31, 1 Pet. 3:12, Ps. 66:18, Pr. 28:9)
  • Prayers that go against what God is willing to do (1 John 5:14-15)
  • Prayers motivated by wrong, selfish motives (James 4:3)
  • The prayers of those who are dishonoring their wives unrepentantly (1 Peter 3:7)
  • Prayers that are said for attention or to impress people (Matthew 6:5)
  • Prayers of those who are not born-again in Christ (verses)

There is no Biblical evidence that God honour prayers of those who reject Christ, as Christ alone is the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), no man comes to the Father but through Christ (John 14:6), and apart from Christ we are alienated from God (Colossians 1:21).  But even if a saved person says a prayer for the right reasons while in right-standing with God, God can still say no because He has freedom in His sovereignty.

The Law of Attraction teaches that an impersonal force will automatically respond to you regardless of your relationship to Christ.  The Bible teaches a personal God who requires you to accept Christ, puts conditions on whether or not He lends ear to you, and even then can freely choose to respond positively or negatively to your prayer. Two totally different systems, one involves a dead mechanism the responds automatically, the other involves a living person who responds conditionally.

2) All the verses in the New Testament that could be twisted to support the Law of Attraction only apply to born-again believers, not the general population. 

These verses only carry relevance to those who have repented and put their faith in Christ for their salvation, as all the promises made in the New Testament are exclusive to Christians, not for those participating in other spiritual disciplines. 

When Jesus says things like “ask and it will be given unto you” in Matthew 7:7 he is telling his disciples to ask, not the Pharisees. When he says “whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” in Matthew 21:22 he is saying to those who are praying to the God of Israel in His name. 

Or when He says in Mark 9:23 that “all things are possible for the one who believes,” he is saying all things are possible for the one who trusts in Him and Him ability.  The promises of God are yes and amen in Christ, but we have to actually BE in Christ. These aren’t general life principles that can be extracted from the surrounding text and applied to any circumstances, they have a specific context that is limited to followers of Jesus. 

So even IF they teach the Law of Attraction, which they don’t, they wouldn’t apply to non-Christians anyway. Any verse from the New Testament someone may use as a proof-text is automatically out of context, as these verses pertain to Christians alone.

3) The Bible condemns the Law of Attraction as sin; sorcery.

We have already established this, but often times, depending on how it is practiced, it may also be the sin of greed, envy, or pride.  Maybe we want to manifest more than we need so we can indulge ourselves, maybe we want to manifest something better than someone else has because we are jealous, or maybe we want to boost our own image in society. 

Hedonism, competition, and selfishness are often embedded into intentions behind the practice. Even if this were practiced with humble, sincere intentions, it is at best idolatry and sorcery. But generally speaking it dips into other sin categories as well.

Proverbs 18:21 Does Not Teach the Law of Attraction

But what about Proverbs 18:21 when it says the power of life and death is in the tongue? Doesn’t this mean that I have the ability to create things with my speech?  All this means that we have the ability to produce good or bad fruit in another person with our speech.

I have the power to create nourishment in another person with my words, or I have the power to create discouragement in another person with my words.  This is rephrased just a few Proverbs earlier in chapter 15:4, where it says “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”

All Proverbs 18 is saying is that our words have tremendous power over the hearts and minds of other people.  Think about this for a minute. We know that Proverbs 28:9 says: “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.”.  How strange would it be if the Bible taught that God is in control of all things and puts conditions on answering prayers, that but at person could bypass the need for God and the conditions He lays out and take a whole different route of speaking their desires into reality as a second option to prayer.  This would make the Bible to essentially say:

“If you have needs your life, God will listen to your prayers under these conditions.  God is in control, and says that if we seek Him and His righteousness He will provide us with what we need.  But if you don’t follow God, you can bypass God’s laws and his conditions and have your needs met a second way, by creating them out of thin air yourself”.

Clearly, this is not what Proverbs 18 is trying to teach us.

Conclusion

So far, we have looked at 4 possible explanations for Law of Attraction success stories, and we have looked at 3 reasons why the Law of Attraction isn’t supported by the Bible.  We have also looked a little more deeply at one of the primary proof-texts used to support this philosophy, and as I hope we can clearly see, the Law of Attraction has no basis in reality, and certainly no basis in the Word of God. 

Contrary to how well it is received in both New Age and secular self-help circles, when tested against reason and Scripture, it is clear that it’s another distraction meant to strengthen people in false ideas about themselves, life, God, and the supernatural. 

It’s ultimate end is to first get people to deny the necessity of God in one’s spiritual practice, to denying the necessity of God in any area of life, to denying the necessity of the cross of Christ, and it does this by causing people to trust in a mechanism over the Creator, trusting in their own sovereignty rather than God’s sovereignty, and lure them into a false pantheistic theology that asserts the Universe and all things in it are divine.

Anything contrary to the truth won’t serve you.  The truth is Jesus died for your sins, and that partnering with God through repentance and faith in Christ is the best thing you could do for yourself, for the world, and for God.  It doesn’t mean you will get the horse ranch, the ferarri, or the CEO position you have always wanted.

The Bible is clear that God will provide for us according to our needs, not according to our wants, and it may not look like the way we want it to.  As a good Father provides for His children, so God will provide for His children as He sees fit, not as the child sees fit.

The absolute best thing you could do for this life, and most importantly for eternity, is to give yourself fully over to Christ, and it’s God’s promises to us that if we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, that all we need will be provided to us.

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Steven Bancarz is the former founder of "Spirit Science & Metaphysics" and was a full time writer for spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com, which was one of the largest New Age websites in the world. He was also a guest author on thespiritscience.net. He had an encounter with Jesus Christ and quit his job as a New Age writer back in 2015, giving his life fully to the Lord. Steven has since been in full-time ministry after exposing the deception of the New Age movement, founding Reasons for Jesus as an apologetics website. He is the co-author of the best-selling book The Second Coming of the New Age, and has been featured on programs like the 700 Club, Sid Roth's It's Supernatural, 100 Huntley Street, and SkywatchTV. He is also a content creator on YouTube.