Define Idolatry…

to connect it to the topic, that statue and those icons are reminders that “we’re in the matrix” to honor Doug and these are tools to access the absolute. does that make any sense?” (Luke)

Now you got me going – what is idolatry Luke and would you know in this generation if you legitmately saw it?

What you say are windows to the next world – I also say may be misrepresentations of the next – yet with an idol we are given some solidarity…and that’s all some people want – the mystery unveiled and removed.

The first commandment in the decalogue is quite simple – no idolatry:

You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. (Exodus 20:4)”

What does this actually prove? Well, for starters God has no image and no image we can find will make that any clearer. So avoid it – lest we also find the image becomes a ‘piece’ of our God (our definition of God is part and partial with figurine/painting/icon/etc) and unremoveable.

You also play down the role of superstition in this whole thing – as to what icons can and possibly help build up. Superstition is directly related to iconagraphy in religion – and superstition is a sort of ‘control’ over God (if we do this around this icon we can make God do said thing).

I have seen a plethora of times in Greece and in general in the West. That type of thinking comes from iconagraphy and if you refuse to believe that – watch people when they do some of this superstitious stuff they do to religious icons – it’s actually quite revealing. Sometimes they feel as if they don’t do it – God might be ‘mad’ or they won’t be ‘blessed’. As if this crossing of the chest or certain amount of the same prayer will do that.

Top that of, here is God’s name:

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.‘” (Exodus 3:14)

There is no name given. Moses, maybe thinking he could get the name, gets none. God just is.

Yet Christianity taps on the end of prayer’s ‘in Jesus’ name’ as if it were some magical formula for the rest of the prayer. Jesus doesn’t even give God a name – but only a placement – Our Father.

So we have no name and no image. Then comes along human ingenuity to fill in both so as to make ourselves more comfortable and assured. We seek to remove the mystery, not for God’s sake, but for our own.

But what can I say – this is the inevitable outcome when we place a human as God. Thus your gma’s game with the icon…you call it a reminder – I call it shaping and adding a form to God – complete with a name and everything. Now maybe she doesn’t worship that statue (I agree) – but she needs that for some reason…you say as a reminder – of what exactly? That God cannot be seen or imaged or has no Name (just IS)? How the hell can a reminder be built from that is the real question? (Sorry if this seems harsh – your gma is likely a wonderful lady).

But we are dealing with something that is a non-issue to the majority of the Christian world – and they don’t really take that 1st commandment serious anyways. I mean how can they – their God has a name, a place of birth, a death, and iconagraphy out the wazoo. So concern for the 1st commandment is a non-consideration in Christian circles…yet I think the slip into idolatry is quite present.

Now don’t get me wrong – we want pictures (or art) about our spiritual experiences as things to think about it is just A OK – but I get skeptical when those become images for God that people cannot let go of for fear of losing their own spiritual connection. Then we cross paths with idolatry.

***Comment taken from Luke’s ‘Absolute Truth’ Blog

Advertisements

25 thoughts on “Define Idolatry…

  1. Idol worship…………If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…………its a duck…

    You shall have no other gods before me.

    “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them,

    Quack….Jesus…….Quack……Cross.

    I just wish people who love Jesus and what he could represent would just leave the Jewish books out of it and just follow the NT. It would at least save them some controversy.

  2. “I just wish people who love Jesus and what he could represent would just leave the Jewish books out of it and just follow the NT. It would at least save them some controversy” (John)

    It’s one way to approach the problem with not following the very first commandment – however there is another way. Perhaps Jesus was a messiah candidate from Judaism – a rabbinic of sorts. This would make him both human and authoritative – a teacher for the disciples that want to follow him. Tough sell though hey?

  3. My question to Christians (which includes me) is…

    is the Trinity breaking commandment #1? It is at this point where we come into our first contention with commandment #1 in the decalogue. Then when we develop all these idols of saints and Jesus – are we again stomping on commandment #1 in the decalogue?

    The commandment exists for common sense when one when sits and ponders the idea within it…God has no image…there is only 1…and no one has seen Him…no one knows His name…so don’t get over-zealous on what you think you know…be humble.

