The Spiritual Danger of Crowds

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Eugene Peterson:

Classically, there are three ways in which humans try to find transcendence—religious meaning, God meaning—apart from God as revealed in the cross of Jesus: through the ecstasy of alcohol and drugs, through the ecstasy of recreational sex, though the ecstasy of crowds.

Church leaders frequently warn against the drugs and the sex, but, at least in America, almost never against the crowds.

Probably because they get so much ego benefit from the crowds.

But a crowd destroys the spirit as thoroughly as excessive drink and depersonalized sex. It takes us out of ourselves, but not to God, only away from. The religious hunger is rooted in the unsatisfactory nature of the self.  We hunger to escape the dullness, the boredom, the tiresomeness of me.  We can escape upward or downward.

Drugs and depersonalized sex are a false transcendence downward.

A crowd is an exercise is false transcendence upward, which is why all crowds are spiritually pretty much the same, whether at football games, political rallies, or church. . . .

I really do feel that crowds are a worse danger, far worse, than drink or sex . . .

Jim Carrey:

I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.

Tom Brady:

Why do I have three Super Bowl rings, and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what is.” I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think: God, it’s gotta be more than this. I mean this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be. I mean I’ve done it. I’m 27. And what else is there for me?

Anthony Hopkins:

You know, I meet young people, and they want to act and they want to be famous, and I tell them, when you get to the top of the tree, there’s nothing up there. Most of this is nonsense, most of this is a lie.

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