Saturday, November 19, 2011

Booknotes on Keller's Counterfeit Gods


Keller, Timothy. 2009. Counterfeit gods: When the empty promises of love, money and power let you down. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.
Things that dishonor God are also called “counterfeit Gods” or idolatry. Pastor Tim Keeler of Redeemer  offer offers a brief list of idol categories:

Theological idols - Doctrinal errors that produce such distorted views of God that we end up worshipping a false god.

Sexual idols – addictions such as pornography and fetishisms that promise but don’t deliver a sense of intimacy and acceptance; ideals of physical beauty in yourself and/or your partner; romantic idealism

Magic/ritual idols – Witchcraft and the occult. All idolatry is in the end a form of magic that seeks to rebel against the order of transcendent reality rather than submitting to it in love and wisdom.

Political/economic idols – Ideologies of the left, right, and libertarian that absolutize some aspect of political order and make it the solution. Deifying or demonizing free markets, for example.

Racial/national idols – Racism, militarism, nationalism, or ethnic pride that turns bitter or oppressive.

Relational idols – Dysfunctional family systems of codependency: “fatal attractions”; living your life through your children.

Religious idols – Moralism and legalism; idolatry of success and gifts; religion as a pretext for abuse of power.

Philosophical idols – Systems of thought that make some created thing the problem wit life (instead of sin) and some human product or enterprise the solution to our problems (instead of God’s grace).

Cultural idols – Radical individualism, as in the West, that makes an idol out of individual happiness at the expense of the community; shame cultures that make an idol out of family and clan at the expense of individual rights.

Deep idols – Motivational drives and temperaments made into absolutes: a. Power idolatry: “Life has meaning/ I only have worth if - I have power and influence over others.” b. Approval idolatry: “Life has meaning/ I only have worth if - I am loved and respected by ____________.” c. Comfort idolatry: “Life has meaning/ I only have worth if - I have this kind of pleasure experience, a particular quality of life.” d. Control idolatry: “Life has meaning/ I only have worth – if I am able to gain mastery over my life in the area of ____________.” (p.204, n.119)

“The only way to free ourselves from the destructive influence of counterfeit gods is to turn back to the true one. The living God, who revealed himself both at Mount Sinai and on the Cross, is the only Lord who, if you find him, can truly fulfill you, and, if you fail him, can truly forgive you” (xxiv).

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Blogger Lynnnie said...

Our finite mind cannot fully comprehend God's precise meaning but a brief breakdown of difficult and hard to understand words into simpler forms (where in some sense says it has been watered down which is true) but a broader scope of audiences is able to understand.

It is even more crucial and significant for people to comprehend and be aware even if it is just getting to know a tiny bit more of God's knowledge than to stare at the difficult words in despair and give up not knowing (which it isn't encouraging and in a sense cruel and umcompassionate)

4:36 PM  

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