Homemade Gods: A Warning Against Modern-Day Baal Worship
July 19, 1998
“Idols? You must be kidding.”
“That’s what they have in Africa, right?”
“Me? An idol-worshiper? What do you take me for? A pagan?”
“The only thing I worship is my brand-new car.”
What is an idol anyway? The dictionary offers this definition: “an image used as an object of worship.” That sounds like those pictures we’ve seen in National Geographic of squatting Buddhas surrounded by burning candles. On that ground most Americans can claim innocence. We’re far beyond that … aren’t we? We don’t use images when we worship. At least most of us don’t.
But that’s not the only definition. The second part reads “one that is adored.” Hmmmm. That raises many questions. If adoration is the issue, then perhaps idolatry is closer than we think. Pushing onward, we discover that “adore” has three different meanings:
1. To worship with divine honors.
2. To love deeply.
3. To like very much.
Obviously there is a huge difference between #1 and #3. We all understand that liking something is not the same as worshipping something. It’s #2 that gives us problems. At what point does “loving deeply” cross the line into idolatrous worship?