A Rough Guide to New Age Teachers

Energygrid Guide (Updated 21 Oct 05)

Gregg Braden

Modern day prophet and author of several books.
Pros: Seems to be well-meaning and his heart appears to be in the right place. Can be quite inspiring. His latest book The Divine Matrix is excellent.
Cons: Just about all the "evidence" he uses to justify his teachings is spurious, and the fact that he seems to be largely unchallenged in this only bears testimony to the gullibility and scientific naïvety of the New Age community.
Conclusion: Treat his scientific and scriptural "evidence" as fiction and focus on his sentiments. It is a shame his work is so sloppy and contrived as his heart is in the right place and he can be so inspirational. His very recent stuff (Divine Matrix) is better as it is more inspiration-type writing.)
Website: www.greggbraden.com
EG Report: Gregg Braden
EG Article: What Happened to Gregg Braden?
Link: http://www.skepticreport.com/sr/?p=174
Link: http://the2012deception.net/?p=150

From the Editor's perspective:

Ifirst heard of Gregg Braden when he published his book, Awakening to Zero Point back in 1995. To myself and to many others interested in New Age spirituality and science, this book was a revelation — one of the most exciting contemporary books on spirituality and our collective destiny to have been published. What is more, Braden presented himself as a scientist and geologist, with access to the very latest research findings and "inside" scientific opinion from around the world, so the information he presented seemed to be corroborated by the leading-edge scientific community.

Braden's next book, Walking Between The Worlds, explored the science of compassion, emotion and prayer, relating to 2000 years old Essene texts. I found the book hugely inspiring and it certainly established Braden as a modern day prophet and spiritual teacher.

A few years later Braden brought out a third book called The Isaiah Effect which is based around one of the documents among the Dead Sea Scrolls called the Isaiah Scroll. What was remarkable about this scroll is that it was the only one among the 25,000 fragments of papyrus, parchment and hammered copper, collectively known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, that was completely intact. Braden's suggestion is that Isaiah, the first Old Testament prophet, left precise instructions to the people of the future, us, on how to effectively pray. Once again, this book was a huge hit in the New Age community, and by this time, Braden had become one of the leading lights on the New Age lecture circuit, with his work regarded as an important bridge between the scientific and spiritual worlds.

Then, he made a mistake: in January 2004, he published a new book, The God Code, in which he claimed to have found a secret message in our DNA from the Creator Herself: "God Eternal within the body." My introduction to this book was actually a lecture that he gave in London a few months after publication. The mistake he made was to present evidence for his theory that was so obviously contrived that it broke the spell for many of us that had previously regarded him as a modern day prophet. I wrote of my experience at that lecture in an article that I published here on Energygrid.

Please don't misunderstand me: I am not decrying the fact that there could well be a message from our Creator in our DNA. This is entirely possible and maybe even probable (the fact that "junk" DNA has been found to have a grammatical structure certainly supports this possibility). But it is the way that Braden justifies his particular "discovery", a way that is absurdly unscientific and contrived. And whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with being unscientific and contrived if you are just expounding a personal belief or a faith, there is something wrong if you specifically present those beliefs as "scientifically proven" and yourself as a scientist who has worked in the Earth sciences and the aerospace industries. If, whilst presenting yourself as a scientist, you present undeniably false scientific and theological claims, then you are misleading people, period. And that is exactly what Braden is doing.

The article I wrote created a lot of feedback… and not a single message condemning it from any of his supporters, or indeed from Braden himself who is always welcome to write a defence which we will unconditionally publish here. But unfortunately for him, the facts speak for themselves, and anyone who knows me can attest that I am certainly not in the "skeptics' corner". If anything, I am far too open-minded for my own good!

Of course, there were comments from the "skeptics' corner", among them one from Richard Rockley who sent me an email asking me why I had ever been "a HUGE fan" of Braden's considering that his earliest book, Awakening to Zero Point (which I loved), was completely unscientific (see Rockley's critique here). As someone who is scientifically literate, I had to admit to Rockley that I have always given Braden the benefit of the doubt and overlooked the obvious scientific BS because I personally share much of Braden's worldview. I wanted to believe the message of Awakening to Zero Point and so I was completely uncritical of any of the "evidence" that he presents.

