February 26, 2020

The Editor speaks: Idols


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Colin Wilson

Do you worship an idol or more than one?

Of course not you will most likely say, but it all depends what you believe an idol is.

I was given a book to read authored by Timothy Keller titled “” and I have only just got past the “Introduction” pages but it certainly has me thinking.

The idols in the book aren’t just models of Gods as mentioned in the Bible. It starts off with a quote from Frederich Nieetzche from his book “Twilight of our Idols” – “There are more idols in the world than there are realities”.

Keller makes a distinction between ‘sorrow’ and ‘despair’. Sorrow is pain but you can find some way of getting through it. However, despair is inconsolable “because it comes from losing an ULTIMATE thing”. You have no “alternative source of meaning or hope”. Nowhere else to turn to and your spirit is broken.

Keller also lists all the Counterfeit Gods we worship today that can be summarised in just one sentence – “An idol is anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God.”

When I started writing this, early today, there was no Internet at my house. I was totally in a mess. What could I do now? I telephoned the Internet provider and got a recorded voice scolding me: “You have called outside our business hours which are 8:30am to 8:30pm Monday to Friday”! Sorry, I thought, but I did leave a message. It was just after 7:00am and I promised myself I would be the first one to speak to a live person at 8:30am.

Just before 8:30 the Internet came back. Hurrah!

Had I just walked into the trap and am I actually I worshiping my Internet? Is the Internet another of my idols? If my car had broken down, and I couldn’t get to the church service, would I have felt exactly the same way? Would I have called God and been so mortified that I couldn’t get to the worship service? If I had, I wouldn’t have had to leave a message. I would have been talking to God, Himself. There would have been no recorded message from Him telling me his business hours are…..!

Quotes from the book:

“The Bible uses three basic metaphors to talk about how people relate to the idols of their hearts: they love idols, trust idols, and obey idols.”

“Idols give us a sense of being in control and we can locate them by looking at our nightmares: What do we fear the most? What if we lost it would make life not worth living?” – I certainly felt a bit of that when I lost my Internet.

“An idol is something we cannot live without. We must have it. Therefore it drives us to break rules we once honored to harm others, even ourselves, in order to get it.

“Anything in life can serve as an idol, or a counterfeit god.”

“Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life.”

And finally:

“God should be our true spouse, but when we desire and delight in other things other than God, we commit spiritual adultery.”

The subtitle of the book is: “The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters”.

I can thoroughly recommend it, even from the little I have so far read.

You can purchase the book at: https://www.amazon.com/Counterfeit-Gods-Empty-Promises-Matters/dp/1594485496

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