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Final Thoughts on Narcissism

June 9, 2009

The book The Narcissism Epidemic finally gets to the area of religion in chapter 15. The authors recount that most religions, and especially the Christian faith in America, have worked to keep people from becoming narcissistic. They note that with the decline of church involvement came a rise in narcissism.

They also note that the teaching of many churches has shifted with this rise of self-adoration and narcissism. It now plays into this me focused world by focusing on the individual. Joel Osteen comes up a lot in this section of the book. With titles like Your Best Life Now and Become a Better You you can probably understand why.

In the end the author notes that many churches try to get you in by playing to a persons narcissistic feelings while then attempting to turn this into altruism and selflessness.

What are your thoughts on this? I have struggled with this because I don’t believe it is very effective. I think few people make the transition because it is never really required. I also have a problem with it because as the book notes, narcissism isn’t good for the person who is narcissistic and it isn’t healthy for those around them. Of course this makes sense because Jesus preached against narcissism. That fact always gives me pause as well.

Is the only way to reach the culture today a focus on self-adoration? Certainly God loves us but if people already assume everyone loves them will this come across as it should? “No da God loves me, what isn’t to love.”

When someone is broken telling them God loves them and forgives them is like giving them a cup of cold water in the middle of the desert. Telling someone who is self absorbed that God loves them is just adding fuel to the fire.

I will continue to struggle with this in ministry because I think the greatest gift we can give is to let people know the story isn’t about them and life is best lived for others.

What do you think? I am still wrestling with how to approach this.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2009 8:57 pm

    Interesting post and topic.
    I found it helpful.

  2. June 10, 2009 4:27 pm

    Thanks for coming by Preacherman.

  3. Wendy Simmons permalink
    June 21, 2009 12:05 pm

    The real question is: If someone is so self-absorbed, do they even REALLY believe in God in the first place? How can they be this way if they did? As you mentioned about the copy cat churches, they are missing the whole point.

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