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What do you bow down to?
One of the problems
most modern individuals have in addressing the concept of Idolatry is that American Idol only bares slight symbolic similitude to the ancient practice of Idol worship. When we watch young people stand up and often make fools of themselves by singing off key, we don't see idols. When we look at the artists performing, no matter what the show is called, it is entertainment, pure and simple.
When the singers make the mistake of becoming too proud to objectively analyze their performance and fail to practice to improve their gift before each show their similitude to the implacable idols of say Egypt is laughable. Honestly they behave like the all too mortal Emperors of our human past by thinking they have arrived and all the world has to do is feel it, but we aren't really looking at them as people claiming to be Gods worthy of sacrifice unless you are talking about record sales. We don't have in our minds eye the concept of a large statue made of the best materials available at the time with an altar at its feet and a priest declaring the sanctity of the worship going on. We don't visualize the blood flowing down a dais as prayers are offered to the idol in human blood with the promise of success in war or the fertility of the land in growing season.
For thousands of years Idol worship was a means that nonscientific societies used to explain and try to control a world that was often chaotic at best. Just about every figure of mythology has at one time or other been the subject of Idol worship. In some communities it was their ancestors who were the ones being worshiped and only token resemblance of this practice can be seen in countries such as Mexico on El Dia de Los Muertos, when a party is usually held in the local cemetery and food is left for the Dead.
Many places in Asia still honor their ancestors even if the atheism of Communism has done much to try to abolish actual temples being reared in honor of the dead as used to be the custom. Sacrifices in such cases usually amounted to the storing of relics and the burning of incense. I am sure there were some blood rights but usually it was the blood of an enemy that was shed not one's own family.
One of the largest idols ever erected can still be seen from space in China. In a very real way, the moorings and core of the Great Wall of China includes the bodies of the dead who expired in the process of erecting that Great edifice. In all reality the person being worshiped there was the Emperor of China who was at that time considered King and God to the people.
If we want to consider this concept of Idol worship in our lives perhaps we should consider the things in our lives that we venerate as important enough to sacrifice portions of our lives and means to obtain and maintain. Perhaps we should consider the ideals that we sacrifice our children to in order to further the ideal we hold dear.
Unless you go to the tax collecting offices of the world or any of their branch offices you won't see anyone these days demanding sacrifice for the betterment of the idea that government will make you safer and more secure in life. You won't find obvious signs of Idol worship but they are still there. The only difference really between Idol worship and true religion are the obvious benefits and freedom that true religion yields to the honest in heart.