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Published on Dec 13, 2011
An evocative exploration of Oprah Winfrey's religious beliefs, from her rejection of her Baptist upbringing to her controversial rise as "an icon of church-free spirituality."
Born into poverty in Mississippi in 1954 and rising through talent, hard work and despite tragedy—she was raped at the age of nine and lost an infant son at 14—Oprah Winfrey has become one of the wealthiest, most powerful, and most popular women of her age. These facts alone would make Winfrey worthy of study, yet what makes her of even more profound impact on American society is her decision to champion the cause of "New Age Christianity." She is, as Christianity Today has proclaimed, "a postmodern priestess—an icon of church-free spirituality." Rejecting her Baptist roots, Winfrey has become a champion of the Course in Miracles, a seminar in which Christianity is reinterpreted in terms of self-actualization, personal divinity, and self-empowerment. She has also become a disciple of Eckhart Tolle, the increasingly popular teacher of a form of spirituality that blends Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and Christianity.
Author Stephen Mansfield explores the Winfrey spiritual phenomenon—much as Mansfield has with figures like George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Pope Benedict XVI, and Winston Churchill.