Handbook of Today's Religions
This statement is from an interview with former used car salesman John Paul Rosenberg, now known as Werner Erhard, founder and director of EST (Erhard Seminars Training) one of the fastest-growing movements in America. Thousands of people, including prominent public figures, have given glowing testimonies of the transforming effects of EST.
Dr. Herbert Hansher, psychology professor at Temple University, has called EST "one of the most powerful therapeutic experiences yet devised" (Adelaid Bry, EST 60 Hours that Transform Your Life, New York: Avon, 1976, p. 200). Singer/Songwriter John Denver has said of his EST encounters, "It's the single most important experience of my life" (Newsweek, December 20, 1976).
Although not primarily religious in nature, EST denies the basic beliefs of the historic Christian faith, yet claims compatibility with Jesus Christ and Christianity. It is for this reason we treat EST with the non-Christian cults.
By way of background, Erhard (or
Rosenberg) traveled the religious merry-go-round of Scientology,
Zen Buddhism, yoga, hypnosis, Silva Mind Control and a host of
other religious movements before presenting the world with EST in
1971 ("Werner Erhard-An Interview with the Source of
EST" Part 1, The New Age Journal, No. 7, Sept. 15, 1975, pp.
Erhard has said, "We want
nothing short of a total transformation - an alteration of
substance, not a change of form" (Werner Erhard, What's So,
Jan. 1975). This alteration or transformation is accomplished
during the training sessions by attempting to change the
individual's concept of who he is. Once a person's belief system
is shredded, the person becomes vulnerable to accepting the
ESTian world view.
Accordingly, there is no objective truth, no absolutes except the absolute of "whatever is, is right." With this viewpoint one could argue that anyone has the right to do whatever he wishes, including killing six million Jews, because he is perfect. Such a world view opens the door to frightening possibilities.
At the heart of the ESTian world view is the assumption that God is man and man is God, and that each individual must come to understand he is his own God. John Denver illustrated this assumption in his statement, "I can do anything. One of these days, I'll be so complete I wont be human, I'll be a god" (Newsweek, Dec. 20, 1976).
Erhard's seminars attempt to enlighten the uninitiated to this truth. As one EST trainer told his trainees, "It ought to be perfectly clear to everyone that you are all (expletive deleted) and I'm God. Only an (expletive deleted) would argue with God" (Luke Rhinehart, The Book of EST, New York: Holt Rhinehart and Winston, 1976, p. 47).
Seeing that all of us are God, we
are now provided with justification to do whatever we please,
since as God we are answerable to no one.
The Bible reveals not only that man is not God, but that he can never become God. God is by nature infinite (unlimited) whereas man is finite (limited). God is the creator and man is the creature. We are dependent on Him for our very existence.
The God who made the world and
all things in it, since He is Lord of Heaven and earth, does not
dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human
hands, as though he needed anything since He Himself gives to all
life and breath and all things (Acts 17:24, 25 NASB).
"For from within, out of the
heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts,
murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as
deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All
these evil things proceed from within and defile the mad".
The experience EST offers is a
pseudo-answer to mans deepest need. Only a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ can truly satisfy the longing of
the human heart. Jesus said, "If therefore the Son shall
make you free you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36 NASB).
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