The Church of Oprah exposed

Here is a video I found that has over 10 million views on youtube. It demonstrates the way Oprah may include religous content in her media.

The Church of Oprah

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Bibliography

Works Cited

“Celebrity Religion: Omnipotent Oprah.” Celebrity Religion. N.p., 5 Nov. 2006. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://celebrityreligion.typepad.com/celebrity_religion/2006/05/omnipotent_opra.html>.This material will help in supporting the idea that Oprah Winfrey is believed to be a “prophet” to some degree, and demonstrates the impact that she has on the society. It emphasized the fact that she is a celebrity, as well as a media icon thus increasing her power as one of the most influential people in the world among other celebrities and includes celebrity commentary on the topic. It also mentions Kathryn Lofton who is also referenced throughout the paper to analyze Oprah’s impact as a religious figure. This is a site that can be used to take a deeper look into the way celebrities infiltrate religion into their work. This helps support the argument of how influential Oprah really is and if her followers are buying her spiritual beliefs.

Larsen Stoddard, Aimee. “Oprah’s Fake Christian Gospel & Spiritual Ideas?: Does Oprah Winfrey Promote False New Age Spirituality and Beliefs?.” Suite101.com: Online Magazine and Writers’ Network. N.p., 3 Feb. 2010. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://www.suite101.com/content/oprahs-fake-christian-gospel–spiritual-ideas-a197548>. This article written by Aimee Stoddard is further analyzing the book written by Christian evangelical apologist Josh McDowell and Dave Sterett who claim in the book “O” god that Oprah is a fake spiritual teacher and guru who distorts Christianity. This is aimed to help people of the Christian faith in determining whether Oprah’s practices are in any way demoralizing and work against the Christian and traditional faith. It provides more of an outlook on the overall idea that Oprah may be promoting false ideologies and New Age spirituality and beliefs. This article helps support my idea that the content in Oprah’s websites, magazines, and film may be creating a new outlet for its readers and aiding in practice of a new type of spirituality. It demonstrated the way Oprah’s beliefs are under attack, and the way many of her ideas are not favored by some.  

Lesser, Elizabeth. “Rev. Ed Bacon – Oprah.com.” Oprah Winfrey’s Official Website – Live Your Best Life – Oprah.com. N.p., 10 June 2009. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Your-Spiritual-Journey>. This article written by Elizabeth Lesser is featured on the Oprah website in the spirit section. This is aimed specifically to Oprah followers and audience who regularly visit her website. This is significant to my topic and will help to demonstrate the way she includes spirituality and religion into her media through her online content from the main Oprah website. It was featured on a segment called Oprah’s best life week and the focus topic was to help people in finding their spiritual path. Here Oprah wants people who may not even be religious to have help in finding their spiritual path. Attending the discussion or some of Oprah’s favorite spiritual teachers to come shed some light and spread their ideas of spirituality. This helps in analyzing my research topic and whether her may affect dedicated fans religious beliefs and ideas.

Lofton, Kathryn. Oprah: the gospel of an icon. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Print. This book written by Kathryn Lofton is a direct link to the topic that is discussed throughout my paper. It navigates and further investigates the Oprah phenomenon and the Oprah Empire though O magazines, Production Company, and websites to demonstrate just how she has an impact through media on religion. Lofton insist that Oprah is constantly offering her audience spiritual revolution and acts as a media messiah for a secular age. It’s also a anti Oprah view, and supports the notion that she is not someone that people may want to look at for spiritual evolution. Lofton also works to illuminate how Oprah affects the world culturally and how she continues patterns of American religions. This works in reference to the other book “O” god mentioned in previous citations, and will help build the argument on how she may be creating a new religion.

