The ABC News program Nightline is running a series of programs entitled “Face-Off.” Particular ideas or points of view are debated by proponents and detractors of the topic in question. The topic for discussion on the March 26th program was “Does Satan Exist?” One of the experts on the panel that night was New Age guru Deepak Chopra. Chopra is a best-selling author and favorite speaker on public television. In his opening comments he forcefully stated that healthy people don’t need Satan. He went on to claim that Satan is a mythical figure.
Chopra spoke with confidence, and with disdain towards those who believe Satan is real. His words, that healthy people don’t need Satan, bring to mind the words of Christ in Matthew 9:12: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
Chopra thinks he is healthy. In this Nightline appearance, just as in his PBS specials, Chopra appeared to be confident and sophisticated. Actually, he is suffering from a terminal illness. Apart from a genuine, spiritual heart transplant, he will come to find that he is tragically mistaken about Satan being mythical.
Parents, these are important teaching opportunities for your children. As they experience more of the world, they will encounter Chopra or those like him. It is, perhaps, easy for you to dismiss this man as arrogant and wrong. But when your children hear him quoted as an example of the “real truth” about religion in a high school or college classroom, he will appear to be wise, not arrogant. It is the Bible-believing Christians who will be portrayed to your children as arrogant and out of step with the modern world. Don’t assume that your children will be equipped with discernment just because they have lived in your home and your church.
It is important that your children be prepared ahead of time to meet the Deepak Chopras of the world. For example, you could record his appearance on Nightline and go over it with your children. One thing that you could examine together is what authority he cites for his claims. In this presentation, Chopra did not even bother to cite authorities. His own word was proof enough. This provides an excellent opportunity to discuss the basis on which we can we trust the words of others. Chopra is willing to tell people to dismiss the realities of sin and hell simply because he says so. What a huge responsibility to take on his own shoulders! Make this point with your children. He freely dismisses Christianity because he doesn’t like certain things about it. But he has no real proof–just fine-sounding arguments. If you go to his website you will find some references to Buddha and other Eastern thinkers. But in the end, Chopra is his own authority. This kind of observation can be made even before you begin to examine the particulars of his teaching.
In addition to examining Chopra’s credibility, make sure your children know why the Bible is superior. God’s word is a magnificent document, written over a span of 1,500 years. It is internally consistent. The message of faith is the same from human author to human author. The Holy Spirit oversaw the building of the manuscripts. The truths of the Bible ring true to our own experience. Only the Scriptures speak of grace as the means of knowing and being known by God. In contrast, Deepak Chopra has no Bible to support him. In Chopra’s worldview, attaining some new level of consciousness is the elusive quest in life. And one never knows if he has really arrived or if he has deceived himself into thinking he has arrived.
So, don’t ignore Chopra’s assertions. And don’t dismiss them with a wave of the hand. The Scriptures warn repeatedly about not being taken captive by the deceptive philosophies of this world. They may seem silly to you, but they are dangerous to your children nonetheless. Take whatever time you need to discuss these kinds of ideas with your kids. You will be helped yourself, too, not only as you talk with your children, but also as you talk with friends and coworkers who have seen Nightline and been impressed with Chopra.