In the 1950s Norman Vincent Peale first championed “the Power of Positive Thinking” as the equivalent of biblical of “faith”, and he was a phenomenal hit. Unfortunately, he also contributed to the widespread misconception that biblical faith is a “positive thinking” which transcends reality–the idea that reality is a product of our dreams.
Then Robert Schuler built the Crystal Cathedral with “the Power of Possibility Thinking” and took over Norman’s crown as the king of positive thoughts. Now Joel Olstein is the apostle of positive thoughts, and people love it. The “New Atheists” also love it. Dawkins and his boys are relentless in their uneducated assertion that Christian faith is merely wishful (or fanciful) thinking, and the “Positive Thinking” preachers contribute to the foolish stereotype.
Just when it seems “Possibility Thinking” might be a winner, suddenly this headline:
Now wait…that’s not supposed to happen in the Crystal Cathedral. But here’s the story:
The unidentified man walked up three steps to the altar area, knelt before a gold cross and put the gun to his head…
Bummer. It raises questions about the Positive Thinking Power:
- Does this fill the Crystal Cathedral with negative vibes?
- Will the Sunday service be more negative?
- Was the suicidal guy using “Possibility Thinking”?
Interesting conundrums. And ironically, at the time of the suicide:
“We were talking actually about the suicide prevention hotline that we have here at our church and telling [the tourists] it’s opens 24 hours, seven days a week, and then just then, I heard this pop.”
Well, one thing’s for sure: a fact-based faith is better than a thought-based faith (positive or negative). “Facts is facts” people say, and for good reason.
So “Them’s the facts,” in this case.
- Drug Dealers and Legalists
- The Sublime