Thursday 30 August 2018

The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity - Matthew Kelly - How the Modern Culture Is Robbing Billions of People of Happiness

The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity: How the Modern Culture Is Robbing Billions of People of Happiness
Matthew Kelly
Wellspring Publishing
for Dynamic Catholic
ISBN 9781635820409
eISBN 9781635820614

I have been a fan of the works of Matthew Kelly since I first read one of his books late in 2015. Since that time, I have read a book by him a total of 18 times. I have been bouncing around his different titles randomly pickling what to read next. This book is his most recent publication, at the time of writing this review. This book has a densely packed 15 chapters:

1. Life Is A Puzzle 
2. Your Happiness Project 
3. The False Promises And Lies Of This World 
4. I've Been Lying To Myself 
5. So Many Lies About Christianity 
6. The Biggest Lie 
7. Prove It! 
8. One Beautiful Truth 
9. The World Needs Changing 
10. It's Been Done Before 
11. History Is Presenting Christianity 
      With A New Opportunity 
12. Everyday Miracles 
13. Live An Intriguing Life 
14. Our Dirty Little Secret 
15. Now Is Your Time! 

After the last book I reviewed by Matthew Kelly a reader reached out to me and asked if Kelly was just a Catholic version of Max Lucado. I thought about that for a while, when I was involved with non-denomination campus ministries I read a lot of Lucado. Eventually I stopped because it all felt the same. It came to feel like Lucado just continued to present variations on a theme without having much real new content. And I feel the same way about Mark Batterson. But with Matthew Kelly I have not felt that at all yet. Yes Kelly writes with a great deal of passion, and he does sometimes use the same illustrations. And his catch phrase: 'Becoming the best version of yourself' appears often in his writings. But even with all of that with each new book by Kelly that I read I have a renewed interest in reading more of his works. Every time I finish one I go and pick one I have not read and add it to my to be read pile. 

In this book Kelly states:

"Transforming people one at a time is at the heart of God's plan for the world. It is also essential to developing dynamic marriages, loving families, vibrant Christian communities, thriving businesses and economies, and extraordinary schools and nations. If you get the man right (or the woman, of course), you get the world right."


"The thing is, our deep yearning isn't for momentary pleasures; it is for lasting
happiness in a changing world. The world is always changing; we cannot control every situation. Situational happiness is easy. It is easy to be happy lying on an exotic tropical beach all day for a week. But so much of this happiness is dependent on the situation. What we are really hungry for is a happiness that is independent of the situation."

Matthew also shares with us form his personal experience. He states:

"Through my own quest for happiness, there are a few things I
have learned:

 Happiness and pleasure are not the same thing.
 Getting what I want doesn't make me happy.
 Focusing on myself almost never leads to happiness.
 I am never happy when I pretend to be someone I am not.
 Too much of the happiness I experience is dependent on unsustainable circumstances or situations.
 The more I help others in their quest for lasting happiness, the happier I seem to be.
 Lying never makes me happy.
 Happiness is always found by embracing the present moment.
 It is impossible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time.
 Anything that helps me become a-better-version-of-myself makes me happy, even if it is difficult or painful.
 Happiness is contagious."

And he shows us that the way we find true happiness is by pursuing answers to four questions. 

"Who am I?
What am I here for?
What matters most?
What matters least?"

He also shares with us that:

"It is this fact-that we lie to ourselves-that is of particular importance
here. Humanity's ability to deceive itself knows no limits."


"Whenever and wherever Christians have taken the idea that holiness is possible seriously, Christianity has thrived. Whenever and wherever the biggest lie in the history of Christianity has prevailed and everyday holiness has been set aside, Christianity has fumbled along clumsily with limited impact or become stagnant."

"I don't like alarm clocks. Just the name disturbs me. Who wants to start the day alarmed? But when you check into a hotel, they often ask you if you would like a wakeup call. I like that. We all need a wakeup call from time to time. I needed one last year. Maybe you need one right now. It is just so easy to fall into the mode of sleepwalking through life."

I hope that those few quotes will help you appreciate some of the message that is in this wonderful book. Of all the books I have read by Kelly this is the best so far. I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Matthew Kelly:
I Know Jesus
The Long View
Decision Point: The Workbook
Decision Point: The Leader Guide
The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic
The One Thing
Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction
Why Am I Here?
Perfectly Yourself: 9 Lessons for Enduring Happiness
Perfectly Yourself Discovering God's Dream For You
Building Better Families: A Practical Guide to Raising Amazing Children
The Dream Manager
The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved
The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose
Building Better Families - 5 Practical Ways to Build Family Spirituality
The Book of Courage
The Shepherd: A Modern Parable about Our Search for Happiness
Mustard Is Persecution, Matthew Kelly Foundation
A Call to Joy - Living in the Presence of God
The Rhythm of Life: An Antidote For Our Busy Age
Words from God
Resisting Happiness
The Narrow Path
Our Father
The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity
Why I Love Being Catholic
Good Night, Jesus
In a world where you can be anything ...

Beautiful ... Series:

Rediscover Books by Matthew Kelly:
Rediscover Catholicism: A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion & Purpose
Rediscover Advent
Rediscover Lent
Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation
Rediscover the Rosary: The Modern Power of an Ancient Prayer
Rediscover the Saints

Audio by Matthew Kelly from Lighthouse Media:
Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself
The Best Way To Live
Don't Just Try, Train
Faith At Work & The Holy Moment
The Four Signs Of A Dynamic Catholic - Excerpt
The Jesus Question
My Spiritual Journey
Our Lives Change When Our Habits Change
Raising Amazing Children
The Seven Levels Of Intimacy
The Seven Pillars Of Catholic Spirituality


Unknown said...

Overly simplistic view of the "human condition" we all share but aspire to be rid of... the author embraces a "I'm OK, you're not" thesis which is the root cause of our failings as artifacts of humans living 13,000 years ago. America has become a theocracy based upon implementing interpretations of Christianity. Christianity originally defined a code of conduct... not a self-serving moral obligation to harm others. There is only one question that requires us all to answer: "who am I? and, what if anything, can I do about it?" For the faithful, the question is ignored.. in it's place is "I'm OK.. how can I prove it?" "Oh, I know.. I'll continue to believe in John Calvin's theology" that defines our social construct which is based upon "taking" versus "giving" ... Americ's "civil religion" is based upon that creed. We were put here to love people and use things, but our cultural implementation of "Christian" values embraces the converse.. from birth we are taught to "love things... and use people... to get things" as we embrace Calvin's entitlement stemming from our being "elected" by God. The New Testament is merely a tribal documentation to validate power over others.. taking, not giving... dignity.. respect.. the right of individual "humanity."

Steven R. McEvoy said...

I am fairly certain the above comment is by someone who has not read the book. Just by their assumption. The book and Kelly's works in general are far from Calvinist.