"COMMUNITY", "SPIRITUAL GROWTH", AND GLOBAL "PEACE"
M. Scott Peck’s books are a tragic example of the means by which professing Christians are being deceived. See Four Ways Christians Are Being Deceived
This article was originally written in 1990. Posted on this site about 1998. Updated 10/3/2016.
1. M. Scott Peck, M.D.
a. “Educated at Harvard (B.A.) and Case Western Reserve (M.D.), Dr. M. Scott Peck has served in administrative posts in the government during his career as a psychotherapist. He has been the Medical Director of the New Milford Hospital Mental Health Clinic and a psychiatrist in private practice in New Milford, Connecticut.” (The Road Less Traveled, p. 318)
b. “After many years of vague identification with Buddhist and Islamic mysticism, I ultimately made a firm Christian commitment – signified by my non-denominational baptism on the ninth of March 1980…” (People of the Lie, p. 11)
a. The Road Less Traveled (RLT) – 1978 A Touchstone Book by Simon & Schuster, Inc. “A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth” (See quotes in section 4 of this article)
b. People of the Lie (POTL) – 1983 A Touchstone Book by Simon & Schuster, Inc. “The Hope For Healing Human Evil” (See quotes in section 7 of this article)
c. The Different Drum (DD) – 1987 A Touchstone Book by Simon & Schuster, Inc. “Community Making and Peace: A Spiritual Journey Toward Self-Acceptance, True Belonging, and New Hope for the World” (See quotes in sections 5, 6, 8, and 9 of this article)
3. M. Scott Peck’s books can be found in both Christian and New Age bookstores.
4. Evolving to god-hood – page numbers from RLT
a. “God wants us to become Himself (or Herself or Itself). We are growing toward godhood. God is the goal of evolution.” (p. 269)
b. “To put it plainly, our unconscious is God. God within us.” (p. 281)
c. “I am indebted for this analogy to [Carl] Jung, who, [described] himself as ‘a splinter of the infinite deity’…” (p. 281)
d. M. Scott Peck has never refuted or modified in subsequent books the views expressed in The Road Less Traveled. In fact, his later books continue to express the same metaphysical world-view.
a. “Patterns of Transformation” – “Stages of Spiritual Growth” (p. 186-188)
Stage I : Chaotic, Anti-social
Stage II : Formal, Institutional
Stage III: Skeptic, Individual
Stage IV: Mystic, Communal
b. Stage II Conversion (p. 190)
“But for most, the institution to which they submit themselves for governance is the Church.” “There are several things that characterize the behavior of men and women in Stage II of their spiritual development, which is the stage of the majority of churchgoers and believers.”…”their attachment to forms (as opposed to the essence of their religion)…formal… institutional…threatened when someone seems to be playing footloose and fancy-free with the rules.” “Another thing characterizing the religious behavior of Stage II people is that their vision of God is almost entirely that of an external, transcendent Being. They have very little understanding of the immanent, indwelling God……And although they consider Him loving, they also generally feel He possesses – and will use – punitive power….they need a legalistic religion for their governance.”
c. Stage IV – Becoming a Mystic
Every Shade of Religious Belief “Yet through the ages, mystics of every shade of religious belief have spoken have spoken of unity, of an underlying connectedness between things: between men and women, us and the other creatures and even inanimate matter as well, a fitting together according to an ordinarily invisible fabric underlying the cosmos.” (p. 192)
Deeper Mysteries “Mystics acknowledge the enormity of the unknown… they seek to penetrate ever deeper into it that they may understand more… They love mystery, in dramatic contrast to those in Stage II, who need simple, clear-cut dogmatic structures and have little taste for the unknown and unknowable.” “Mystics throughout the ages have not only spoken of emptiness but extolled its virtues.” (p. 192)
One World Community “…they are the ones most aware that the whole world is a community…. they know this to be one world.” (p. 193)
Psychoactive Drugs “…after he had drunk a bit of whiskey or smoked a little marijuana, Michael would begin to talk of life and death and meaning and glory and become ‘spirit-filled’, and I would sit listening at his feet enthralled. …..See the early ‘Don Juan’ books by Carlos Castenedas for a description of the role of psychoactive drugs in his Stage III to Stage IV conversion…..I do not mean to bless the use of drugs for such purposes but simply to state the reality that in his case they loosened him up enough to flow in the direction he was being called…” (p. 194)
All Religions and Interdependence “Stage IV therapists do best leading highly independent people toward a recognition of the mystical interdependence of this world.” (p. 196) “My experience suggests that this progression of spiritual development holds true in all cultures and for all religions. Indeed, one of the things that seems to characterize all the great religions – Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism – is their capacity to speak to people in both Stage II and Stage IV. In fact, I suspect this is why they are great religions.” (p. 196, 197)
