Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
I Told Me So: Self-Deception and the Christian Life Paperback – June 22, 2009
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
— Calvin College
“Socrates famously asserted that the unexamined life is not worth living. But Gregg Ten Elshof shows us that we make all sorts of little deals with ourselves every day in order to stave off examination and remain happily self-deceived. Most provocatively, he suggests this is not all bad! While naming its temptations, Ten Elshof also offers a ‘strange celebration’ of self-deception as a gracious gift. In the tradition of Dallas Willard, I Told Me So is a wonderful example of philosophy serving spiritual discipline. A marvelous, accessible and, above all, wise book.” /
— Dallas Baptist University
“In this wise, well-crafted work Ten Elshof helps us to identify, evaluate, and respond to our own self-deceptive strategies, as he probes — with occasional self-deprecation and unavoidable humor — the bottomless mysteries of the human heart. His reflections on interpersonal self-deception and ‘groupthink’ are especially helpful. To tell me the truth, I’m glad I read this book. You will be too — I promise.”
Dallas Willard (from the foreword)
“Ten Elshof’s discussions are erudite, biblical, searching, and laced with soul-restoring wisdom. All of this together means that this book is solidly pastoral. What it brings to us is appropriate to individuals, but it especially belongs in the context of small groups and local congregations.”
About the Author
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 69%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Some books are praised for their ability to lucidly explain previous old concepts.
Other books are praised not due it its readability (think about Kant's works) but for its originality and breathtaking insight.
This book is the best of two worlds: readable and originality
It is not that there are no books available on self-deception, but that there are very few Christian books that deal with this topic. If it was not for a chapter written in "Beyond Opinion" by Danielle Durant, I would not have realized the extent and the benefits of it in the Christian life.
But what Durant could only touch on, Elshof has brought to completion. One of the best features of this book is its readability! I found myself captivated as he lucidly explained how we tend to deceive ourselves in various scenarios. He uses illustrations upon illustrations that are humorous, but yet profound.
It was so good in fact that, when i took the book with me as I went shopping, I found myself, reading the book, instead of carrying out my goal of shopping. Also there were so many insights that i found myself, constantly sharing them friends and rethinking some of personal behaviors in the past and wondering if I has deceived myself or seeing how deception helped me cope in the past.
So if you are wondering if it is worth money, its worth five times the price - just about every page has something underlined or highlighted. And seeing that I have a large collection of books and only came upon this topic, about twice, for most individuals it will be a message challenging us to see self-deception in both a positive and negative light.
Why would we deceive ourselves?
He gives this example as to why someone might deceive themselves into thinking they were a better than average college professor:
"But suppose you could have that same experience of satisfaction without all the hard work of becoming (and continuing to be) a genuinely better than average college professor? If you could convince yourself that you were better than average, you could enjoy all the benefits of theft over honest toil. The one catch is that you'd have to do all of this convincing without catching yourself in the act. If you caught yourself in the lie, you'd miss out on the satisfaction that comes from believing, really believing, that you're doing a better-than-average job."
Here are some highlights from the book:
The ways we deceive ourselves include:
1. Attention Management
3. Perspective Switching
After talking about the above methods, how we on our own deceive ourselves, he then examine how we deceive ourselves with the help of others. He argues that some deception, can only work if others are complicit in it. For example we can deceive ourselves into thinking that is not that bad not to assist the needy or poor, if everyone in our group is not doing it. He then switches focus and then shows how healthy groups can serve as a corrective to this.
Next he talks about the "grace" of self-deception. He points out the fact that God has made us, so that we are able to deceive ourselves. He then proceeds to ask, Why? One of the reasons he proposes is because we cannot handle the truth at certain moments in our lives and thus need to be self-deluded for a while until the proper moment in which we can deal with the truth.
He gives this example: "Suppose I learn that your sixteen-year-old has been smoking pot. I pick up the phone to call you and break the news. I don't want to. But I love you and I love your son. So I'm going to tell you this hard thing, and we're going to walk through this thing together as best as we can. You pick up the phone in tears, hardly table to talk. Before I can even broach the topic of your son, you tell me that you're in utter despair, that you've been drinking, and that you've unlocked the gun cabinet. You just can't think of a single reason to go on living. Clearly this is no time to carry on with my plan to break the news about your son. Someday you'll need to come to grips with the truth about your son. But not today. Not now. I certainly won't bring up the subject of your son."