  4. I seen Np’s cartoon which I found very ironic – even commented on it – ironic that we all hit the same subject on the same day basically.

  5. Anything that you put your focus on that overides your focus on God.

    That which you invest the greatest amount of your time and energey and life,

    All those things can become idols…if only for a little while.

  6. “Anything that you put your focus on that overides your focus on God. That which you invest the greatest amount of your time and energey and life, All those things can become idols…if only for a little while.” (Steve)

    I deny this definition of idolatry because it doesn’t meet the actual definition of the word itself – ‘idol’ being one of the root pieces used in the word. Idols in general have to be things created by humans to represent God – an actual physical object this is worshipped or represents God…like is used in the Tanakh.

    Making the definition that broad (anything and everything) actually makes the definition too broad rendering the term and meaning of idolatry as useless. At some point idolatry and greed would become the same thing – or idolatry and sexual lust would be the same definition according to your ‘broad’ use of idolatry…and to me it’s clear these are different things…no biblical writer would even contend that one.

    Paul for example gives different definitions to various things – compartmentalizing what sin is what.

    “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:19-21)

    According to your use of ‘idolatry’ – “That which you invest the greatest amount of your time and energey and life’ – can be any of those different sins Paul points out. However, Paul is very clear that idolatry and all of these various sins are different – and not all under idolatry – idolatry is its own unique category.

    However, if we go with your definition (which I also heard in churches) – something like having a sexual addiction problem would be considered ‘idolatry of women’ – yet it isn’t idolatry to Paul – he uses a distinct category like ‘sensuality’. It seems to Paul (and every other writer) idolatry is something more specific.

  7. Jason,

    OK. We disagree.

    But I still believe sex addiction is idolatry. We have created (if only in our mind and our libido)something that takes priority over the Living God and we throw ourselves into it without caring about how disobedient to God we have become.

  8. I just wish people who love Jesus and what he could represent would just leave the Jewish books out of it and just follow the NT. It would at least save them some controversy.” (TitforTat)

    Luther said that there are really only two options in this world: The Gospel, or Idolatry.

    He also said that idolatry is at the root of all sin. It’s elevating something/someone else into the position of glory that only God deserves. The only way to worship God correctly is to worship Him in the way that He has revealed Himself to us: Jesus.

    The Gospel is that God became a man, & entered into human history in order to redeem us. He lived the perfect life that we could not live, but then He died the death that we deserved. But, the craziest part is that he credited His perfect life to our account, despite our own inability to perfectly carry out His moral law.

    All of the scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, are about Jesus. He is the Star of the bible. Jesus came to fulfill what the law could not. God even said that He was not satisfied with the law, nor the yearly sacrifices. It was all leading up to, and about Him.

    25He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ[b] have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27)

    See? Jesus was saying “ALL of the torah is actually about Me.”

    Jesus claimed to be the only way to get to God, but which God?
    This would be the God of the O.T., the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
    This is the one, true God – the Transcendent One who has always existed in eternity past.

    If you are reading the bible, and you miss Christ, you have missed the point. God is about redeeming all of creation through the Jews.

    “How Jewish was Jesus?” (societyvs)

    As Jewish as anyone else in Jewish society 2000 yrs ago. Completely, 100% Jewish – there is no question. God looks down and sees an equal playing field. We’re all the same – totally depraved, wicked to the core, and in need of a Savior.

    The writer to the Hebrews called Jesus “the lamb that was slain before the foundations of the world”.

    This idea blows my mind.

    Still, it says to me that God wasn’t surprised by “the Fall” (Gen 3). He knew that we would need a Savior, so He already had a rescue mission (the Gospel: becoming a man, entering into the human race, living a perfect life, and then dying the sinner’s death on our behalf) in place, before he even created our planet.

    This changes everything. Where do my “good works” fit in, then?

    They are merely in response to this wonderful rescue mission. For Christians, they come from a place of grateful joy. Despite this, there are many who call themselves “christians”, but who do not have any grateful joy in there hearts. Instead, their obedience is IDOLATRY. Instead of God getting all the glory, they obey in order to get God to owe them. They figure, “If I obey, then God has to give me a good life, He must answer my prayers, bless me, etc.”. This “moralism” is just another way to be lost.

