M. Scott Peck—A New Age Thinker 1936-2005

Ray Yungen on M. Scott Peck:

Over the past couple of decades, on the New York Times bestseller list, one title has consistently stood out: The Road Less Traveled, by the late Dr. M. (Morgan) Scott Peck. LIFE magazine called it a "national institution" and compared its selling power to that of the Bible.

That may not be an overstatement considering the book has sold millions of copies and profoundly influenced tens of millions of people. The prestigious Wall Street Journal resounded that The Road Less Traveled was "Brilliant in its insistence that there is no distinction between the process of achieving spiritual growth and achieving mental growth."

In the self-help sections of many large bookstores, M. Scott Peck usually receives almost half a shelf devoted to his books. His influence remains substantial and enduring. The remarkable chord Peck has struck with so many readers is his no-nonsense approach to life's problems. He proposes how one should tackle adverse situations head on with the goals being both psychological and spiritual growth.

But what does spiritual growth mean to Peck? Well, we can learn this by the very statement he poses to his readers: "I have said that the ultimate goal of spiritual growth is for the individual to become as one with God." He then makes this bold proclamation: "It is for the individual to become totally, wholly God." In familiar New Age fashion he believes "these concepts" have been promoted in the past "by Buddha, by Christ, by Lao-Tse, among many others." (from A Time of Departing, chapter 3)

"Mystical prayer is also the basis for Peck's spirituality. He noted the necessity of it in his book, A World Waiting To Be Born: "This process of emptying the mind is of such importance it will continue to be a significant theme … Peck also conveys the notion that Jesus was "an example of the Western mystic" who "integrated himself with God." He added that Jesus' message to us was to "cease clinging to our lesser selves" and find "our greater true selves." Contemplative prayer, he believes, "is a lifestyle dedicated to maximum awareness." You might be interested to know that former Vice President Al Gore has his endorsement on the book's back cover. He praises it as being "extremely important" and an "invaluable guide," stating the book's teachings have given us "powerful new reasons for hope." (page 58, 59) From A Time of Departing ...

"The late M. Scott Peck who is popularly read by Christians said, 'While I continue to make use of what I have learned from Buddhism, there are aspects of Buddhism [like reincarnation] that I am agnostic about. That means I don't disbelieve it and I don't believe it; I just don't know. On the other hand, I find distasteful the traditional idea of Christianity which preaches the resurrection of the body' (Further Along the Road Less Traveled, pp. 168-169; M. Scott Peck)." —Spiritual fusion: East comes West, Mike Oppenheimer, Let Us Reason Ministries

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