I also just couldn't understand why anybody, especially a scientist, would manufacture bogus scientific theory to back up a particular belief system, so I never really bothered to examine Braden's claims. It was only when I read Rockley's article which encouraged me to look at what Braden was basing so much of his work on that I came to realize that I had been duped. And I could only conclude that Braden must know what he is doing as he was, or at least marketed himself as, a scientist (the fabrication of his scientific "evidence" is patently obvious to any scientist or anyone with a scientific mind who examines it objectively). But this implies that he was and is less than honest, a position I am uncomfortable with as he seems so sincere.

Recently, however, it has been pointed out to me that Braden was never a scientist: he was actually a software engineer who had worked in the scientific arena. This does not make him an "earth science expert" as he claims, or indeed a "scientist" at all. In fact, judging by his use of pseudo-science and bad science to justify his position (we are NOT talking about leading-edge or bona fide alternative scientific theory or research here) he shows himself to be scientifically illiterate (or deliberately misleading the public which I will discount). Discovering that Braden was no scientist was a relief to me because it meant that I could accept his sincerity, which I do. After all, if he was a bona fide scientist then one could only conclude that he was deliberately misleading people for whatever reason because the mistakes and contrivances are so appalling.

Okay, I thought, so Braden is no scientist but at least he is a scholar of old religious texts and manuscripts — a point I made at the end of my article on him when I wrote that, "It would be better for him to keep entirely away from science and just speak about prayer, which he is excellent at, as evidenced by his book, The Isaiah Effect." However, once again, I find that I was giving Braden the benefit of the doubt where none was deserved because a few months later I received an email from an academic who has studied the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hebrew Bible and also lectures on them. This academic, who I shall call D.F., took me to task for giving a favourable impression of The Isaiah Effect because, once again, Braden has actually used bogus evidence to justify this aspect of his work as well:

Gregg Braden refers to a "new" translation of the Isaiah Scroll, as if it might reveal some previously unknown secrets. Such a translation does not exist. The text of the Great Isaiah Scroll from Qumran is very close to the Masoretic text. There is an excellent, parsed translation online at www.ao.net/~fmoeller with commentary. Moreover, all of his citations of the Book of Isaiah are from standard versions of English translations of the Bible (all based on Masoretic), not from this "new translation," which is nowhere cited, since it does not exist. Read the footnotes. He frequently quotes Edmond Bordeaux Szekley's "The Essene Gospel of Peace." Whenever Szekley is quoted, a sentence immediately follows referring to the Dead Sea Scrolls — falsely implying the quote came from DSS and/or Book of Isaiah. Szekley's works were published between 1932 and 1937, several years before the discovery of DSS. Szekley claimed he discovered his writings in secret archives of the Vatican, but you may be sure that if such manuscripts existed, scholars would have jumped all over them. So The Isaiah Effect is Braden's imagination based on Szekley's imagination.

D.F. went on to say, regarding The God Code:

I sat in on part of his lecture on The God Code, but had to leave because I couldn't control my laughter. He claimed (as he does not in his book) that the name of God (Yod, He, Vav, He) had been removed from the Bible (cf. Ex. 3:14,15 — "is that a name?") and he, Gregg Braden, has rediscovered it and (with permission of Rabbi So-and-so) can give it to you now. Letter by letter, ha, ha! This whole business went on for about 15 minutes, culminated by the "discovery" of the secret name of God on a tiny fragment excavated at Qumran "just last year," and which he has "permission" of the Israel Antiquities Authority, ha, ha! to reveal to you now. This fragment is presented differently in his book. The name of God (יהוה) was never removed from the Hebrew Bible. It is found throughout the Bible, in the Prophets, the Psalms, Genesis, etc., and of course thousands of times in the Qumran manuscripts.

Please remember that this is written by someone who really is a Bible scholar and academic. And you can verify it for yourself. It appears, therefore, that Braden is basing his Biblical as well as his scientific conclusions on contrived research.

