Jesus vs. the “Worm” Mentality of Organized Religion

ian carroll.jpg Jesus vs. the Worm Mentality of Organized ReligionI almost put my fist through the ceiling when I heard this. Today, a 13 minute clip from Ian Carroll -

“How Can You Succeed, Let Alone Help Anybody Else, If You Hate Yourself?”

There is a false, insidious belief that has crept into Christian belief that we are all ‘worms’ and God just sort of puts up with us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Listen up:

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Ian is a long-time friend and mentor and in this message he calls mediocrity what it is, and summons you and me to receive a gospel that celebrates us instead of grinding us down.

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About the Author

Entrepreneur Magazine says: "Perry Marshall is the #1 author and world's most-quoted consultant on Google Advertising. He has helped over 100,000 advertisers save literally billions of dollars in Adwords stupidity tax."

He is referenced across the Internet and by The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune and Forbes Magazine.

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Posted by Perry on June 11th, 2013. Filed in Marketing Blog. Tagged as . Follow responses thru Comments RSS. Follow responses thru Comments RSS.

Comments on Jesus vs. the “Worm” Mentality of Organized Religion »

  • This is the #1 reason I can’t find a church I like in my town.. the other reason is that it’s a small town.

  • Michael says:

    Perry – thanks for sharing this on Fathers Day! He was so right in his thoughts and feelings. A loving Heavenly Father sent us to earth to learn grow and become more like Him, but knew we would fall short because we all sin or make mistakes. So, Christ came to provide a way home and does only, as the scriptures say, as He has seen the Father do. So Christ loved unconditionally and taught the gospel which is all about loving and encouraging others and repenting which only means to change and I think that’s what we’re all trying to do each day in this journey on earth, change and be a little bit better each day. Heavenly Father has more love for us than we can ever imagine and wants us to become all that we possibly can be, know Him, and enjoy life to its fullest. Isn’t that what any Father would want for His children? I know it is.

  • richard painter says:

    After reading all 66 books referred to as the Holy Bible, here’s the truth about human worms, as I understand it, in overly simplistic terms:

    Good God created humans in His own image.

    However, humans chose to rebel against Creator Good God.

    Rebellious humans separated from Creator Good God’s image and became human “worms.”

    Thankfully, Creator Good God had a plan to save human worms from eternal separation from Him. His plan required the ultimate sacrifice — the temporary human life of His only perfect Son.

    Creator Good God also had a life-after-death plan to save His Son. (That’s why His human life was temporary.)

    Because Creator Good God gave humans the freedom to choose to obey Him or to rebel against Him, Creator Good God’s plan of salvation also requires the human worm to make a choice to accept or reject His Son’s sacrificial gift.

    Good News and Bad News:

    Human worms choosing to obey and accept Creator Good God’s plan, are reunited to Him and re-created in His image, filled and sealed by His life-giving, life-guiding Spirit. They are no longer worms.

    Human worms choosing to disobey and reject Creator Good God’s plan, remain worms and remain eternally separated from Him.

    Don’t remain a human worm, choose a better life and celebrate your new birthday!

    • Kenny Holloway says:

      If you’ve read the whole Bible, then congratulations! As crazy as it sounds, you are in the minority of Christians. I used to believe that we choose God, but that’s mostly because it’s what I was taught in church.

      Reading the Bible seemed to contradict a few things I had been taught. This is important stuff because it deals with all eternity, right?

      2 things that I found were the Total Depravity of Man is the key starting place and we can’t so much have that if we choose God. The 2nd thing is Limited Atonement. At first it sounds appalling, but then again, I’m not the one that decides how it goes. I can choose to make up whatever I want it to be (what sounds nice) and believe a lie or hear the truth and go with that. I chose the latter even though it messed with my initial understanding.

      • richard painter says:

        Kenny, does the following sum up your spiritual beliefs? Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.

  • John McGraw says:

    If this guy was an visiting preacher to the the back woods Missionary Baptist Church I grew up in they would be ready to “string this guy up” for saying such things that are surely nothing but “sin and pride” and an abomination against God and his word.
    But the congregation would have probably Amen’ed him and next Sunday the resident preacher would have screamed and snorted and stomped in cadence about how we are all as worthless as filthy rags and in the Greek language, filthy rags was their terminology for the used “toilet paper” of their time and culture.

  • Sun., 6/16/2013 3:50 pm EDT

    Hey, Perry.

    Thanks for bringing up a topic that is thorny and complex: are we worms, or are we the children of God? I have wrestled with this issue in the past, because it was once hard for me to feel even a glimmer of God’s divinity in my breast.

