Idol Worship Defined
I've personally wrestled for some time now with "if" idol worship exists today, in the modern era. We know that theres a level and degree, some is so blatant (American Idol) but I'm looking at this from a Biblical perspective. Obviously we know that there are cults & factions who practice all sorts of unusual stuff, but still I was looking for the more (or less) obvious. Realizing that we have come a long way in the thousands of years since Biblical reference to idol worship, I figured that it might look quite different these days. So how do we "define" it? To the dictionary I went. (Merriam-Websters)
What the Dictionary Says
IDOL - An image worshipped as a god. An object of passionate devotion.
IDOLATRY - The worship of a physical object as a god. Excessive devotion.
IDOLIZATION - The act of idolizing.
IDOLIZE - To make an idol of.
Some other words that were used to describe IDOL (and it's variants) - adore, dote, cherish, esteem, prize, treasure.
WORSHIP - Extravagant respect, admiration, devotion, reverance toward, expression of reverance, glorification, adulation. - To honor or to reverance (as a divine being or supernatural power). To regard with respect, honor & devotion. - glorify, honor, love, respect, idolize.
I don't know about you, but to me these words speak volumes in our current society. Be it athletes, sports teams, even any given sport itself. What about Hollywood, movies, actors, even the theaters & televisions. Music, musicians, CD's, videos, concerts or how about some video games and their following?
If "true" satisfaction is found in "stuff" (material goods) or money, fame, wealth, power... Then how come, no matter how much or how many of these "things" people attain, they still need more? If the truest form of satisfaction is with "Item A", why is there then a need or desire for "Item B" when it comes along? IF two million dollars ($2,000,000.) ISN'T enough, will 20 million suffice? In theory it will likely suffice, until you reach the 20 million mark, then it WON'T be enough. Yet, God is fully sufficent & satisfying from the get go! Wow!
The reason I addressed possessions and money so deeply is because based on the definitions above, I believe many people "worship" money & stuff, it has become their "idol". I'd also listed a few other "idols" that are pretty easy to notice these days, in entertainment, sport(s), and many celebrities. Even some politicians are idolized anymore, as are some political pundits. What is saddest to me, is that this is as prevelant in the body of Christ as it is in the world. Reread the definitions, let those words really sink in, think how often you hear some of them and what it's in reference to. I'm not condemning, this was a wake-up call for me as well, even though most of my "idols" had been waning as I grew in Christ, some level is still there. Why do people get so excited to "meet" a celebrity, especially a celebrity that isn't a Christian, far from models anything godly in their life and then to say to them "oh I just love your work" or "I just adore you so much" and the "I always read / watch / listen to.. anything you do!" PUKE!
Seriously, as a Christian you have met the Son, of the Creator, of the entire Universe, God Himself dwells within you, and yet some actor, athlete or musician is your passion. Are not all men created equally? I wish I could see more people have the passion for their spouses that they have for celebrity, and certainly God in Christ over celebrity. So, my personal conclusion was that, my question was answered with a resounding YES! Idol worship is alive and well, and likely more prevelant than ever. May God forgive us.