    But, why doesn’t this please God? Because, they are rejecting what God has already done for them. What’s worse, they are trying to take the credit for it. This is what Tim Keller calls the Self-Salvation Project. After all, if strict adherence to the law was all God was after, then we become our own savior. By obeying, we save ourselves.

    Likewise, religion will always lead to two options: inflation (religious pride because you succeeded at saving yourself), or devastation (disappointment because you were crushed by impossible expectations). The bible says repeatedly that no on actually can keep the law. The point of the law wasn’t for us to keep it, but to show us how evil/sinful we are. It was to show us that we need a Savior, and that we’re not it.

    It was to point us to Jesus.

  9. I don’t have time to get through all the comments so forgive me if I am repeating something. I think the worst and most prevalent form of idolatry in Christianity is what we do with the bible. I think people actually worship the bible and place it ahead of God on the priority list. And that ends up creating a whole bunch of hell if you ask me. I feel I am in the process of ridding myself of that to some extent.

  10. “I think the worst and most prevalent form of idolatry in Christianity is what we do with the bible” (Doug)

    This one has me thinking – the bible is not the idol on this situation…human interpretation can become the representation of God (ie: speaking on behalf of God – or having God figured out)…but I am not sure that is idolatry (no idol involved) as much as it is blasphemous.

  11. “But I still believe sex addiction is idolatry. We have created (if only in our mind and our libido)something that takes priority over the Living God and we throw ourselves into it without caring about how disobedient to God we have become.” (Steve)

    But it’s not – since no writer would make that definitive statement – not in the Tannakh or the NT. Why didn’t Jesus just say it all was idolatry in his thing in Matthew about the lusts of the mind…then thinking would be idolatry. But it’s not.

    Your definition about sexual addiction “something that takes priority over the Living God” is basically a great definition for outlining the terms of ‘sin’. We break the teachings of God and respect for our neighbor (and ourselves) when we pursue sexual addictions that can end in extremely evil ways.

    That’s not idolatry though – nothing in the sexual addiction is actually about the worship of an ‘idol’ that represents God – humans are not idols (maybe they can be – I am 50/50 on that one).

    If we go that broad – than everything you do that is a ‘sin’ is idolatry. Which begs the obvious – why didn’t Moses just stop the decalogue at the 1st commandment (idolatry)…wouldn;t that have been enuff said?

  12. That’s pretty much the point St. Paul makes when he says that if you’ve broken any one of them, it is if you have broken them all.

    In reality, no one really ever gets past the 1st Commandment.

  13. “Luther said that there are really only two options in this world: The Gospel, or Idolatry” (Jason)

    And Luther is right because of…? IMO his definition of idolatry is unstudied and reminds me of something kids in middle school would use. If all is gospel and the rest is idolatry – then what of the Jewish people? Read his pamphlet on the the subject – very enlightening his views they are (called ‘the Jews and their lies’).

    “He also said that idolatry is at the root of all sin. It’s elevating something/someone else into the position of glory that only God deserves. The only way to worship God correctly is to worship Him in the way that He has revealed Himself to us: Jesus” (Jason)

    Well Luther – depending on what he believes about Jesus – just may be an idolater himself. See Idolatry also has another part to that idea ‘you shall have no other gods before/beside me’ (Ex 20). Isn’t the elevation of Jesus from messiah to equality with God breaking the commandment numero uno? Jesus is given wayyyyy more consideration than the Father in all Christian circles. Some won’t make the separation of the 2 – I will – it’s very apparent they are not the same ‘person’. I call that ‘idolatry’…if we wanna be sticklers for the facts that is.

    “But, the craziest part is that he credited His perfect life to our account, despite our own inability to perfectly carry out His moral law.” (Jason)

    That is the craziest part – because it means despite anything we do – Jesus did it all first and make our points ‘moot’. It makes us not responsible for the consequences of our actions – since justice has been usurped by this act on the cross (Jesus bore our penalty). It also very crazy to believe you can be accredited ‘righteous’ for the actions of another and their righteous actions (I call this vicarious righteousness). Not only are you saying we escape consequence for our actions – we get rewarded for it? Now that is a system worthy of an acting award!