    It is true that there are Christian ministers (entire denominations) who play (even prey) upon people’s inadequacies in order to get them to “sign up.” Those are usually the churches that are looking for tithes and donations for the preacher’s and associates’ salaries, the real estate, the organ, the spaghetti for the poor and homeless, and travel expenses for bragging-rights foreign missions.

    I think it’s a mistake to say, however, that the belief that we are worms is “an insidious belief” that has somehow “crept into Christianity.” It is, rather, the entire and solid foundation of Christianity.

    Which would you rather deal with inside yourself: (1) a false edifice based upon the premise that you are first and foremost a great human being who is already “as the gods,” or (2) a truth-based edifice based upon the recognition that as a human being you are prone to brokenness and failures, but that a wonderful mechanism called “mercy and grace” allows you to excel in spite of your frequent fumbling?

    The problem with the first assumption, that you are so great to begin with, is that (a) you will sooner or later have to cope with the fact that you are not always so great, and other people can see right through you, and (b) your attempt to believe that you are a cut above the “worm mentality” will inevitably lead you into a web of lies and deceptions in your attempt to maintain that false-face public persona of “I am not a worm.”

    The power in the second assumption, that you really are a worm that loves to burrow into and hide in the dust (a characterization which is most physically obvious in males), with a reptilian brain that takes over at the most inopportune times, is that:

    (a) if you understand the symbolism of the God/Jesus story in terms of brain function, you can recognize what is happening when your mind takes a turn in the wrong direction and take measures with the help of God to minimize those missteps;

    (b) you will be able to maintain a truthful public persona at all times and be fully at ease in apologizing for any inadequacies when apologies and compensation are in order;

    (c) you will understand, when you feel imprisoned due to your own failures to succeed (your failures to “be good at” what you are doing), or due to the evils visited on you by other human beings, that there is (thank God) a way out that does not depend on your own “goodness;”

    (d) you will not be tempted by the false doctrine of the “prosperity gospel” (that says your success or your health comes solely from your personal ability to think right) to disparage the failures or illnesses of your fellow human beings as being the result of their “negativity” or to say that every bad thing they experience is their own fault; and, finally,

    (e) you will know that since you are, indeed, as insignificant as a tiny drop of water in the ocean, it is therefore *no big deal* to be the biggest and the greatest that you can possibly be.

    Here is the point at which my view of personal greatness meshes with that of Ian Carroll, but it is a follow-up to accepting — not an up-front denial of — my “wretched” condition.

    From this marvelous insight, I can smile from the inside out and be saved from the burden of manufacturing my own greatness, even while I am taking all the steps I need to take in order to succeed.

    Gloria Dei

  • Paul Smith says:

    As a pastor and minister for over 40 years I have struggled with the concept that we were born sinners and bound for hell. That doctrine runs counter to everything scripture teaches about who God is and who we are. It sounds like Ian has a handle the truth here.
    We were born to become children of God, not to populate hell.

  • Ryan Haber says:

    Dear Mr. Marshall,

    You’re right, that there has grown up “a false, insidious belief” in in Christian teaching that “we are all ‘worms’ and God just sort of puts up with us.”

    It’s called Protestantism. Lolol. I’m actually pretty serious, and not trying to be mean, or speak with any reference to actual Protestant persons.

    Luther called humanity “shit covered with snow,” and Calvin taught that while some men were made for salvation, others were created for perdition by the will of God.

    I am Catholic, and we affirm that human nature is fundamentally good, though broken, cracked, if you will, and in need of repair, cheese with a moldy streak. God is so merciful as to not throw out the good with the bad; indeed, he doesn’t throw out the bad, but redeems it by uniting it to His own self in the person of his Son.

    It is amazing and shocking that He should give His Son as ransom for slaves; I can understand why people would stop short of that – it seems to be too good to be true. But that he should give His Son in order to cover shit with snow?

    No, I cannot buy that. The goodness with which our Good God fashioned us far surpasses the ability of the world, our fallen nature, or even the devil of hell himself to destroy.

    Jesus Christ is Lord, and may He bless you for your willingness to confess Him.

    • Perry says:

      Well stated!

      There are all kinds of things in the Catholic world that I either disagree with or else don’t really understand. The obsession with Mary for example, and some of the teachings about her for example.

      But I don’t feel I have to have all that sorted, or agree with all of it, to take a lot of good things from the Catholic church. Folks like Augustine and Aquinas have terrific thinking on many issues. And the Catholic church is the original “mother ship” going all the way back to the first century.

      • Ryan Haber says:

        Thanks, Perry! I admire that willingness to pluck the fruit of truth off of whatever tree!

