The Idolatry of God

Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction

The Idolatry of God

Theological firebrand Peter Rollins asserts that mainstream Christianity reduces God to an idol, made in our own image, for the purpose of providing certainty and satisfaction.

You can’t be satisfied. Life is difficult. You don’t know the secret.

Whether readers are devout believers or distant seekers, The Idolatry of God shows that we must lay down our certainties and honestly admit our doubts to identify with Jesus. Rollins purposely upsets fundamentalist certainty in order to open readers up to a more loving, active manifestation of Christ’s love.

In contrast to the usual understanding of the “Good News” as a message offering satisfaction and certainty, Rollins argues for a radical and shattering alternative. He explores how the Good News actually involves embracing the idea that we can’t be whole, that life is difficult, and that we are in the dark. Showing how God has traditionally been approached as a product that will render us complete, remove our suffering, and reveal the answers, he introduces an incendiary approach to faith that invites us to joyfully embrace our brokenness, resolutely face our unknowing, and courageously accept the difficulties of existence. Only then, he argues, can we truly rob death of its sting and enter into the fullness of life.
  • Howard Books | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451609028 | 
  • January 2013
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Idolatry of God includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Peter Rollins. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Is God just another product on the market, promising the elusive happiness and satisfaction we crave? In The Idolatry of God, theological firebrand Peter Rollins asserts that a deep existential conflict exists between people who are willing to embrace doubt and uncertainty in matters of faith, and those who cling to certainty—who make an idol of God. To close this gap, Rollins invites us all to take a hard look at our most cherished beliefs, to approach truth in bold new ways, and to embrace a faith that throws us into the world rather than shielding us from it.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. Reflect on the book’s title, The Idolatry of God. What thoughts and/or questions does the title raise in your mind?
2. In the Introduction the author writes that his book is about the theme of salvation, saying that this is “not the type of salvation that is preached today from the pulpit, the false salvation that promises see more

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About the Author

Peter Rollins
Photograph © Jenny Kim

Peter Rollins

Peter Rollins is a widely sought after writer, lecturer, storyteller, and public speaker. He is the founder of Ikon, a Belfast, Northern Ireland, faith group that has gained an international reputation for blending live music, visual imagery, soundscapes, theater, ritual, and reflection. He currently resides in Greenwich, Connecticut.