    “All of the scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, are about Jesus. He is the Star of the bible. Jesus came to fulfill what the law could not. God even said that He was not satisfied with the law, nor the yearly sacrifices. It was all leading up to, and about Him” (Jason)

    Fulfill the law? You cannot fulfill the law – there is nothing to fulfill. Now prophecy – that can be fulfilled – but law – well that can be obliged. What exactly is fulfilling the law anyways…doing it…this is nothing abnormal in Jewish society (nor ours). Just like how you cannot fulfill the US constitution (but obey it for the benefit of all society) Jesus can fulfill the law…it cannot be done.

    Also what is so bad about the law? Think about your life – you follow the law (of the USA or county or city you live in). The law is there to protect society and allow for the best ethics for the safety of each person in our society. Jewish law basically functioned the same way – this is why Jesus followed it – for the betterment of the community.

    “God looks down and sees an equal playing field. We’re all the same – totally depraved, wicked to the core, and in need of a Savior” (Jason)

    Is this what you think Jesus taught – the man you claim is 100% Jewish? Because all 3 of the things you mention about humanity he likely would not have believed – it’s not nor ever has been Jewish theology.

    “He knew that we would need a Savior, so He already had a rescue mission (the Gospel: becoming a man, entering into the human race, living a perfect life, and then dying the sinner’s death on our behalf) in place, before he even created our planet.” (Jason)

    Again – none of this is actually Jewish theology – now or back then. The savior ideal would not have been how we use it (nor the messianic one) – Jesus would not have believed a man could become God – nor in human sacrifice to please this God. The things which are traditional Christian messages are abnormal to Jewish ears. Which means – they are not from a Jewish train of thought – since they cannot be traced back in any way, shape, or form. Those ideas would have been normal in Hellenistic thought (Greco/Roman/Egyptian).

    What you have is an inventive theory that looks back and finds proofs where and when it can to make it true. You see a ‘rescue mission’ because Adam sinned. Jewish faith does not hold to such an idea and likely never will – because Adam is likely not literal (Adam is us – it’s a story).God becoming man is beyond comprehension in Judaism – it breaks the number one commandment (which God set in stone on Sinai)…so we have God breaking His own words basically. And human sacrifice is a ‘no-no’ also.

    You have Jesus being ‘perfect’ to the Law/Torah – do you even know the Torah and some of the restrictions and laws? You have Jesus breaking at least a handful.

    “After all, if strict adherence to the law was all God was after, then we become our own savior. By obeying, we save ourselves.” (Jason)

    Well Keller needs to do some further study then. How can one take credit for something they did not write? There is no ‘saving ourselves’ if we proclaim to follow the ‘words of God’…none. We forfeit that claim once we admit to ‘following the teachings of God’…this is no longer ‘us’ anymore (we did not write that). True self-salvation (if there even is such a thing) would be using nothing at all except our own imaginations and rejecting everything and anything we thought had to do with Gods ‘leading’ – including the words of God – so we can ‘say we did on our own’. But even then, we are created in God’s image – maybe this is what God also wants?

    “The point of the law wasn’t for us to keep it, but to show us how evil/sinful we are” (Jason)

    Oh brother – law will do that I guess. Law will also save you from serious crazies in your neighborhood who need to be locked away. You don’t understand this – but everyday you are likely thankful for that law (of America) and that it works – bad people are behind bars. It does show us some people are evil and that we can sin – it proves this in some ways (we need direction and guidance). What makes no sense is what happens to the law when grace comes? We no longer need teachings anymore – or guidance? Does the spirit follow the Law?

  14. “That’s pretty much the point St. Paul makes when he says that if you’ve broken any one of them, it is if you have broken them all.
    In reality, no one really ever gets past the 1st Commandment” (Steve)

    And that my friends is how you ‘cop-out’ from following ‘anything’ and admit to being ‘amoral’. Prove to me this is what Paul was saying so I can actually and sincerely agree with you about Paul’s writings…cause I don’t believe Paul would support your position on this one.

  15. The Law is still in place (even after grace comes).

    We are free from God’s condemnation of the law…in the next life.

