9 Challenging Truths About Idols From Counterfeit Gods

Instead of a traditional book review of Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters by Tim Keller, I give you 9 quotations from the book (along with a few personal reflections) that I hope will whet your appetite to read it.

9 Quotations…

1. “However, anything in life can serve as an idol, a God-alternative, a counterfeit god.” An idol is always a good thing made into an ultimate thing. We often make the mistake of thinking of an idol as a bad thing. But that’s almost never the case. It’s the good things in life that we are tempted to trust in for ultimate happiness.

2. “But counterfeit gods always disappoint, and often destructively so.” Since nothing other than God is able to bring ultimate satisfaction, security, and meaning to your life, every idol will eventually let you down.

3. “An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”

4. “We look to our idols to provide us with a sense of confidence and safety.” This is why our negative emotions will reveal our idols. Worry, fear, and anger are the natural responses to not having something we think we need in our life.

5. “The woman, Anna, who was ruining her children’s lives did not ‘love her children too much,’ but rather loved God too little in relationship to them. As a result, her child-gods were crushed under the weight of her expectations.” The best thing you can do for your kids is to love God more than you love them. Anything you love more than God you will eventually alienate and destroy.

6. “The most painful times in our lives are times in which our Isaacs, our idols, are being threatened or removed.” Sometimes it can feel like God is against us when he’s actually working to save us.

7. “Ernest Becker wrote that our culture would replace God with sex and romance. Even earlier, Friedrich Nietzsche had a different theory. He wrote that, with the absence of God growing in western culture, we would replace God with money.” Not all prophets are Christians.

8. “Jesus warns people far more often about greed than about sex, yet almost no one thinks they are guilty of it. Therefore we should all begin with a working hypothesis ‘that this could easily be a problem for me.'” Greed is hard to see in our own lives partly because we tend to compare ourselves to others in our “lifestyle bracket”. We always know people who have more or spend more than we do so we let ourselves off the hook.

9. “Another sign of idolatry in our politics is that opponents aren’t considered to be simply mistaken, but evil.”

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