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 Heretics, which 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.”