Our Cruel Idols

Idols_2013_logoA lot of folks think that only primitive people groups worship idols. It is an activity born of ignorance and we have graduated from it in our enlightened status. Since we have science, technology, and great learning, we are no longer tempted to bow down gods as represented by little figurines or statues. We are beyond that. We are evolved.

Is that really true? Are we really invulnerable to idolatry just because we have wifi and a materialistic view of life? Have we truly reversed the tide of recorded human behavior and reached a kind of where we are slave to no god(s)? I submit not. Although most of those reading this post don’t worship supernatural deities whose presence is manifested and venerated by little statues, the impulse of idolatry still lives strong within our hearts. By speaking of ancient Greek mythology, Tim Keller does a marvelous job showing that idolatry still thrives in the human heart.

(In ancient Greek religion) There was Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty; Ares, the god of war; Artemis, the goddess of fertility and wealth; Hephaestus, the god of craftsmanship.

Our contemporary society is not fundamentally different from these ancient ones. Each culture is dominated by its own set of idols. Each has its own “priesthoods,” its totems and rituals. Each one has its shrines – whether office towers, spas and gyms, studios, or stadiums – where sacrifices must be made in order to procure the blessings of the good life and ward off disaster. What are the gods of beauty, power, money, and achievement but these same things that have assumed mythic proportions in our individual lives and in our society?

We may not physically kneel before the statue of Aphrodite, but many young women today are driven into depression and eating disorders by an obsessive concern over their body images.

We may not actually burn incense to Artemis, but when money and career are raised to cosmic proportions, we perform a kind of child sacrifice, neglecting family and community to achieve a higher place in business and gain more wealth and prestige.

In the ancient times, the deities were bloodthirsty and hard to appease. They still are. (Taken from Counterfeit Gods, p. xiv-xv).

History shows that humanity has religion in its veins. We can’t rid ourselves of the impulse to give our lives to something. We will even sacrifice cherished things in hopes of greater rewards. Our hearts have been fashioned to worship and worship we will. The question, however, is what will we choose to worship? What will we choose to live our lives for? There are only two possible answers one can give to this question: we will either worship the Creator or His creation. Only one of those will bring our hearts to rest; the other will condemn us to a heart of restlessness.

Among the idols calling for your heart, hear the True God’s plea.

The Lord, the king of Israel, is the Lord All-Powerful, who saves Israel. This is what he says: “I am the beginning and the end. I am the only God. Who is a god like me? That god should come and prove it. Let him tell and explain all that has happened since I set up my ancient people. He should also tell what will happen in the future. Don’t be afraid! Don’t worry! I have always told you what will happen. You are my witnesses. There is no other God but me. I know of no other Rock; I am the only One (Isaiah 44:6-8).

About Dana Dill

I'm a Christian, husband, daddy, pastor, professor, and hope to be a friend to pilgrims on their way home.
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