No deal: Cosmic ordering is nonsense, says bishop

Just weeks after he was feted for his near-miraculous comeback, the television presenter Noel Edmonds is mired in a religious controversy.

The Bishop of St David's, the Right Reverend Carl Cooper, has used his Easter message to describe the celebrity's talk of cosmic ordering and comparisons with Christian prayer as "nonsense".

Edmonds recently credited his return to the nation's television screens to the wishes he was granted thanks to cosmic ordering.

Conceding that some might think he was "away with the fairies", the 57-year-old Deal or No Deal presenter insisted that his career revival had been among six orders he had placed - four of which have been realised since he wrote them down in October. But the Bishop poured cold water on the system which claims people can "place an order with the cosmos" and wait for it to be delivered.

Pointing out it had been likened to the power of prayer, he said: "This is nonsense. It may be laudable to set goals in life, but we don't need to dress this up in spiritual language. Intercessory prayer is part of our Christian tradition, however, it is not divine room service, nor is it a heavenly shopping trolley."

One of Britain's youngest bishops at 45, he has previously been an outspoken critic of celebrity culture, criticising the "pipe dreams" offered to reality TV contestants and arguing that the Church had done more to help the developing world than Bob Geldof's Live Aid.

In his Easter address, the bishop refers to the "former king of Crinkley Bottom" as the "come-back kid". He adds: "It would be very easy to caricature the Lord's resurrection as 'Jesus - the come-back kid'. However, this would do a grave injustice to Christian belief."

A regular face on television for many years, Edmonds's career appeared to be over in 1999 when Noel's House Party was axed. But the Channel 4 quiz show Deal Or No Deal, in which contestants vie for up to £250,000, has become a success story for Channel 4, with an audience of five million, and has earned the presenter a Bafta nomination.

On Edmonds' website he refers to the lifeline he discovered when he read Barbel Mohr's The Cosmic Ordering Service.

Yesterday his spokesman insisted he had only "played around" with the system, adding: "It is all a bit out of context. What cosmic ordering did was trigger in his mind that we have to be positive and he just started making more positive decisions.

"He wrote a list of achievements but not in the way set out by this system. It was part of life changes which happened to him after his split [from his second wife Helen]."

Cosmic what?

The Cosmic Ordering Service, the latest New Age faith to win celebrity endorsement, comes from a best-selling book written by the German author Barbel Mohr. She insists that by replacing the word "wish" with "order" you raise your expectations. Essentially you write what you want on a piece of paper. "To some degree you order with yourself because you do influence the reality with your own expectations," said Ms Mohr. The 41-year-old woman from Munich is a former journalist who first outlined her thinking in her magazine, Sonnenwind.

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