Idolatry of God, Chapter 2: On Not Getting What You Want, and Liking It

In this chapter Rollins spends more time deconstructing what is traditionally taught about Original Sin, Idolatry and the Law.

  • Original Sin: A sense of a gap in our lives
  • Idolatry: that which we believe will fill the gap, the answer to all our problems

Rollins says (on page 26) that “What we see taking place in the church today is the reduction of God to an Idol…the church ends up mimicking every other industry by claiming that they can take away the sense of loss that marks our life. Do you agree or disagree?

What is your understanding of the Law and its relationship to sin?

Page 28, According to Rollins, Paul writes about how the Law and sin are actually intertwined and exist on the same side. “For Paul, the Law is the ‘no’ that appears to be opposed to the very structure it actually creates and upholds.”

Formula on page 29

Reaction to the following: “the ‘no’ that we are confronted with — the Law — turns what was previously an object that satisfies basic needs into an object of veneration. From that time forth we become little industries dedicated to the creation of Idols.

What is you understanding of the notion of “Total Depravity?”

  • Rollins says the phrase does not mean there is no good within us, but instead refers to the idea that there is no part of our existence that is not marked by and influenced by the effect of this separation (Original Sin) and alienation (Law). (page 30)

Why are movies based on the chase for the MacGuffin so popular?

Page 37, “One of the primary fuels for hatred of others in the fantasy that they have access to the pleasure that we unsuccessfully seek.”

Page 39, “If we cannot have the Idol, then we wish to prevent the other from having it.”

On page 40 Rollins defines sin within the context of what we have been discussing, “sinful acts are simply acts dedicated to helping us grasp the ever elusive Idol.” Could include charitable work, marriage, church attendance, prayer, and random acts of kindness. Agree?

Page 41, “If an act is designed to bridge the gap between Original Sin and the Idol, then it falls into the theological category known in the biblical text as ‘works.'”

Jesus bridges the gap. Really? Does it work?

  • Deferment
  • Repression
  • Disavowal

Three characteristics of the Idol:

  • We experience it as existing
  • It is felt to be sublime
  • That which is ultimately meaningful

Creatio ex nihilo

  • God creates out of nothing…. or
  • Out of nothing (Original Sin), a god is created (the Idol).

“the God testified to in Christianity exposes the gap for what it is, obliterates it, and invites us to participate in an utterly different form of life, one that brings us beyond slavery to the Idol.” (page 48)

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