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The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction Paperback – January 1, 2013
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“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)
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
The timing for this new book was apropos, as this time of year often brings about criticisms and examinations of Rollins' concept of "atheism for Lent", where one endeavours to give up God for these forty days by focusing on the writings of Nietzsche, Marx, etc. To me, the most interesting reading can be found in the comments sections of various blogs and counter-blogs in the, shall we say, folk-theologian circles. The irony particularly arises in the at-times blind reactions of the Devout in such ways that they betray the intentions of the Teacher. The Devout spit, curse, and defend to the bone the sanctity of what they consume from the table of the Teacher from those they believe to be Detractors, but in doing so they nullify the message through their words and attitudes. I find this especially prevalent in those who allign themselves with more post-modern, deconstructionist thinkers, often in the emerging conversation. Their leaders teach the necessity of being critical and subverting the norms of any given theology and shaking of the ritualistic dead faith of the previous generation, and many scarf it down as pure gospel because it inadvertently justifies the pain and dissatisfaction they have with "mainstream/evangelical" Church. So they simultaneously defend a theology that if truly enacted would lead them to a place where they critique the new message as well as the old, rather than jumping on a new bandwagon for the sake of tribal identity.
Specifically in terms of "atheism for Lent", I get it. I think.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book wound up being a disappointment. Really enjoyed the first half where the theme of "idolatry" was discussed and our seemingly human need to fill that hole in the middle... Read morePublished 21 days ago by bsutton
Such an amazing book! This ones slightly easier to read then "The Divine Magician". If you enjoy any of Rob Bell's stuff you will enjoy Peter Rollins!Published 28 days ago by Bryan Velez
If the church will heed the call of Peter Rollins it has hope of recovering its lost memory. If not, it will continue in its irrelevance caused by the "Idolatry of God"... Read morePublished 1 month ago by D. Timothy Mccoy
Rollin's radical perspective on Christianity is not only refreshing but encouraging. The only reason I am not giving the book 5 stars is due to its, in my opinion, overuse of pop... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dustin Potter
I was introduced to Peter Rollin’s writing through his book of parables called Orthodox Heretic. The idea of modern parables really fascinated and excited me about the power of... Read morePublished 4 months ago by erlenmeyer316
Pete presents a perspective far different from what I experienced as a person growing up in American Christianity. There's plenty to wrestle with here. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jay Oldaker
I've found myself recommending this book to so may people in so many different contexts of theological conversation. Rollins has hit the nail on the head with this one. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Joel Stetler