"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Sunday, November 01, 2009

For all the Ain'ts, Part Deux, or The Anti-Kierkegaard

So I opened an envelope yesterday with this book in it (not for me, for the bookstore where I work). You can't read the subtitle from that picture, but it's particularly pernicious: "Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God's Favor."

That last bit is the part that annoys me the most: increasing in God's favor by making yourself better off materially. The "spiritual insight" offered by this tome, according to Mr. Osteen's own words on the back cover, comes down to one sentence: "You are closer than you think."* Closer to achieving wealth, of course, because "A global recession has forced many to postpone their dreams and cancel their plans." The future being all and only about how much better off I'll be than today, apparently, and a global financial collapse being merely a test of my faithfulness. "Your dream may be just around the corner. You may think it will take another two years. But if you stay in faith, who knows? It may just be two months more."

Or not. Who knows?

Faith and God as cosmic slot machines. Does it get any worse than that?

*The most spiritual word on the dust jacket of this book, by the way, is "God." And that's only used as an adjective to describe what you will earn any day now!

Good grief.


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