This past year I’ve been reading the Bible from cover to cover, something many of we Catholics never did. Interesting book. Parts of the Old Testament are taken up with God being upset with His people worshipping idols like Baal and others. At first blush, this would seem to be a practice to which modern people can’t relate, a reflection of less enlightened times.
But suppose we consider an idol to be anyone one or anything to which we turn in times of trouble or when we want something or simply for comfort. Have I worshipped idols in my lifetime? from this perspective, I sure have!
First of all, any of us that have walked the path of addiction worshipped an idol. For some it was the god Alcohol. For others, the god Cocaine. Some of us worshipped Sex. Others worshipped Food.
Not all idol worshippers are addicts. Some of us have worshipped Power and Money. Others bow down before Prestige. Anything other than the God of one’s understanding that becomes the center of our lives is of potentially an idol.
Buddhists uses another word for idols. Attachments. And just as the Buddhists say, it is our attachments, our idols, that give rise to our suffering. Just ask an addict.
In the politicized Christianity of our era, we focus on specific issues such as homosexuality or the evils of Islam or the blessings of wealth. We would do well do recall that the biggest issue for the God of the Old Testament was idol worship.
So I guess the next time I watch The Ten Commandments and see Moses’ people dancing and cavorting around the Golden Calf, rather than view it as a curious pagan rite, I need to accept that, in my own way, I have danced with them.
Reflection: 1. What idols have you worshiped/are you worshipping?
Great subject Rich at this time of year. Thank you so much or sharing your insights so others can learn. It is interesting reading the Bible isn’t it? I joked with my pastor after I read it through the first time that I never realized it was an “instruction manual” for how to live a good life. It can be very confusing though and thus one of my favorite parts is when Jesus’ summarizes all the “rules, laws, God directives, etc” for the Pharisees and us simpletons to understand by saying that the top two things we really need to do is: love God and others (Matthew 22:37). Beautiful.