Through Oprah Winfrey’s remarkable influence, motivational speaker and author Eckhart Tolle’s teachings have become a staple for the spiritually hungry. Tolle’s message, however, consists of an eclectic mix of ideas from Eastern Religions (e.g., Buddhism and Hinduism), the Mind Sciences, and the New Age Movement, which he weaves together into a unique belief system. Central to his teaching is the belief that the ego (rational thoughts, emotions, memories, perceptions, and self) is an illusion hiding us from the truth that all is one and all is God (monistic pantheism). This “truth,” in Tolle’s view, is not discerned through objective means, but through subjective experience and is not exclusive to a single religion. Tolle teaches that one discerns the core of truth in all religions by a subjective “inner knowing.”
There are several flaws in Tolle’s teaching. The idea that all is one and all is god is refuted by the clear teaching of the Bible. Subjective spiritual experiences are notoriously unreliable and must be tested in light of the objective standard of Holy Scripture. Contrary to Tolle’s belief, the world’s religions at their core are not compatible with one another. Finally, the spiritual counsel Tolle offers leads to absurd solutions to real-life problems.