If the “follow your heart” religion is indeed the dominant religion of our cultural moment, as Williams has argued, Christians, for the love of God and the love of our neighbors, will need to commit cultural heresy. We only find our “true selves” in right relationship with God. Reject the death spiral of self-worship. Embrace the abundant life Christ offers.
“Follow your heart” is a slogan popularized by Disney movies, pop psychology, and social media. Ultimately, it is just another version of the oldest lie in the world: That you and I can be our own god.
In his new book Don’t Follow Your Heart: Boldly Breaking the Ten Commandments of Self-Worship, Professor Thaddeus Williams of Biola University has exposed “the cult of self” behind these mantras. The cult of self is, in a sense, the largest religion in the world and promises to elevate adherents to the place and prerogative of God. In the end, however, like all bad ideas about God and self, this lie dehumanizes us, leaving us empty, unsatisfied, and isolated.
Don’t Follow Your Heart is a must-read today, wise in its analysis and practical in its application. Today is the last day to receive a copy as our thank-you for a gift of any amount to the Colson Center this month. Just visit colsoncenter.org/January.
Williams shared more about the “the cult of self” in a recent conversation with Shane Morris on the Colson Center’s Upstream podcast. As he noted, everyone worships something.
For Paul, it’s never a question of the theist versus the atheist. For Paul, everybody worships. Everybody’s a worshipper. Everybody’s on their knees to someone or something, either the Creator or the creation.
The key is right worship. In today’s version of the world’s oldest idolatry, voices across our culture urge us always to put ourselves first, ultimately in the place of God and as the object of our devotion, allegiance, and obedience. At one point, Williams lamented: “Who isn’t telling us to follow our hearts?” This idea, however, has consequences:
Now when you erase the creator-creature distinction, which has happened in the mainstream culture, that attribute of simplicity, or even we might say impassibility, a lot of the divine attributes, sovereignty, we now start attributing to ourselves.