By this time, as you can imagine, I am throwing my hands up in despair because it now appears that the foundation of Braden's writing and lectures is pure fiction. Sure, it is enjoyable and even inspiring fiction, but fiction that is nonetheless masqueraded as fact.

Braden's lack of scholarliness is somewhat offset by what seems to be sincere passion with regards to his work and compassion to humanity. His heart most definitely appears in the right place and even D.F. found him to be "charming", "kind" and "compassionate" man. But it is time that those of us interested in leading-edge science/spirituality realize that Braden does not deserve to be one of this subject's leading lights because he puts out so much spurious information. Although inspiring, its contrived nature by association brings the whole "New Age" and alternative science movement into disrepute, and at a time when alternative science is just starting to gain legitimacy by the efforts of those who have not only been open-minded and compassionate, but impeccable in their research.

This charade must stop, so please challenge Braden at every opportunity on his "scientific" and "Biblical" references and "research", and indeed ask why he presents himself as a scientist at all. And if you find yourself in one of his lectures, just remember that his two favourite catch-phrases — "This is proved scientifically!" and "Scientists do not doubt this!" — come just around the time he will be slipping you some more of his baloney. But at least you will enjoy his open heart.

 

*   *   *

Addendum

Update 26th Mar 2010 - Found a facinating debunking video on Gregg Braden that really brings home the scale of his ignorance/deception. Visit the2012deception.

Update 28th Sept 2007 - Just read Braden's latest book The Divine Matrix and really enjoyed it. This is the sort of inspirational spiritual book that Braden should concentrate on.

Many thanks to D.F., Richard Rockley and everyone else who have given me important feedback on this topic. And for the record, the editor also believes that these are the great transitional times predicted by many ancient cultures.

Email received from Steve R. with thanks:

I have a BSs in Physics and Electrical Engineering, and I'm a paper away from an AB in History [I have no schedule for writing that paper, right now].  I was surprised at the von Daniken-like slipperiness of Braden's writings.

I have just read most of "The Isaiah Effect" and I was surprised at how poor Braden's scientific background was (in that book, he mentions something about his "scientific training" pretty late in the book; before that, I'd figured that he'd read some bad popularizing articles and had just gotten it a bit twisted).  More than that, though, is his lack of historical accuracy with regards to his major claims.

He does a lot of asking the *same* question, and providing an/his answer over and over, as though re-iteration of a poorly-supported truth makes it more true. Indeed--in terms of that support--for a person who has some sort of footnoting, it was surprising to see *very* broad claims given with NO footnotes; he uses phrases like "many researchers" to indicate/imply that scientists GENERALLY accept his view(s), as you know, and has other textual references and innuendoes which go undocumented.

On the religious side, he seems to attempt to appropriate Christianity for his own New Age teachings, and the method of hijacking is to assert that there was a conspiracy enshrined by the outcome of the Council of Nicaea [which he NEVER spells correctly!] in 325 AD, and then picking and choosing fragments of text and imposing extra-textual assumptions in order to "prove" his point.  Were one to view the establishment of a canon for the New Testament a conspiracy, this would not remove the fact that Christianity has some fundamental views which can't be swept under the rug.

In particular, he sounds a lot like Ken Copeland ("The Believer's Voice of Victory"), whom I happened across while flipping through channels, just in time to hear him claim that God's will for "us" (read:  the viewers of and contributors to Kenneth Copeland's ministry…) is to be *actually* rich, monetarily.  Braden claims that we can essentially "claim" *any* outcome in any situation.  He seems to have the caveat that it needs to be a "life-positive" sort of choice, but this is a ship without any real rudder--who cannot say that making all of the poor rich so that they would be "set" and also able to give vast sums to the Church, etc., for further charity is *not* "life-affirming", etc.???  He ignores the fact that Jesus never owned a house, according to the NT, and was not wealthy in any other monetary sense, as far as we know; if God's own *Son* was not intended to be wealthy, then how is it that we mere mortals--all sinners--can be intended to be actually wealthy in money, and can merely "choose" that.  (On second thought, perhaps it sounds even more like other people who say that, via affirmation, all can be changed.  Clearly, there are a lot of people who would love to challenge that.)