    But we still have to pay the price in the here and now…in many ways.

  16. “The Law is still in place (even after grace comes). We are free from God’s condemnation of the law…in the next life. But we still have to pay the price in the here and now…in many ways.” (Steve)

    So basically we all have to still follow the law – regardless of grace – because grace without limits is also not very ‘gracious’.

  17. This one has me thinking – the bible is not the idol on this situation…human interpretation can become the representation of God (ie: speaking on behalf of God – or having God figured out)…but I am not sure that is idolatry (no idol involved) as much as it is blasphemous. (Societyvs)

    Dude, you are right that it is human interpretation that has become idolatry. What is the idol, you are wondering?

    It seems to be our desire to control others. Again, this isn’t a reason to gang up on “christianity”, as it is a reason to talk about the wickedness of the human heart.

    Human selfishness is what is wrong with the world. It shows it’s ugly head in every single institution on earth. Our only hope, according to what God has revealed in the bible, is the Gospel. It turns everything upside down! “The last will be first, and the first will be last”. “The least among you will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Over & over, Jesus turns the tables, so to speak, showing us that we’ve got it all wrong, and we cannot fix it by ourself.

    Humans can do a lot of great things, but the one thing that we cannot do is produce genuine heart-change. This is why we all need to Gospel to transform the way we view life, the way we love our neighbors, the way we do life together.

  18. ALL sin is the sin of idolatry. The bible is clear about this.

    (ROMANS 1:18-32)
    18 For k the wrath of God l is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be m known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, n have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they o became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 p Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and q exchanged the glory of r the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    24 Therefore s God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to t the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for u a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, v who is blessed forever! Amen.

    26 For this reason w God gave them up to x dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, y men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, z God gave them up to a a debased mind to do b what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know c God’s decree that those who practice such things d deserve to die, they not only do them but e give approval to those who practice them.

    Did miss it? See verse 25: “they worshiped creatED things, rather than CreatOR”.

    It’s the biblical definition of paganism. But, we do this all the time. Idolatry is all the times we have tried to save ourselves. THink about it: if we’re not worshipping CORRECTLY, then we are worshipping INCORRECTLY, which is idolatry. The only way to obey the first commandment found in the Gospel. DO you remember what Jesus said? He said that if you love God and love your neighbor, you won’t break the rest of them. The only way that we can do this is if we allow Him to expand our capacity to love, since our moral efforts cannot please him apart from a changed heart.

  19. Still thinking that sexual immorality is “not idolatry”?

    See Col 3:5

    5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

    ‘Nuff said? Or, are you just going to refuse to learn anything new…?

  20. “THink about it: if we’re not worshipping CORRECTLY, then we are worshipping INCORRECTLY, which is idolatry” (Jason)

    Time for a history lesson – on the term idolatry – straight form the biblical texts themselves.

    Leviticus 19:4 “’Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the LORD your God.”

    Leviticus 26:1 “’You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God.”

    Deuteronomy 29:17 “moreover, you have seen their abominations and their idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which they had with them;”

    1 Chronicles 16:26 “For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens.” (in reference to physical idol worship in comparison to the real God)

    Psalm 115:4 “Their idols are silver and gold, The work of man’s hands” (and Psalm 135:15)

    Isaiah 2:20 “In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats; Their idols of silver and their idols of gold, Which they made for themselves to worship” (also Isaiah 31:7)

    Jeremiah 10:14 “Every man is stupid, devoid of knowledge; Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols; For his molten images are deceitful, And there is no breath in them.” (also Jeremiah 51:17)

    Hosea 13:2 “And now they sin more and more, And make for themselves molten images, Idols skillfully made from their silver, All of them the work of craftsmen They say of them, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!”

    111 passages on ‘idols’ (which is the key word to define in idolatry) within the OT (Tanakh) and it is quite clear what an ‘idol’ is meant by scripturally. Of the 111 passages – 109 of them refer to idols being made into God…actual statutes or molten images. The other 2 times happens in Ezekiel – which refers to the ‘idols of one’s heart’…and he is still referring to the worship of actual idols like Baal. But even with the 2 passages (.018%) – 2% cannot be seen as great evidence so as to over-rule 98% of the passages…can it?

