Conversations with God is a series of books by Neale Donald Walsch, the first of which was published in 1995. I want to pause here and say that New Age religion was not just a fad that exploded in the '90s and then went out of style. It existed before then, and it is alive and well today; it has merely changed its name. Now it is called, among other things, the "New Spirituality" and the "New World View" and has successfully infiltrated the Christian Church. I'm giving you my personal experience, so please bear with me. These dots will all connect.
Conversations with God was marketed as a channeled message. The author claimed that God himself spoke directly through him, and Walsch wrote down everything God had to say. It might sound surprising that anyone would take a book seriously that was advertised as delivering a channeled message from the Almighty, yet the first book stayed on the New York Times best seller list for 137 weeks. The succeeding 8 volumes appeared prominently (stats courtesy of Wikipedia). In other words, millions of copies sold, and Walsch made a lot of money. People really believed this was the voice of God.
I knew one young woman in particular, who had underlined various passages throughout the book. She had read and reread until the pages were worn. She had absorbed these teachings. When I expressed doubt, her response was a cheerful, "We need to work on you!" I don't actually remember who this woman was or how I knew her, but I think she was a friend of a friend, because I remember someone else being at her house. At any rate, I think I got a copy of the book from the library. I never finished it. The one thing that stands out in my mind is the supposed God's comment that he doesn't care who, or how many people, we have sex with.
You might think that would be enough to tip off anyone who had been raised Christian to the fact that this book was a phoney. But if you were, say, a young, unmarried, sexually active person, you might be tempted to believe this nonsense. Maybe sex outside of marriage wasn't a sin after all! What actually made me draw the conclusion that these were not God's words was the writing style. Sometimes God was using the "thees and thous" of the King James version of the Bible, and other times he was speaking in modern English. I decided that the old English was being used to sound authentic, but the author wasn't smart enough to be consistent. Being an English nerd was clearly in my favor that time. Bullet dodged.
That's not to say that these books were not authentic channelings. What do I mean by that? Simply this. When you open the door to the occult, you never know what sort of spirits you are letting in. Spiritual warfare is real. The devil is real, and demons are real. And they can and do speak through people. The great New Age achievement is to make us believe that there is no such thing as evil, no such thing as hell. Certainly no such thing as sin. There is no duality. We are all one, and there is no separation between us and God. Everything is God. This is the message of Conversations with God.
Incidentally, the young woman who hung on every word of this book also introduced me to Reiki. She held her hands closely over my body. My eyes were closed, and suddenly I could feel a strong heat coming from my chest. It didn't hurt; I just felt an intense warmth. Right as I was having this experience, the woman told me that she could feel a lot of heat coming from my heart chakra. Chakras are "energy centers" of the body. Reiki is supposed to heal you by balancing these energies. I was an immediate believer. We had both felt the same thing!
I will cover Reiki more extensively later, but since this experience is linked in my mind with Conversations with God, it makes sense to introduce the topic now. I only very recently learned that Reiki is considered by many to be part of the New Age movement. I couldn't see what could be wrong with it, because this idea of spiritual "energy" had become so entrenched in my mind that I had for years just assumed it to be true. The Reiki practioner channels (there's that word again!) universal energy (the Universe again!) to balance the body's energy centers and promote healing. But where does this power of healing really come from? Ah, dear Watson, that is the question.