Mattingly, Terry . “Just what are Oprah Winfrey’s core beliefs?.” Religion News Blog : religious cults, sects, world religions, and related issues. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://www.religionnewsblog.com/17159/just-what-are-oprah-winfreys-core-beliefs>. The article here written by Terry Mattingly questions what Oprah spiritual beliefs may be, and gives some examples of the way she makes her show a type of testimonial for her fans. This article will help to further analyze just how Oprah may include some religion like ideology and practices in her everyday show. It enforces the idea that she will not tie a certain religion to herself offering a religious label, and the how she has referenced or been tied to some traditional religions in the past. It offers more light on the fact that some people believe Oprah turns the spiritual into too much of a psychological, self centered, self fulfillment idea, rather than having use or praying to a specific god or traditional symbol. It focuses on how she makes things more “spiritual” and less “religious” for her audience. It raises the question as to if anyone is really sure what Oprah’s religious beliefs are, and references the book The Gospel according to Oprah by Marcia Nelson which is I have also included into my works cited. 

McDavis, David . “Oprah Winfrey Opens Church, Founds Religion | DavisMcDavis on Xanga.” DavisMcDavis on Xanga. N.p., 3 Feb. 2005. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://davismcdavis.xanga.com/197822930/oprah-winfrey-opens-church-founds-religion/>. This article, written by Davis Mcdavis, discusses Oprah opening a church in Chicago and “O, The Oprah Religion. It goes into detail on how it may have an effect on its audience, and he is clearly against it speaking in sarcasm in comparing it to traditional Christian religions. He demonstrates how Oprah acts as sort of a deity and god herself which was also mentioned in another article cited on the celebrity religion website. This is relevant to my discussion since it discussed how Oprah keeps religion in her media and talks about some of the rituals she may influence her audience to participate in. The audience is clearly women and offering them something else to be a part of and belive.

McDowell, Josh, and Dave Sterrett. O God a Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality.. New York: Midpoint Trade Books, 2009. Print. This is one of the books that I found that would help me to further analyze Oprah in her respects to Spirituality. It is written by two Christian others Josh Mcdowell and Dave Sterrett who feel like she is trying to lead people astray from traditional Christian beliefs and create her own new religion. This book is referenced in another citation, and debates Oprahs controversial spiritual belies.

Melanson, Terry. “Oprah Winfrey, New Thought, “The Secret” and the “New Alchemy”  .” Illuminati Conspiracy Archive: ConspiracyArchive.com    . N.p., 7 Apr. 2007. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://www.conspiracyarchive.com/Commentary/Oprah_The_Secret.htm>.

Mikkelson, Barbara, and David Mikkelson. “snopes.com: Oprah and the New Age Christ.” snopes.com: Urban Legends Reference Pages. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/newageoprah.asp>.

Mittell, Jason . “Audiences Talking Genre; Television Talk Shows and Cultural Hierarchies.” Journal of Popular Film and Television 31.1 (2003): 19. ProQuest. Web. 6 Apr. 2011. This academic article by James Mittell gives an overall analysis of talk shows. In referencing Oprah’s show, he discussed how it may not be filled with the “traditional “talk show viewers, and has a much broader audience. Mittell also makes it clear that he feels Oprah has a brainwashing ability on women, and that women look at her as a higher quality talk show ost. This is evident to my paper since it is important to look at the way people view Oprah as a media figure to understand how her content can have an influence on them. Women who seek guidance and are in regular attendance, as well as overweight women, is believed according to Mittell be her main fan base. 

Nelson, Marcia Z.. The gospel according to Oprah  . Louisville, Ky.: Westminster J. Knox Press, 2005. Print. This book written by Marcia Nelson is one of the first major books referencing Oprah and religion. Nelson shows how she uses media to her advantage to promote her religious ideas. Nelson as mentioned in her cited book review she makes it evident that Oprah does have a huge fan base and disagrees with people who do not agree that she has created this new community that have this desire to improve their lives. She presents Oprah in a way people may not have viewed her before, and offers her ideas on Oprah’s spiritual teachings.

