Monday, April 17, 2017

Thoughts on idolatry

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
I Corinthians 10:13‭-‬14 is perhaps one of my favorite verses in the bible. For a long time, I have been struggling with the idea of idolatry. Why is it that the bible asked for us to flee from idolatry? Different people will give you a different answer for this. Some will say because the others are worshiping false gods and idols. Some will say that it has to do with obsession over things. Despite having so many answers, I am not satisfied. Wrong questions invite wrong answers. I may have been asking the wrong question.
So let us understand more about idolatry and what the second most important book, dictionary, has to say about this.
the worship of idols. (I know this)
extreme admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone. ( That sounds familiar, isn't that what we do everyday?)
Let me ask the most controversial question that I am going to ask in this post. How is what a lot Christians do in the name of God, not a form of idolatry? All the worshiping, professing their love, giving God credit for all the good things that have happened to them. How is that not a form of idolatry then? Just because He is God, it is not idolatry? That does not make sense because it is not consistent.
Something clicked when I was listening to this audio book, The Good Heart. What does idolatry do, especially in religion? Obsessing over something, including God often blind us to other things. We stopped living as an individual, but as a collective that is easily manipulated. We are obsessed with who God is and try to convince ourselves why our God is better than gods in other religions. That sends chill down my spine. Isn't that the cause of many religious conflicts? Isn't that why people will willingly sign up for weaponize conflicts that not only caused countless deaths and sufferings of a lot more?
Idolatry breeds obsession and obsession creates divide. That is not good.
Am I here to say that we should stop everything and become an atheist? That is, ironically and definitely, one direction that we can go. The alternative that I propose is much less drastic. What the bible is trying to tell us, I believe, is that we should not be focusing on who God is. Through out the text, there has been multiple instances that emphasize the unfathomable nature of God. Therefore, stop defining who God is and what He can grant us and do for us. Not focusing on who God is makes comparing with other competing deities meaningless. Instead, we should be focusing on our actions. We should be thinking how we can live a life like how God has prescribed in the bible. Be a good human being that glorify God, like any filial son would do for his own father.

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