Truth and Oprah Winfrey

Apr 1st, 2011 | By | Category: Christian Life, Culture & Wordview

Probably one of the most influential women in America today is Oprah Winfrey.  The Oprah Winfrey Show is now history but she has founded her own network and her influence will hardly diminish.  Through her program, her book club and just her presence, Oprah Winfrey has been a powerful cultural influence.  She advocates a New Age worldview and has popularized strange unorthodox viewpoints in the interest of her New Age proclivities.  Dr. Carl Trueman, Westminster Theological Seminary professor, argues that ?Whether Oprah is a cause, a symptom or something of both, there is no doubt that she is a sign of the times and of the wider culture.  The gospel of redemption through therapeutic public self-disclosure is her stock in trade . . . The truth, if you like, is not ?out there,? but within each person.  That is the constant message of her shows, and it accounts for the vast number of phrases such as ?be true to yourself? and ?I just know in my heart that this is true? or their equivalents that occur on her show.?  For Oprah, redemption comes from public disclosure of the self, of the person on national TV.  Trueman writes that ?Oprah?s show may be gone, but the soap opera plotline that she exemplified and promoted will live on in our society.?  Oprah embodies the Postmodern embrace of autonomy, where the self defines reality and truth.  There are no absolutes and there are no universal standards.  The raw individualism and autonomy that she lived and preached has helped produce a culture that sounds hauntingly familiar??every man is doing what is right in his own eyes.?  In such a culture, freedom and rights are boundless because the individual defines them.  At the end of the day, such an ethic is supremely self-destructive.  This is the culture that Oprah Winfrey helped create.

See Trueman?s essay in Tabletalk (March 2011), pp. 70-71.

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