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The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books; Reprint edition (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781451609028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451609028
  • ASIN: 1451609027
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Rollins (Insurrection, 2011) puts forward a compelling case that both fundamentalists and unquestioning religious believers replace belief with idolatry. Using common cultural memes, including historic television shows like Miami Vice, Rollins strips away satisfaction from acceptance and leads the reader carefully and constructively toward a consideration of religious faith that is present-focused. As an experienced participant in theater as well as contemplative reflection, Rollins takes a personal rather than an academic approach. While some of the references to popular culture may feel dated, the points he draws from them are well founded. This is an excellent addition to popular collections and will serve as a good recommendation to book groups who are brave enough to venture beyond politics into that other socially ignored area of religion. --Francisca Goldsmith

Review

“This full-scale repurposing of Christian vocabulary and endorsement of theological mystery is often deeply rewarding.” (Publisher's Weekly)

“Caveat emptor. Let the reader, the Christian, the skeptic beware, for with The Idolatry of God, Peter Rollins has taken his theological program of turning everything we believe upside down to the next level. Not content to simply subvert how we believe, Rollins now turns his attention to what we believe. If you don’t want your faith challenged, don’t read this book.” (Tony Jones, author of A Better Atonement)

More About the Author

Peter Rollins is a provocative writer, lecturer, storyteller and public speaker who has gained an international reputation for overturning traditional notions of religion and forming "churches" that preach the Good News that we can't be satisfied, that life is difficult, and that we don't know the secret.

Challenging the idea that faith concerns questions relating to belief Peter shows that an incendiary and irreligious reading of Christianity is possible: one that destroys the distinction between sacred and secular, blurs the lines between theism and atheism and sets aside questions regarding life after death to explore the possibility of a life before death.

This approach has been christened "pyrotheology," and aims at burning up the basic assumptions that both critics and advocates of religion hold concerning the life of faith.

Peter gained his higher education from Queens University, Belfast and has earned degrees (with distinction) in Scholastic Philosophy (BA Hons), Political Theory (MA) and Post-Structural thought (PhD). He is the author of numerous books, including Insurrection: To Believe is Human; to Doubt, Divine and The Idolatry of God: Breaking our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, currently lives in New York and will die.

Customer Reviews

In his book The Idolatry of God, Peter Rollins aims to answer just that.
Mr. Geurs
[End of Chapter 4] Obviously they are writing in very different styles and using very different perspectives, but essentially they are bringing the same message.
Greg Tenni
It offers some answers to some really tough questions and makes you ponder on the possibilities which may be very unpleasant.
La Gigi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Dustin on January 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I should start by saying that I am a long time fan of Peter Rollins, familiar enough with his work that I refer to him as Pete in casual conversation with peers. While this publication may not damage my high opinion of him, I feel as if he let me down this go-round. While this book is a great source for deep thought and self-reflection, it falls short in terms of its resolutions, ironically and perhaps intentionally so. The content is minimal, relying heavily on redundancy and stories that most current Rollins fans will have heard on numerous occasions.

The breakdown from my perspective:

This book has a very promising beginning. From the start, Rollins does an excellent job of critiquing the external while simultaneously causing extensive internal reflection. His verbal punishments of modern religion as the ultimate source of happiness are liberating on their own, while his observations of the paradoxical and elusive nature of self-satisfaction provide a good ole fashioned gut-check.

In a nutshell, his premise is that satisfaction cannot be attained whilst being pursued through external means. He establishes this train of thought by personifying our innate sense of lack (Original Sin), our natural restrictions (Law), and that object which we seek to fulfill said lack (Idol). In this manner he is able to demonize Christianity as we know it (as well as any religion) by painting it as just another product which falsely promises to provide the certainty and satisfaction we long for.

Like I said, very promising beginning.

However, where I would have to part ways with Rollins is in his attempted resolution.
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful By John Gibbs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
What if Christ does not fill the empty cup we bring to him but rather smashes it to pieces, bringing freedom, not from our darkness and dissatisfaction, but freedom from our felt need to escape them? That is one of the questions Peter Rollins asks in this book. When we imagine God as the being designed to satisfy our longings we are simply conjuring up an idol.

The author has some radical things to say to capture the reader's attention and stimulate serious thought:

* Religious hymns become little more than advertising jingles, and the clergy come to resemble slick salespeople presenting their god-product to the potential consumer.
* Instead of God being that which fills the gap at the core of our being, the God testified to in Christianity exposes the gap for what it is, obliterates it, and invites us to participate in an utterly different form of life, one that brings us beyond slavery to the Idol.
* The Idol robs us of the type of pleasure that we could have if only we were able to free ourselves from the false promise that something would render us complete.
* The Good News of Christianity: You can't be fulfilled; you can't be made whole; you can't find satisfaction.

The book provides a devastating critique of many of the practices of contemporary Western Christianity, arguing that the "God" we are trying to "sell" is an idol in our own making. Although I struggled with many of the author's arguments and felt threatened by others, I was impressed by the degree of insight which they contained.

However, when it came time to suggest ways of addressing the "idolatry", the author seems to step off the rational path into Alice's Wonderland.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Greg Tenni on February 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In this book, Pete continues his program of incendiary theology - burning all the things that get in the way of having a bare bones, gut-level relationship with God. He talks about our quest for answers and victory over our circumstances as being idolatrous, as being the real object of our worship rather than God Himself.
He is not writing anything new, because people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Soren Kierkegaard have written in a similar vein many years before , but Pete brings his unique version of this message in a different style, using more contemporary images and stories.

As an example, have a look at this passage from Bonhoeffer (Ethics):
"Only by God's executing judgement upon Himself can there be peace between Him and the world and between man and man. But the secret of this judgement, of this passion and death, is the love of God for the world and for man.
What befell Christ befalls every man in Him. It is only as one who is sentenced by God that man can live before God. Only the crucified man is at peace with God. It is in the figure of the Crucified that man recognizes and discovers himself. To be taken up by God, to be executed on the cross and reconciled, that is the reality of manhood." [in chapter titled Ecco Homo - The Successful Man]

Peter Rollins puts it like this:
"This means that the crucifixion bears witness to a form of life that is free from our obsessive drive for the idol, a form of life in which our zombie nature is cured. For to lose the idol means to lose that drive which prevents us from fully embracing our life and taking pleasure in it.
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