Destroy the God-Product [Peter Rollins]

Destroy the God-Product [Peter Rollins] March 6, 2013

I’m away from the blog this week, so I’ve asked my friends to fill in. Today, an excerpt from Peter Rollins’s new book, The Idolatry of God. Pete is provocative, as usual.

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  • Well said! Jesus actually tried very hard to avoid being turned into a commodity, always pointing beyond himself to his Father, the great non-object called I AM who can never be grasped or held onto. And so it is only I AM who is worthy of worship, the only true source of being and belonging.

  • Actually, the Bible, namely Jesus, does make a lot of promises:

    • Matthew 11:28-29: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

    I had been dragged to Christ from a Jewish background 36 years ago, and actually, I have found this promise to be true!

    • To me, rest sounds to be the exact opposite of the stimulation and unbounded happiness that our consumer products promise us.

  • Am I the only one who finds this to be a pretty good restatement in modern terms of the Second Noble Truth?

    • I can totally see what you’re saying.

    • Pete has said some negative things about Buddhism before, but I really think his line of thinking is very similar to that of “secular Buddhists” like Stephen Batchelor.

  • ben w.

    Good reminder Daniel. Here’s another one:

    John 4:10-14 “Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.””

    To seek for life in vain and passing things is lie of consumerism. To seek for life from our creator and the source of all goodness is wise.

  • As the responses so far indicate, the dilemma is, how do you eliminate the God-product and maintain Christianity as a coherent message? It seems Peter is suggesting that you remove the claims of the power of faith. I’ve never heard anyone with a replacement for it that can continue to bind Christianity.

    • Indeed, we are left to wonder, after all of Peter’s denunciations, where he would suggest that we find hope, meaning and truth. Perhaps through a postmodern “conversation?”

      • Hope, meaning and truth are not “found” but made, through our lived experience with others.

        • Well said.

        • One thing that really frustraites me about this post is that it is quite out of context.

          On a regular basis I see people ripping apart Rollins due to their lack of context (I’m not suggesting that anyone is ripping him apart here, but there seems to be a lot of positing going on.)

          I recomend that everyone one read all of his work, from first book “How (not) To Speak of God,” to the most current, “The Idolitry of God.”

          Upon doing this you will see that he isn’t as deary and hopeless as you might think. Don’t base Rollins’ complex and very well thought out philosophy on one limited blurb from his most recent book.

          • Agreed! I hear a lot of misunderstandings and kneejerk reactions to Rollins’ work.

            • Rob,

              My experience was utterly failing me. My feelings were unable to carry me from one day to the next. They cut into me like a knife. Instead, I needed a truth that I could rest upon – one that would always be there for me and would transcend my own unsatisfactory experiences and relationships.

              That Truth encountered me while I was lying in a pool of blood – the victim of a bloody chainsaw injury – and taught me of a love and peace that I had only dreamed about. Only later did I discover that the Truth is the Messiah Jesus.

              In so many ways, I find that the Truth has set me free from so much (John 8:31-32), after 36 years of following my Lord.

        • When I said “this post” I meant Tony’s post, not the comment that the above comment got lumped into.

          • I’m picking up what you’re throwing down!

            • But I’ll be the first to admit, I love Peter Rollins. I’ve hosted him for a weekend a few years ago, and he is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and his philosophy will really light a fire under your ass if you let it.

              The first step though, is to let go. And that is scary as “hell.”

              • I agree! I had a really good conversation with him a couple of years ago, too.

                • Sounds like the guy is fairly accessible. I first heard of him last year when I was planning a trip to Ireland. Unfortunately at the time I was there, he was in Michigan!

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