Counterfeit gods: Reading 2012

Sucker punch to the gut.

Tim Keller so accurately identifies and diagnoses the hidden idols of the heart in his book, Counterfeit Gods, that it will knock the wind right out of ya.

Instead of throwing the popular line of “an idol is anything you love more than God” that leads a person into endless questioning and comparing of loves he really digs into the concept of what an idol is, how to identify it, and finally how to uproot and replace it.

Romantic love, money, success, and power are the main root idols he addresses. While at the same time, he deals with many others surface idols that are more visible in one’s life, such as an unhealthy desire for acceptance, control, health, possessions, fashion, or children.

Favorite quotes:

“In the 1830s, when Alexis de Tocqueville recorded his famous observations on America, he noted a ‘strange melancholy that haunts the inhabitants . . . in the midst of abundance.’ Americans believed that prosperity could quench their yearning for happiness, but such a hope was illusionary, because, de Tocqueville added, ‘the incomplete joys of this world will never satisfy [the human] heart'” {p. x}.

“There is a difference between sorrow and despair. Sorrow is a pain for which there are sources of consolation. Sorrow comes from losing one good thing among others . . . Despair, however, is inconsolable, because it comes from losing an ultimate thing” {p. x}.

“We may not actually burn incense to Artemis, but when money and career are raised to cosmic proportions, we perform a kind of child sacrifice, neglecting family and community to achieve a higher place in business and gain more wealth and prestige” {p. xii}.

“If you are too afraid of love or too enamored by it, it has assumed godlike power, distorting your perceptions and your life” {p. 31}.

“The default mode of the human heart is to seek to control God and others through our moral performance” {p. 132}.

I highly reccomend the book. The introduction alone is worth the purchase.


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