“Oprah Winfrey & Her New Age Religion Are Trying To “Redefine” And Destroy Traditional Christianity.” Moral Decline. N.p., 4 Aug. 2008. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://themoralcollapseofamerica.blogspot.com/2008/08/oprah-winfrey-her-new-age-religion-are.html>. This post online discusses the fact that Oprah Winfrey may be promoting New Age religion like a previously cited article. It emphasizes the fact that trying to promote ideas that are opposed to the foundational beliefs found in the scriptures. Here it is also believed that she is promoting New Age religion through her television show specifically, and has a video clip included of Oprah and audience members arguing over fundamental beliefs. It’s interesting to see how she discussed this in her show, and is highly relevant to my topic and how religion is incorporated into her content.

Parkins, Wendy . “Oprah Winfrey’s change your life TV and the Spiritual Everyday .” Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 15.2 (2001): 14. EBSCO. Web. 10 Apr. 2011.- This academic article written by Wendy Parking continues to demonstrate the way Oprah’s media content can influence it viewers on a regular basis. Parkins considers that fact that Oprah believes change happens in small increments, and if she has this type of impact on people daily through her talk show, which is viewed by a enormous amount of viewers, she can change the way you look at your everyday life. This thus would include the way people treat their families, behave, and view the world including their perspective on spirituality. Parkins discusses Oprah’s “renewed mission to enlighten, educate, and entertain viewers. She makes the point that the religion and the spiritual is linked with and located in the world of everyday life and patterns of repetition especially with women who is Oprah’s main audience.

Stout, Daniel . “The Gospel according to Oprah review.” Journal of Media and Religion 6 (2005): 5. EBSCO. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. This scholarly article written by Daniel Stout is a review on the book discussed throughout my paper The Gospel according to Oprah by Maria Nelson. He mentions that many Television personalities have become household words, but few have had the cultural and social impact of Oprah Winfrey. He explains the breakdown of Marcia Nelson’s book, how it is structured, and how it can work as a goldmine for future cultural studies. It also mentioned that the book is not just about values and the way Oprah uses religion in her media, but how she communicated them effectively through entertainment. It provides a fresh perspective that’s missing from cultural critics who won’t usually discuss the topic of religion. I feel this is necessary in helping to understand the topic of my paper, and Marcia Nelson’s book.

Swan, James. “Oprah’s Secret.” Alpha and Omega Ministries, The Christian Apologetics Ministry of James R. White. N.p., 5 Mar. 2007. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=1810>. This article written by James Swan brings up the idea of a New Age religion. Swan discusses how New Age was a big thing of the 1980 known as the New Age movement. He suggest throughout this article if Oprah is infiltrating this into her media content, and has a secret of her own. Through her promotion of books like “the secret” and others, is Oprah perhaps the greatest vehicle keeping the new age mysticism and relativism alive through the Oprah Winfrey show? This helps in the discussion of my topic offering a unique spiritual idea in Oprah’s media.

Travis, Trysh. “”It Will Change the World If Everybody Reads This Book”: New Thought Religion in Oprah’s Book Club.” American Quarterly 59 (2007): 26. ProQuest. Web. 7 Apr. 2011.

Wise, Russ. “Oprah Winfrey: The Oprahfication of America – Christian Information.” Christian Information Ministries. N.p., 23 Nov. 2005. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://christianinformation.org/article.asp?artID=103>. This article written by Russ Wise offers an in depth analysis of the idea known as the Oprafiction of America. This is a breakdown of how influential Oprah is and the amount power she has over America by supplying details of how many viewers she can actually reach. Through this breakdown we can see that she has a major impact and is highly influential media figure of our time. This makes it evident that the content she produces, including spiritual content, reaches enough to start her own religion or spread her spiritual beliefs if she wanted to. This is necessary to analyze in order to accurately discuss her spiritual influence. This supply’s background information, her emergence as a spiritual leader, how she may try to convert people to her beliefs, and her overall transformation since Oprah began.

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Media Symbols and Rituals

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