Modern Day Idols


Madison Square Park Conservancy

An eight feet tall golden statue titled “Havah” meaning “to breath”, “to be”, or “Eve”.

The word “idolatry” conjures up images of large statues made of gold with thousands of people chanting and bowing down to them. The concept of idolatry in modern times is outlandish to most people. The idea of you creating something only to worship it. We, modern-day, educated, civilized people, would never do something so backward, right? Wrong, kind of. Idol worship occurs every day. However, idolatry in the modern era does not involve physical objects or items. Instead, idolatry takes place in the mind and people’s actions.

The concept of God in the mind of the American people today is a god who is not concerned about sin, would never be angry, does not judge, and never sends “good” people to hell. Any of these concepts, let alone a combination, is a perfect example of idolatry in the modern day.

You see, ideas in your mind about the nature and character of God that contradict scripture are idolatry. You are, in essence, worshiping a different god than the God of the Bible. In the case of God’s nature, God is not a thing, a force, or some kind of power. God is not a feeling you get or the energy you feel. God is one being (three persons, equal and eternal, if you’re trinitarian) who exists outside of time and space (but does frequently intervene in history). While yes, it is true that God is a God of mercy and love, he is also a God of wrath; all are aspects of his nature. God hates sin and will punish the wicked in the final analysis/judgment. Thoughts about God’s nature that are incorrect, like the idea that god may be a cat, for example (obviously, God is not a cat), or misguided ideas, like the idea that God will punish no one, are both examples of idolatry, as these thoughts about God are not true. They are things we’ve told ourselves to feel better about impending judgment.

God also calls himself a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). Does he not have the right to be jealous? Humanity has a pattern of forsaking God and worshiping other lesser things. In times past, that would be statues and carved images. Now, we forsake God for the pleasures of the world. Putting wealth, jobs, people, reputation, and other things that ultimately lead to nothing above God, who gives life and sustains your very being is most definitely a form of idolatry. These actions put God below worldly things when that is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.

When Moses went up to God on the mountain to receive the law, Israel forsook God and created the golden calf, a God fashioned from their own hands, claiming, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt.” We must not follow in the footsteps of Israel, forsaking God for idols fashioned by our own hands. We must pursue God and strive to understand his character and attributes.