A JESUS BLOG COLLECTIVE

Elizabeth Gilbert’s god

https://www.flickr.com/photos/moniraq/6791165158/sizes/o/

I listened to this lecture, from Ross Douthat, a couple months ago and thought it was really insightful.  In the talk he reads an excerpt, from his book Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Hereticswhich focuses on what he calls the heresy of the “God Within.”  He begins his reflections by talking about Elizabeth Gilbert and her book Eat, Pray, Love.  The video is kind of a continuation of some of the thoughts I was expressing in my last blog post.  His lecture goes from 8:00-52:30.

“Sometimes the God Within isn’t God at all, but just the ego or the libido, using spirituality as a convenient gloss for its own desires and impulses…Sometimes God might offer you a less consoling and more demanding insight than Gilbert’s delighted discovery that He ‘dwells within you as you yourself, exactly the way you are.”  To exclude or minimize these possibilities, as so many modern mystics do, is to risk baptizing egomania, divinizing selfishness, and leaving few legitimate ways to distinguish the God within a Mother Teresa from the God within a Jim Jones or a David Koresh.”

  • Kent Webber

    Wow, while I haven’t had time to listen to the lecture, the quote is powerful. And timely too, with the season of Lent in full swing. I really like the illustration of the ego or libido using spirituality as a gloss for its own desires and impulses.

  • Brian Boozier

    Reminded me of this excerpt from Tim Keller’s book “The Reason for God”

    “If you don’t trust the Bible enough to let it challenge and correct
    your thinking, how could you ever have a personal relationship with God?
    In any truly personal relationship, the other person has to be able to
    contradict you.

    “For example, if a wife is not allowed to contradict her husband,
    they won’t have an intimate relationship. Remember the (two!) movies The Stepford Wives? The husbands of Stepford, Connecticut, decide to have their wives
    turned into robots who never cross the wills of their husbands. A
    Stepford wife was wonderfully compliant and beautiful, but no one would
    describe such a marriage as intimate or personal.

    “Now, what happens if you eliminate anything from the Bible that
    offends your sensibility and crosses your will? If you pick and choose
    what you want to believe and reject the rest, how will you ever have a
    God who can contradict you? You won’t! You’ll have a Stepford God! A
    God, essentially, of your own making, and not a God with whom you can
    have a relationship and genuine interaction.

    “Only if your God can say things that outrage you and make you
    struggle (as in a real friendship or marriage!) will you know that you
    have gotten hold of a real God and not a figment of your imagination.

    “So an authoritative Bible is not the enemy of a personal relationship with God. It is the precondition for it.”

    – Tim Keller, The Reason for God:Belief in an Age of Skepticism

  • KadoRestavek

    Reminded me of this excerpt from Tim Keller’s book “The Reason for God”

    “If you don’t trust the Bible enough to let it challenge and correct
    your thinking, how could you ever have a personal relationship with God?
    In any truly personal relationship, the other person has to be able to
    contradict you.

    “For example, if a wife is not allowed to contradict her husband,
    they
    won’t have an intimate relationship. Remember the (two!) movies The
    Stepford Wives? The husbands of Stepford, Connecticut, decide to have
    their wives
    turned into robots who never cross the wills of their husbands. A
    Stepford wife was wonderfully compliant and beautiful, but no one would
    describe such a marriage as intimate or personal.

    “Now, what happens if you eliminate anything from the Bible that
    offends your sensibility and crosses your will? If you pick and choose
    what you want to believe and reject the rest, how will you ever have a
    God who can contradict you? You won’t! You’ll have a Stepford God! A
    God, essentially, of your own making, and not a God with whom you can
    have a relationship and genuine interaction.

    “Only if your God can say things that outrage you and make you
    struggle (as in a real friendship or marriage!) will you know that you
    have gotten hold of a real God and not a figment of your imagination.

    “So an authoritative Bible is not the enemy of a personal relationship with God. It is the precondition for it.”

    – Tim Keller, The Reason for God:Belief in an Age of Skepticism