Idolatry of God, Chapter 3: Hiding Behind the Mask That We Are

All the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves have a fictional quality. “A legend in our own mind.”

That which we are conscious of in ourselves is called the ego. This ego is the image we have of ourselves, the image that we present on a daily basis through work, recreation, and social medial. (page 54)

Our real beliefs are generally not to be found at the level of ego; rather they are more like the operating system of a computer they are the heart of the machine that causes it to act in certain ways.

We all have mythologies that we have constructed and adapted from infancy. The problem arises when we fully identify with these mythologies, viewing them as a complete and accurate description of who we are and how the world works. These narratives help us prop up the fantasy that we are in control of our destinies and are masters of our own actions. (page 60)

What do you think of Rollins’ explanation for Matthew 23:27-28? (page 62)

When we encounter a worldview different from our own, there are four common responses:

  • One is a form of consumption, by which we attempt to integrate the other into our social body. We attempt to persuade them that they should believe and practice in a particular way.
  • The second is a process of exclusion whereby we condemn and reject the other who cannot be consumed by us. “Vomiting the other out.”
  • The third is toleration. There is an attempt to accept the other, even they they seem strange to us.
  • The fourth is a dialogue aimed at finding agreement. It is the idea that beneath all our little differences, we’re really pretty much the same.
  • In each of these we stand over the other

A different way to approach the other involves placing ourselves beneath them in the sense of allowing their views to challenge and unsettle our own.

Literalistic listening is different than what we normally do where we filter what a person is saying through our own experiences. Example of what we normally do on page 68. In literalistic listening we take careful note of everything the other says from their position instead of quickly interpreting it in relation to our own position.

It means that we don’t simply look at the other through our own eyes, but we attempt to look at ourselves through the eyes of the other.

The church often turns out to be the most extreme agent of this myth-making: it doesn’t simply offer a narrative that tells us who we are, why we are here, and where we are going, but it tells people that this narrative has been directly delivered by the divine. (page 71)

The question that faces us, then, is how Christianity, in its most radical and subversive form, critiques the church and offers real freedom.

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