Monday, 12 October 2009

the idol factory

There is but one God, the God who is the Creator of all things and has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. But there are many idols and they are false and damning.

In the ancient world idols were fairly obvious. Religious temples were full of them. Today such idols are still integral to some world religions. In fact, Christians believe that the worship of any god other than the true and only God who has made himself known in Jesus is idolatry.

Our secular world fondly thinks it has moved beyond primitive idolatry. This is a great self-deception. Idoltry is as rampant in secular society as was in the ancient world.
Idols are the gods of the heart. Idolatry is the turning of (often) good things into ultimate things. More specifically, it is the worshipping of created things rather than the Creator.

Tim Keller, in his new book, 'Counterfeit Gods', exposes many of our heart gods. One telling comparison is between the ancient gods and modern gods. He cites four examples of gods in the Parthenon in Athena where Paul the Apostle preached (Acts 17).

There was found Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty; Ares, the god of war; Artemis, the goddess of fertility and wealth; and Hephaestus, the god of craftsmanship.

It takes little mental effort to see that these gods have many worhipping at their shrine today. The gods of beauty, power, money and achievement are worshipped today as devotedly as ever they were in the classical world. The only real difference is the place of worship. Keller observes, the shrines are no longer in the Parthenon, but are the spas and gymns, the Office Tower, the Shopping Mall, and the stadiums.

Ancient gods were hard to please and today is no exception. Men (and women) regularly offer everything they have on these altars - health, character, family, and life itself. False gods are deadly and destructive.

The rebellious human heart needs something to worship. It is an 'idol factory'. The big question is how far we who are Christians worship at these modern high places, these pagan shrines.

We need to hear John, the Apostle's words today just as much as believers did in C1, 'Little children keep yourself from idols'.

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