No End to Conversion “…the whole point of life is the development of souls… we are all on an ongoing spiritual journey and… there is no end to our conversion.” “The individual journey through the stages of spiritual development is also a journey into and out of culture. Erich Fromm [in The Sane Society] once defined socialization as the process of ‘learning to like to do what we have to do.'” (p. 200)
The Perennial Philosophy “Aldous Huxley labeled mysticism ‘the perennial philosophy’ because the mystical way of thinking and being has existed in all cultures and all times since dawn of recorded history. Although a small minority, mystics of all religions the world over history. Although a small minority, mystics of all religions the world over have demonstrated an amazing commonality, unity. Unique though they might be in their individual personhood, they have largely escaped free from – transcended – those human differences that are cultural.” (p. 202)
Jesus the Mystic “Nowhere in all of literature is there a better description of someone who had transcended culture than in the Gospels. Before and since Jesus, from time to time there have been saints who have transcended their culture and also had ‘no place to lay their heads’.” (p. 205)
Global Leap of Human Evolution “But they were one in ten thousand, if that. Today it is different. Because of.. mass communication that brings foreign cultures to our door, and… psychotherapy that leads us to question [the way] we were raised – the number of people entering the mystical stage of development and transcending ordinary culture seems to have increased a thousandfold in the course of a mere generation or two. They remain a minority – currently no more than one in twenty. Still, one wonders if the explosion in their numbers might represent a giant leap forward in the evolution of the human race, a leap toward not only mystical but global consciousness and world community. Perhaps the greatest prophet of this leap was Teilhard de Chardin.” (p. 205)
6. Meditation – page numbers from DD
a. Hindu Mystic Krishnamurti
“Our responsibility as individuals to empty ourselves in order to achieve peace was stated clearly by the Hindu mystic Krishnamurti twenty years ago in his book Freedom from the Known. (p. 209)
b. Emptiness – What Comes In Is Beyond Our Control
“It is important for people who find the concept of emptiness frightening to remember that meditation – emptiness – is not an end in itself but the means to an end. It is said that nature abhors a vacuum. So it is that the moment we become empty something comes into our emptiness. The virtue of meditation is that whatever comes into emptiness is beyond our control. It is the unforeseen, the unexpected, the new. And it is only from the unforeseen, the unexpected, the new that we learn.” (p. 210)
7. Psychology and Education – page numbers from POTL
a. “God does not punish…. God cannot destroy; He can only create.” (p. 204)
b. “In one [scenario] all human souls, having been converted to light and love, reach out to the spirit of hate and falsehood in friendship. Finally realizing itself to be totally defeated, with no human body left to possess, with all immune to its power, out of utter loneliness it breaks down and accepts the offer of friendship, and thereby in the end even Satan is converted. That is the scenario I pray for.” (p. 209)
c. “The final major model [of evil], that of traditional Christianity, I label ‘diabolic dualism.’ Here evil is regarded as being not of God’s creation but a ghastly cancer beyond His control. While this model has its own pitfalls, it is the only one of the three that deals adequately with the issue of murder and the murderer.” (p. 46)
d. “It is the principal thesis of this work that these specific [evil] people – as well as human evil in general – need to be studied scientifically (p. 10)….. A psychology of evil must be a healing psychology…. a psychology of evil must be a religious psychology…it must not only embrace valid insights from all religious traditions but must also recognize the reality of the ‘supernatural'”. (p. 45)
e. “The effort to prevent group evil – including war – must therefore be directed toward the individual. It is, of course, a process of education. And that education can be conducted most easily within the traditional existing framework of our schools. This book is written in the hope that someday in our secular as well as religious schools all children will be carefully taught the nature of evil and the principles of its prevention.” (p. 252)
a. “In and through community lies the salvation of the world…. peacemaking must be the first priority of civilization…” (p. 17)
b. “I am dubious, however, as to how far we can move toward global community – which is the only way to achieve international peace – until we learn the basic principles of community in our own individual lives and personal spheres of influence.” (p. 17)