        And yeah, you can’t go very wrong with Augustine or Aquinas. I keep each of them by my bedside and on my phone!

        I wish I could succinctly explain anything about the Holy Mother of God, but it would be a lot easier to explain succinctly how I feel about my own mother. I think a key thing to bear in mind about each of the mariological teachings is that they have sacramental, christological, and theological implications far beyond themselves. They serve as a sort of outer perimeter defense for the teaching of and about Christ. For instance, we call Mary the Mother of God because her Son is God. To stop calling her that means, logically, that we must say Jesus is not God, or that logic no longer matters (the she is the mother of Jesus, Jesus is God, but she is not the mother of God – that defies logic). So asserting that Mary is the Mother of God defends Christ’s divinity and common human sense, and logic – the logos of Creation – the order with which God created the universe. That’s just one example of a doctrine.

        The historical things, like the Assumption of the Virgin, go a little further in terms of “why we believe X, Y, or Z.” They still have implications about sin and grace and so on.

        But the devotion thing, ultimately, I don’t know if I can explain it. I am a sworn and avowed servant, a slave, if she’ll have me, of the Virgin. (But what a gentle mistress, the Mother of Mercy Himself!) And just as at Cana, she directs me to the will of her Son. I think to say that we have God the Father in heaven, and therefore don’t need a mother in heaven as well, just doesn’t make sense to me. Doesn’t the ideal family have a father AND a mother? Our Father’s justice is tempered with mercy, but mightn’t His very personality be balanced with another? Not because He needs it, but because He is shockingly humble. God’s majesty is not lessened because He shares it, but magnified! “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior!” (Lk 1:46) I mean, God decided to get born in a manger, and stripped naked and nailed to a gibbet, whilst still being God. Someone so grand, and so humble – there’s no telling what He’ll do. He might even take a human for a mother, and then give her to all his brothers and sisters?

        God’s crazy. We can’t predict Him, even when He prophesies to us. We can only hang on for the ride.

        Anyhow, thanks for your work with business mentoring and your willingness to love God in public.

        • Perry says:

          I know a guy who says Mary appeared to him and I believe him. I also believe the kids at Fatima and the people at Medjugorje. Red flags go up for me, however, when it is claimed that Mary was also sinless, or that she remained a virgin all her life. I think somewhere between the protestants, who pretty much ignore Mary, and the Catholics, who it seems make her too mystical, there is a proper balance in the middle.

          • Ryan Haber says:

            That’s really interesting, actually, on a number of levels. I of course believe in the apparitions at Fatima, etc., and my work has even made it possible for me to go to Lourdes and Guadalupe each several times, and to Knock, too. There is something profound about even being on those spots.

            With the Church, I tend to be skeptical about particular apparition reports, and look for fruits of the Spirit as signs of authenticity when someone tells me they have had a mystical experience. Because in the end, the mystical experience doesn’t really matter, does it, unless we allow it to transform our faith, hope, and charity – to make us more Christlike. And that’s very much the role of Mary as mother of the Church: she who trained Jesus into holy manliness cannot fail to help do the same for his adopted brothers and sisters.

            “Red flags go up for me, however, when it is claimed that Mary was also sinless, or that she remained a virgin all her life.”

            I understand that. It starts us thinking that a person doesn’t need a savior, if they haven’t sinned, doesn’t it? I think it is every bit as salvific and necessary for salvation, though, that a person is saved *from sinning* as that a person should be saved *from the consequences of having sinned*. So if our blessed Lord preserved His mother from sin, it is very much the same thing as saving her from damnation after having sinned. In any event, either way, we see that saying she never sinned doesn’t necessarily mean that her personal human nature somehow didn’t need God. Especially as we start thinking of salvation not just as “getting off the hook from sin,” but as “sharing perfectly in the joy and life of God,” we start seeing how silly it is to think someone could do that without God – sin or no. In this sense, Adam and Eve would have needed God to save them every bit as much even if they hadn’t sinned. And since Mary’s sinlessness is a gift of God that she couldn’t possibly have earned (in utero!?) it doesn’t impinge upon his glory, but multiplies it, because he can not only save us after we screw up, but before!

            Why just Mary, then? Well, a man only has one mother, and never having taken a wife, who else could be the love of his life on this earth? We give the best to whom we love the most.

            I probably sound like a hairsplitting, jesuitical Catholic now. :)

          • Ryan Haber says:

            Incidentally, I never really expected a response from you. God will bless your (our?) willingness to ponder Him and His things, I’m sure. Thanks for the space to do so.

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