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Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the… (edition 2009)

by Timothy Keller

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Member:Eutychus
Title:Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters
Authors:Timothy Keller
Info:Dutton Adult (2009), Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:Your library, Just Finished
Rating:*****
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Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters by Timothy Keller

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This is a very confronting and challenging book and these types of books I find hard to criticise on the grounds that I can feel that I am attempting to justify actions that I know in my heart are wrong. To put it bluntly this book is about modern day idols, though the way that Keller describes idols is not in the sense that we understand them, that being lifeless statues that we worship, but rather ideals, goals, and passions, that we set our heart towards in the belief that they will fulfil us in place of the living and true God.
Keller explores what he considers to be the three main idols in our culture, and that is love, money, and power. Love, he explains, is when we believe that our fulfilment will be found in finding 'the perfect partner'. This, however, never happens, and if we believe fulfilment will be found there it will end up being very destructive to the relationship. We will expect great things from our partners, and when they do not deliver then we will be bitterly disappointed. Putting such high hopes in relationships never works. The same is true when it comes to children, because if we idolise children, then we put tremendous pressures on them to come out how we want them to, and when they don't, then it is destructive not only to us, but also too our children.
The second area is greed. Greed, interestingly, is something that he suggests that we in the Western World do not acknowledge as being a problem. What I have noted is that when we don't have money (and this is probably an Australian thing) then we consider those who do to be bad, and we heap all kinds on accusations against them because of it. Even if we do have money (and if you are on unemployment benefits then you are still wealthy compared to the majority world) then our bitterness will always be directed to those who have more. We hold a belief, and like love and sex, it is something that our society encourages us to believe, that if we have money, if we are financially secure, then everything will be fine. This was not the case to those who were hit by the Global Financial Crisis.
The third area he spoke about is power, and it is in this section that he raises some very challenging things about politics. He has noticed that over the years people have become so much more polarised in their political beliefs (and considering Keller is American, he is referring to American Politics, which over the last ten years is very evident, but it is also evident here in Australia as well). It is like that our hopes and dreams will be fulfilled if only our political party were in power, and anybody who supports the opponent is at best a fool, and at worst, downright evil. I know because I have been on both sides of the fence. While I do hold some passionate political views, his discussion on our response to politics is quite challenging. Granted, I may not like the attitudes and the policies of the otherside, but does that make my side any better – no. Further, if my side were in power, then would it make my life any better – unlikely.
Keller's conclusion, then, is that many of our problems inevitably stem from our idols, and while we may be able to get rid of one, if we do not, or are not, able to replace it with something substantial, such as the Lord Jesus (actually his conclusion is that the only god who can fill the void is the god who revealed himself through the Lord Jesus), then we are destined for an unfulfilled and very disappointing life. However he does acknowledge that even though we may accept that we have idols, getting rid of them is no easy chore, and that is because our heart is an idol factory and it will not be until we are remade in the image of God that it will stop producing idols, however it does not mean that we should just give in, but rather we need to learn to give our hearts entirely to God. ( )
  David.Alfred.Sarkies | Mar 15, 2014 |
"What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give" (xvii).

In Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller exposes the big three idols that attempt to subvert God's role in our lives: Money, Sex, and Power.

This is the second book I've read on this theme. One of Richard Foster's earlier works was originally called, Money, Sex and Power: The Challenge of the Disciplined Life. It's now known by its subtitle (apparently the original title was too shocking for the ears of Christians living in 1985). I have found Keller's little book to be just as valuable as Foster's.

Keller's greatest strength (among many) is his pastoral insight into human nature. He doesn't buy the lies we tell ourselves but digs down to root issues. He has counseled enough people to understand the grip that money, sex, and power have in our lives.

In each chapter you'll find a sermon complete with interesting anecdotes, sound biblical exegesis, and the aforementioned pastoral insight. This is a book worth meditating your way through. After all, it's only when you "pull your emotions up by the roots" that you find your idols clinging to them (170). ( )
  StephenBarkley | Jan 10, 2014 |
We all have idols, which Tim Keller defines as "anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give."
  rbclibrary | Jul 1, 2013 |
許多人相信,金錢、性愛,權力就是通往快樂的鑰匙,本書指出,當這些美好的事物成為人生的終極目標,被人奉​之為神明時,我們就會發現它們並不能真正滿足人心的渴望。作者指出,這正是初次認識獨一的真神上帝,或再次​
  OCMCCP | Feb 29, 2012 |
The human heart is an idol factory, argues Keller (invoking Calvin). Often times idols are truly good things that we seek to fashion into god-things. Interlacing biblical stories and contemporary culture with stinging insight, Keller unpacks the power of idols such as money, sex, and power in our society and our personal lives. He masterfully draws us back to the gospel, however, demonstrating how only Christ can truly fulfill these deepest longings. Keller's examination of idolatry also includes a short comparison of "surface idols" and "deep idols" - a three page (pp. 64-66) summary that alone is worth the price of admission. A great read on several levels. A+ ( )
  bsanner | Jul 13, 2011 |
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Epigraph
There are more idols in the world than there are realities.

--Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
Dedication
To my sons, David, Michael, and Jonathan, who can detect the counterfeit.
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After the global economic crisis began in mid-2008, there followed a tragic string of suicides of formerly wealthy and well-connected individuals.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525951369, Hardcover)

The New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God and a nationally renowned minister, Timothy Keller exposes the error of making good things "ultimate" in his latest book, and shows readers a new path toward a hope that lasts.

Success, true love, and the life you've always wanted. Many of us placed our faith in these things, believing they held the key to happiness, but with a sneaking suspicion they might not deliver. The recent economic meltdown has cast a harsh new light on these pursuits. In a matter of months, fortunes, marriages, careers, and a secure retirement have disappeared for millions of people. No wonder so many of us feel lost, alone, disenchanted, and resentful.

But the truth is that we made lesser gods of these good things -gods that can't give us what we really need. There is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings- and now is the perfect time to meet him again, or for the first time.

The Bible tells us that the human heart is an "idol- factory," taking good things and making them into idols that drive us. In Counterfeit Gods, Keller applies his trademark approach to show us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the unvarnished truth about societal ideals and our own hearts. This powerful message will cement Keller's reputation as a critical thinker and pastor, and comes at a crucial time-for both the faithful and the skeptical.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Argues that happiness can only be obtained through God; explains how people are preconditioned to pursue "false idols" in the form of relationships, money, and careers; and outlines a biblically based path to lasting fulfillment.

(summary from another edition)

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