This applies with our faith in a similar way, God allows many individuals to deceive themselves in thinking that sin against Him thing is "frivolous" thing. Just make sure you say, "God please forgive me" at the end of the day - is the attitude of some. God might have allowed this deception because if they were to truly see the gravitas of their sin they would be utterly crushed by that truth.
(An example of the above is Isaiah, who said : Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!")
He then talks about 3 strategies in dealing with Self-Deception
2. Groups without Group Think
3. The Community of the Holy Spirit
And finally concludes with 3 warnings:
1.Beware of Hyper-Authenticity
2.Beware of Undue Suspicion of Self-Deception in others
3.Beware of Undue Self-Doubt
In the end he concludes by pointing out that "we do battle with self-deception, in part, by eliminating those aspects of our lives that require it." (and gives steps to deal with it!)
The book receives the highest of recommendations! It is one of the best books that I have ever read! Buy multiple copies for friends!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Lets Make a Deal
2. What? Why? Where?
3. Ho-To, Part 1: Attention Management, Rationalization and Ressentiment
4. Getting Help When It's Not Working
6. How-Not-To, Part 1: Giving Self-Deception a Demotion
7. How-Not-To, Part 2: Three Good Ideas
8. Three Warnings
[If you have found this review helpful--> click the yes button below, if not click the no button. This will help in the refinement of future reviews!]
First, Ten Elshof assumes a universal capability to spot hypocrisy in self by conscience. Second, he proposes ways that rank-and-file human beings obscure or ignore what the conscience says. Included in the author's suggested processes to conceal deception are inattentiveness, procrastination, switching perspective, rationalization, and ressentiment.
The trouble caused by deception would be bad enough if it were perpetrated by an individual alone. But adding group-think to the mix compounds distortions associated with false perceptions. Group-think can supply an individual with authoritative nostrums to encapsulate deception, thus making the gulf separating belief and action too perilous to cross.
One such nostrum for the author is 'authenticity as virtue.' Aggravated by contemporaries elevating 'authenticity' to a rank congruent with virtue, the author spots how fast self-deception reached the top of the vice list in contemporary evangelical Christian circles. He proposes that by knocking authenticity from the virtues list self-deception will fall among vices, as well.
Group-think reinforces individuals in a collective conceit by ascribing malice to anyone exposing deception, particularly when group members perceive that exposing self-deception undermines group authority. Case exemplars and references to fictional characters from classic novels, who are caught in their own webs, intensify an effect that not one of us gets off clean.
A similar lens in text gauges self-deception across occasional narratives from Hebrew Scriptures and varied anecdotes from the author's experience. These references illustrate rationales for why even righteous protagonists, such as King David, failed to see their own lies until tragedy struck or another deal obviated further investigation.
Ten Elshof, an associate professor of philosophy at Biola University (LaMiranda, CA., USA), continues his study of introspection according to a perceptual-observational model, established in a prior monograph. However, this book is a hybrid text of philosophy, Christian anthropology, biblical hermeneutics, and autobiographical introspection. Composed in words and images that should appeal to readers with no formal philosophical training, 'I Told Me So' will summon a wider audience than academic philosophers of mind and science, psychologists, cultural historians and theologians.
Some individuals will actually read this monograph and package its contents for secondary audiences, the latter which become infected by ideas in the book that readers recount. For example, pastors and spiritual directors might read the book, and use its ideas to sharpen their attention at work. The author succeeds in reaching his aim with self-effacing humor while providing efficient clues to his own philosophy of person, virtue, and society.
I was a student of Dr. Ten Elshof's found it amazing that he could explain philosophy so that I could understand it. This book about a much more accessible topic than the classes that I took. Even here his clear, concise, effective teaching style [now writing style, I guess] makes the subject understandable and poignant.
I found it to be a quick read, but also quite deep. I found myself reading several passages aloud to my wife, underlining several parts, and stowing passages away mentally for future reflection.
i plan on buying copies for friends, then reading it again with them, so that we can all work together to mutually apply the truths presented.