“Many people who conceive of idolatry as the worship of statues and totem poles assume that it no longer exists. From Judaism’s perspective, however, idolatry occurs when one holds any value higher than God and morality. A person who says “My country right or wrong” and , on this basis, acts unjustly, is an idolater. By regarding his country’s demand to do wrong as more binding than God’s demand to do right, such an individual makes it clear that he or she regards country as higher than God.
Unfortunately, the idolatries that tempt modern man often are of great value, i.e., the nation, art and literature, even education. It is only when one ascribes to them supreme value that they turn into “gods.” For example, the people who agitated to have fascist propagandist Ezra Pound released from incarceration because he was a great poet apparently believed that great literary figures are beyond good and evil, and therefore should not be punished for doing evil. Good literature is wonderful, but such and attitude is idolatrous.
Evil can ensue when one so elevates a good ideology that it becomes a form of idolatry.” — Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Wisdom
Recently, I posted my story on here that covered the many “red flags” my husband and I ignored while involved with an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. Today, I would like to draw an analogy from those “red flags” to show a modern day idol that is pervasive in many American institutions. According to Telushkin, any ideal that is elevated above what is morally right, can be cited as “idolatry.” I would like to add to this that any “person” that we elevate above what is morally and ethically right can be cited as an “idol.” By regarding this person’s demand to do wrong as more binding than God’s demand to do right, such an individual makes it clear that he or she regards the this person as higher than God. This is idolatry. Let’s talk about this idol.
The New American Idol
From the beginning, man has had a desire for money, power, prestige and control. Through the many articles on this blog, I expound on this desire of men and how it has affected women adversely. Last week, I laid out a whole bunch of “red flags” that went ignored because of this new modern day form of idolatry that has infiltrated many religious institutions. This idol is such that:
- It garners the utmost respect and trust from everyone that steps foot into an institution where this idol reigns supreme.
- Whatever this idol says to do, we do.
- Whatever this idol teaches and preaches, is gospel. It is “truth.”
- This idol is “perfect” and does no wrong in the eyes of the people that worship it. If accused of wrongdoing, the people will take the side of this idol and support it all the way to the prison house.
How can this be? How can such blind trust and faith be put in an idol that people are willing to forgo the living God and morality to prop this idol up in their minds and hearts? The answer: “Religion” teaches us to. This idol is so powerful that it blinds even the elect and, leads them along in chains of bondage to the idol’s every whim of doctrine, desire and want. Let’s look at this idol’s influence:
The Idol’s Influence
- It has the “unquestionable” trust of the people that serve it.
- It is revered as “holy” and full of “wisdom” on any subject that people are in need of help with.
- It is supported financially, so much so, that many of these idols earn in the millions.
- Questioning this idol’s doctrines, teachings, and “rules” will bring you under attack from its worshipers.
- Exposing lies will bring you under attack from its worshipers.
- Exposing abuses will bring you under attack from its worshipers.
- This idol can affect political change through its followers.
- This idol controls the personal lives of its followers.
- This idol controls the flow of information.
- This idol claims that it is the “guardian” of God’s Word.
- This idol claims to be the “mediator” between God and man.
- This idol claims to be the “final authority” on all matters of faith and practice for believers.
- This idol claims “authority” on “God’s will” for others.
- This idol has the power to punish those who disagree with its doctrines and rules.
- This idol is propped up by accolades, gifts, money, paid vacations, new cars and all manner of “play toys” and high end “stuff.”
What is the name of this idol that has such power, prestige and control? The answer: PASTOR