    It’s really straight forward in the texts – I need to do very little to explain what is meant from Torah to Writings to Prophets (they are all agreeance). So if I choose to worship something ‘as God’ (as in an actual physical statue, image, or molding) in replacement of God – this is idolatry. To forget ‘idol’ is the key word in defining the meaning of idolatry is beyond imagination – it’s making a word say more than even it imagines to say.

    “Idolatry is usually defined as worship of any cult image, idea, or object, as opposed to the worship of a monotheistic God.” (Wikipedia definition)

    What more can really be said?

  21. I agree with Jason.

    When you disobey God it is because you have a better idea and you make yourself into god by replacing what He wants, with what you want.

    You thereby are guilty of idolatry.

    Sinning is an act of idolatry.

  22. “Still thinking that sexual immorality is “not idolatry”? See Col 3:5 – Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.‘Nuff said? Or, are you just going to refuse to learn anything new…?” (Jason)

    I take up this challenge – easily.

    Colossians 3:5 “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.”

    This can likely be summed up easily by some of Paul’s other passages on this exact thing – idolatry…he is getting to a point on this.

    1 Corinthians 6:9 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals…”

    Idolaters and sexual sin – according to Paul – not the same sin in this letter.

    Ephesians 5:5 “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God”

    This is really where Paul shines on this subject. Paul puts impurity (likely sexual) and greed in the same category with someone that ‘practices’ idolatry. This is basically the same point as Colossians 3:5 where Paul shortens this bit.

    But this isn’t hard to figure out if one knows anything about the ancient cults and god worship of the Hellenistic era (ie: Greek and Roman Empires).

    Sex was practiced as part of some rituals in some of these ancient cults – to the worship of a God. That explains the sex part (why that is linked to idolatry). The greed part is also linked – there was money to be made in the idol’s business and within these worship houses…in the way of charity of a sort. It is a known fact Romans were insulted Christians because they stopped giving (money) to the idols of the Roman Gods – even may have helped push off some persecution they faced under certain Emperors.

    Paul is really only linking what these people already know in these letters – that sexual impurity and greed gained from idol worship is in fact condemned/taboo. Sexual sin is not idolatry – neither is greed – they are there own separate categories (definitively) of different sins than idolatry. However, in the Hellenistic era those 3 sins (and a few more) actually can be seen linked because of certain god worship events…shocking to us – but realistic as apple pie to these letter readers.

    So I am up for learning something new – just your definition of idolatry is lacking. To think anything and everything you do not do for God is idolatry is just a blatant mis-reading of what is written and over-rides what idolatry really means. Making it a broad category making everything idolatry is just a mis-calculation on a word that is quite easy to breakdown and pretty much can be defined solely in the Torah – nevermind the prophets afterwards or a dictionary.

  23. “When you disobey God it is because you have a better idea and you make yourself into god by replacing what He wants, with what you want. You thereby are guilty of idolatry. Sinning is an act of idolatry” (Steve)

    (a) None of the passages on idolatry (including the whole of the Tanakh – 111 passages) – say anything about ‘you’ replacing God in terms of idolatry. Not one. I will concede by the time of Paul and Emperor worship (seeing Ceasar as a son of god) that this idea of a man being god was possibly an interpretation of ‘idolatry’ – but even this is hardly used like that in the NT.

    (b) Sinning is not an act of idolatry – by mere definition of the word sin. Sin is a noun – which can replace a specific action that is deemed immoral – like adultery…see this definition: “Sin is a term used mainly in a religious context to describe an act that violates a moral rule, or the state of having committed such a violation” (Wikipedia)

    In essence one cannot ‘sin’ as a ‘sin’ per se…since ‘sin’ has no real meaning but is a replacement word for ‘the violation of a moral rule’ (something specific – in this case – idolatry). But idolatry can be a ‘sin’.

    I contend, with quite the scriptural and definitive backing, that idolatry is itself a distinct category of ‘sin’ (like murder, adultery, lying, etc). Why you and Jason need it to mean ‘everything’ is really quite beyond me…even the explanations are vague.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s