Idols of the Heart
A list by Tim Keller in his book, Counterfeit Gods.
In his book, Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller provides a list of idol categories that may be helpful in identifying what is going on under hood of your heart.
Theological idols – Doctrinal errors that produce such distorted views of God that we end up worshipping a false god.
Sexual idols – Addictions such as pornography and fetishisms that promise but don’t deliver a sense of intimacy and acceptance; ideals of physical beauty in yourself and/or your partner; romantic idealism.
Magic/ritual idols – Witchcraft and the occult. All idolatry is in the end a form of magic that seeks to rebel against the order of transcendent reality rather than submitting to it in love and wisdom.
Political/economic idols – Ideologies of the left, right, and libertarian that absolutize some aspect of political order and make it the solution. Deifying or demonizing free markets, for example.
Racial/national idols – Racism, militarism, nationalism, or ethnic pride that turns bitter or oppressive.
Relational idols – Dysfunctional family systems of codependency; “fatal attraction”; living your life through your children.
Religious idols – Moralism and legalism; idolatry of success and gifts; religion as a pretext for abuse of power.
Philosophical idols – Systems of thought that make some created thing the problem with life (instead of sin) and some human product or enterprise the solution to our problems (instead of God’s grace).
Cultural idols – Radical individualism that makes an idol out of individual happiness at the expense of community; shame cultures that make an idol out of family and clan at the expense of individual rights.
Deep idols – Motivational drives and temperaments made into absolutes:
Power idolatry: “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if – I have power and influence over others.”
Approval idolatry: “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if – I am loved and respected by __________.”
Comfort idolatry: “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if – I have this kind of pleasure
experience, a particular quality of life.”
Control idolatry: “Life only has meaning/I only have worth if – I am able to get mastery over my life in the area of __________.”
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