In dealing with Christians, I brought up the fact that Christianity has many similarities with early pagan religions, and even the church fathers knew this, and was told that the problem with pagan religions is that they were idol worshipers. It got me thinking about what that means.
What is an idol?
Well, it’s rather difficult to determine, but generally it is accepted as an inanimate object that one worships. Now worship, in essence, means to give value to, or to make yourself equal to something or someone. This means that things you place significance on are considered idols in the pure sense.
Many people think that when you’re talking about idols, you’re speaking only of images of a god. This simply isn’t true. The golden calf in Exodus for instance. The calf was not the God itself. The calf was a symbol representing the moon god by its upturned horns. Idols are not necessarily images of what people thought their God looked like, they are just symbols that represent something significant about their God.
Islam and idol worship
We all heard about the riots that the Danish cartoon of Muhammad caused. Why is that? Why is it so evil to make an image of Muhammad? Muslims will tell you that it’s because you are not supposed to make images of Muhammad or Allah because it is considered to be a form of idol worship. I think this may be at the heart of it, but by getting so upset about it, they have given the image power.
The image of Muhammad is only an idol if you give it power. If you don’t think it has any power, how can you get upset about it? This is quite an interesting dilemma considering what was done because of this image. Now, I am pretty sure that there is more to the reasoning in the minds of the Muslims that got involved in this protest than merely getting upset about an image of Muhammad being displayed. It was anger about the way the image of Muhammad was displayed. Portraying Muhammad with a bomb in his turban was the real problem.
Muslims gave power to the image of Muhammad, and because of that, they were the ones treating it as an idol.
Christianity and idol worship
Now, with Christianity we see many forms of idol worship. The cross, the stupid fish, images of Jesus, Mary, saints, and even the Bible itself.
Now, if you’re a Christian, and you disagree with this, imagine for a minute that I were to make an image of Jesus or Mary out of Dung. Imagine if I were to take one of those fish and smash it with a hammer. Imagine if I were to take a bible and burn it in front of you. How would it make you feel? Chances are, you might feel any number of emotions, most likely anger. Why is that?
Christians have given these things power. These things are often thought to be imbued with the power of God. Idolatry is not merely the worship of the images themselves, it is the idea that an object is special, or has significance beyond the significance you would give to normal objects.
All religions worship idols, and it is rather humorous when they speak of idol worship.
When you meet a Christian that gives special religious significance to an object, let them know it is idol worship. If they disagree, ask them to burn their bible and see how they take it. If you are a Christian that gives special significance to an object, according to your scripture, you have committed a sin and you better repent.