Are We Idol Worshippers?

Episode # 12: Are We Idol Worshippers? The LKN Faith Podcast

Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

I grew up in both a Hindu and Christian background. Before my teenage years, I attended a Hindu temple, in which my grandfather was priest, and seldom helped him with temple chores. At the same time, I attended a “Full Gospel” church, whose building was located on the property that belonged to my grandfather’s brother.

While attending church, I would hear “Christians” often criticize Hindus, calling them “idol worshippers,” or mock them with slogans like “you pray to stones that cannot hear you.” In my teenage years, I began to search for the true God and found Him in Christianity. Of all religions in the world, Christianity made the most sense. Hinduism on the other hand, was irrational in more ways than one. I could not imagine a God being reduced to miniature idols, created, or erected to suit the imaginations of humans.  

Now, many of us living in the west may firmly state that we are not idol worshippers like those of the east, neither do we bow down to a man-made idol, nor do we have multiple gods like those of Athens (Acts 17). We are above those easterners with respect to idolatry. But are we?

When I became a Christian, I saw glimpses of idolatry in Christianity. Take the cross for instance: some wear it around the neck as a token of protection; some hold on to it whenever they say a prayer; and some use it to simply profess their Christianity.

I also observed that idolatry is not just limited to the cross, it is also seen in fascinating church buildings. Extravagant and elegant structures with astonishing artwork are constructed for the glory of God. Attention to its magnificence takes precedence over its purpose.  

Then there is music. Talented musicians are idolized as they display their talent “for God” and stirring congregants emotionally in preparation for a message from their pastor. He is honored and idolized as God’s anointed and his congregants feel blessed by simply touching the hem of his garment.    

Christian idolatry is further enhanced in the following ways: the pursuit of anything other than the glory of God; a failure to seek God and His righteousness; a denial of any attribute of God; and a failure to acknowledge His holy and just wrath.

This principle is well stated by Christ: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24).

One cannot make God one Master and mammon, (worldly goods), the other master. Mammon cannot usurp the exclusiveness of God’s claim. When Jesus told the rich ruler to sell all he had and follow Him, the rich ruler went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. This man’s great possessions were his idol; it was his god. He did not have to literally bow down to it. He simply had to see God less important than his wealth.   

After identifying all these aspects of idolatry in Christianity, I ask, are we any different from those who literally worship idols? I wonder!

I may not literally be an idol worshipper, but if I fail to seek God and His righteousness first, then I become one. One solid piece of advise from Jesus is this: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24).

Are you an idol worshipper?

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