Does Religion Mix With The Law of Attraction?
The tension between manifestation and some Black Christians is real, but it shouldn’t be.
When Oprah Winfrey first introduced self-help guru Rhonda Byrne’s book The Secret, the Law of Attraction (LOA) and its guiding philosophies quickly spread like wildfire in the pop culture space. Before long, almost everyone I knew was making plans to manifest into their lives everything from luxury cars to dream homes to their future soul mates. Currently, you would be hard-pressed not to see at least one social media post a day about drinking water, securing the bag, and manifesting your best life. But while some are quick to begin down their yellow brick road to positive thinking, a collection of Black folks are giving the LOA a massive side-eye, and some even have gone as far as to call it witchcraft. Geez. Tough crowd.
So, how do those who follow both the LOA and Christianity combine the systems, and are they complete opposites? Or, has racism and the history of American slavery so derailed Black Christians that we hold ourselves back from seeking more?
In truth, the LOA has been around since the 1800s and follows the premise that we all possess the ability to attract into our lives whatever we focus on. In other words, our mind has the power to materialize our thoughts into reality. If you focus on the positive, you are bound to experience more positivity in your life. On the other hand, if you focus more on negativity or what is not going as planned in your life, you are bound to attract more negativity and unwanted experiences. Essentially, all thoughts eventually turn into something or some outcome. Some might say this is the same as prayer.
A collection of Black folks are giving the LOA a massive side-eye, and some even have gone as far as to call it witchcraft. Geez.
But there’s a group of Black Christians who feel that the LOA contradicts a fundamental belief in Christianity: that God is in control of everything. Furthermore, some of these folks think the good things that we experience are not a result of how amazing we are but instead a testament to God’s goodness. This is where some interpretations of Christianity bump up against attraction philosophy, which instead focuses on the power of our minds working alongside the “universe” to experience all the desires of our heart. Yet many still find themselves flocking to the LOA while also trying to reconcile its principles with religion or fear criticism from some in the conservative Black community.
This was the case for Curly Nikki’s Nikki Walton.
“My desire for freedom led me to the Law of Attraction, but practicing the Law led me beyond it. For me, it wasn’t the whole answer. In the beginning, I wanted the freedom from a typical 9 to 5, to be able to stay home and raise my family. I wanted to ‘manifest’ a good life for myself and those around me. I was able to do just that but not without many challenges along the way,” Walton told ZORA.
Walton, who was raised in a Catholic household but has studied Hindu, Sufi, and Buddhist texts over the last 10 years, shared with ZORA that despite her excitement of over finding the LOA, she was reluctant to share her newfound passion because she feared how others would perceive her. Like many others in the Black community who work with manifestation, Walton is well aware of the stigma that exists within some Black Christian cohorts and did not want to find herself in their crosshairs.
A decade later, Walton says, “Now I see no ‘others.’ I see everything as love. I see everyone as a manifestation of God. So there is no longer anyone to fear.” And it just so happened that Walton did not experience any weird looks or eye rolls when she began sharing teachings from the LOA.
“Everyone, to some degree, is seeking spiritually,” she explained. “The world is so crazy that folks are having to seek beyond the traditional paths. The way I share on Instagram has been received warmly. I receive thousands of direct messages from successful, educated people genuinely seeking relief from suffering.”
But unfortunately, Walton’s experience is not shared by everyone. Some people like myself have received a bit of push back from well-intended relatives who either completely dismiss the Law Of Attraction as a trend or have damned me to hell over so much as reading a chapter out of the book. By no means am I an LOA expert, and I have only referred to its practices a number of times, but on the occasions that I have shared the LOA with some of my older Christian relatives, let’s say I hung up with regret and they hung up probably praying for my salvation.
But why can’t the LOA and Christianity coexist? Not surprisingly, there are several parallels between the LOA and Christianity. Both encourage us to practice love, patience, tolerance, and humility, and both encourage us to be our best selves to one another. And let’s be clear, the LOA is not a religion nor does it suggest that there is no God. In fact, some Christians who practice the LOA replace the use of “the universe” with God.
“For me, God is love. The Bible says it, too. And this love is a felt experience. It’s felt faith. It’s the word of the Christian faith. It’s the vortex of the Law of Attraction,” Walton says. “It’s this same energy that doesn’t need a name because it existed before language! I know that when I’m aware of love, or rather, aware as love, I lack nothing.”
Admittedly, I still find myself in the throes of trying to find space for both the LOA and my religious beliefs and often feel conflicted between the two. At times, I even experience guilt, which puts me anywhere but in a positive place. When this happens, I talk myself off the proverbial ledge and tell myself that God would want me to think positively, right? God would also want me to be comfortable and to have enough, which is what many preachers teach. Also, with so many preachers teaching prosperity gospel, how is this really any different? But bigger than all that, the Bible encourages us to claim our blessings and to have faith even during times of deep despair. What is manifestation if not faith? Believing God wants the best for me and wants me to do good, be good, and experience good things for my life sounds like a blessing to me.