c. “But what is spiritual salvation, particularly when we think of the spirit as immortal? Here the work takes on more the meaning of healing… Spiritual healing is a process of becoming whole or holy. Most specifically, I would define it as an ongoing process of becoming increasingly conscious. Even Freud, an atheist, said that the purpose of psychotherapy – healing of the psyche – was to make the unconscious conscious. And Jung ascribed human evil to the refusal to meet the Shadow – the Shadow being those aspects of ourselves that we do not want to own or recognize and that we continually attempt to sweep under the rug of consciousness.” (p. 19)
d. “The key to community is the acceptance – in fact, the celebration – of our individual and cultural differences. Such acceptance and celebration – which resolves the problem of pluralism and which can occur only after we learn how to become empty – is also the key to world peace.” (p. 186)
e. “And that community, which includes all faiths and all cultures without obliterating them, is the cure for ‘the core of our greatest contemporary trouble.'” (p. 20)
f. “One of the roots of the community movement was what has been called the T-Group…. [which] became the model for the sensitivity-group movement.” (p. 320)
g. “Empowerment – What to do now? Start communities. Start one in your church. Start one in your school. Start one in your neighborhood.” (p. 326)
h. “But there are rules!…The hope of the book is that we will learn them first in our personal lives, then apply them universally. For that is how the world will be saved.” (p. 21)
i. “But what, then, does such a rare group [a true community] look like? How does it function? What is a true definition of community?” (p. 59)
j. “Community is a spirit – but not in the way that the familiar phrase ‘community spirit’ is usually understood…. The spirit of community is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. This does not mean that community is solely a Christian phenomenon. I have seen community develop among Christians and Jews, Christians and atheists, Jews and Muslims, Muslims and Hindus. People of any religious persuasion or none whatever can develop community.” (p. 73)
9. One World Government – “The Obsolescence of the Nation-State System” page numbers from DD
a. “Instead, our primary goal should be as rapidly as possible to turn our swords – and our guns and bombs and tanks and missiles – the whole kit and caboodle – over to the United Nations or another variety of supranational government.” (p. 271)
b. “In fact, a supranational government is incompatible with the nation-state system.” (p. 272)
c. “A society must be able to work through an economic depression in order to make the changes it needs to make to remain a sane and healthy society.” (p. 280)
d. “If we were willing to undergo an economic depression voluntarily, there would be time for planning, for gradual change, for innovative strategies that would minimize economic disruption. The key to large social change is substitution – not demolition of institutions but their transformation.” (p. 281)
e. “In the process of achieving peace I would not, for example, suggest that we simply do away with our military…. I would propose the transformation of our military into a national service corps, an idea that many of our best minds have long been espousing…. [to be used for] slum clearing, education, and conservation… self-defense through nonviolent means: a cadre of brave men and women thoroughly trained in the techniques of passive resistance and nonviolent action.” (p. 281)
f. “In December 1984 nine of my colleagues and I met together to form The Foundation for Community Encouragement (FCE). The purpose of this tax-exempt public foundation is ‘to encourage the development of community wherever it does not exist, and to assist existing communities, whether secular or religious, to strengthen themselves and their relationships with other communities ultimately thereby fostering the movement toward world understanding.'” (p. 331)
a. People of the Lie – “The Washington Times”, “Contemporary Christian Magazine”
b. The Different Drum
– Marilyn Ferguson, author of The Aquarian Conspiracy and Care of Mind/Care of Spirit
– Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle In Time
11. Aquarian Conspiracy
a. The Aquarian Conspiracy, was written by Marilyn Ferguson in 1980.
b. Called the “Handbook of the New Age” by “USA Today”, it describes an “underground network” that is “working to create a different kind of society based on a vastly enlarged concept of human potential.”
c. The Road Less Traveled is listed under “Readings and References” for chapter 11, “Spiritual Adventure: Connection to the Source”
12. New Age Catalogue
a. The New Age Catalogue, was published in 1988 by the editors of “Body, Mind, and Spirit” magazine.
b. The catalogue includes books on channeling, Edgar Cayce, crystals, tarot cards, meditation, yoga, etc.
c. The Road Less Traveled, is featured in an audio tape format in the section called “Create Your Reality” (“Dr. Peck… shows you how to cultivate your own religion and open up to the positive force he calls grace.) The Aquarian Conspiracy, is featured in the section called “The Planet”.
d. The Different Drum, is promoted in a section called, “New Lifestyles/Communities – The Meaning of Community”.