Posts Tagged ‘Idol’

I’m going to point to two main things as the causes of unbelief. The first, in this post (more to come), is “false teaching”. Biblical passages to consider:
Matthew 7:15,16
2 Timothy 4:3,4
Acts 20:29-31
Matthew 15:9
2 Peter 2:1
2 Peter 3:16,17
Colossians 2:8
Hebrews 13:9

When I say unbelief, I’m not just talking about being an atheist or agnostic, but any number of the sects such as Jehovah’s Witnesses that either deny main-stream Christian doctrines or pervert them. Obviously this post isn’t about what sect is not “Christian”. In my opinion I’ve named an obvious one, but I’ll leave it to God to sort that out.

One of the worst kinds of false teaching going on out there is that of creating a false god and claiming him to be the real God. I consider a false god to be that of “cultural Christianity”, that of “Cheap Grace”. The true God is impossible to know, to stand before, to accept, to love…until you ‘choose God and step aside for the man He chose’, meaning letting Him work in and through you to bring out your true self, the self He created you to be.

Why would this create so much unbelief?

Because when people are faced with the world, with reality, and therefore with the true God, light from light uncreated, they fall apart. It doesn’t fit the idol that their pastor or family, or friends have set up in their minds. The idol is smashed in God’s dust. And so is their ‘faith’, which because it was born out of darkness was nothing but unbelief to begin with.

Some who have had faith are shocked when they encounter real pain or horrific evil in the world.
Did they not know God?
Some who have had faith were ashamed of their bodies, thinking that bodily pleasures are unholy.
Did they not know God?
Some who have had faith would secretly sin as if no one would know, but carried that guilt within them.
Did they not know God?

God in Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross! There is evil in the world…
God took on Human form; He laid hold of man and conquered the flesh on the cross! Your body is holy…
God knows all; God forgave you already. The battle is won, the victor is Christ on the cross!


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“Innumerable things, all things in a way, have the power of becoming holy in a mediate sense. They can point to something beyond themselves. But, if their holiness comes to be considered inherent, it becomes demonic. This happens continually in the actual life of most religions. The representations of man’s ultimate concern–holy objects–tend to become his ultimate concern. They are transformed into idols. Holiness provokes idolatry.” p. 216 Systematic Theology Volume 1

I can think of quite a few instances of this, can you? The idea that something good, the holy, could produce something demonic, the idol, is interesting. I think it fits the theme of Barth’s view of the Church too, in that the church, being a sign pointing to what is beyond the church, can become too involved in itself instead of God. Now, whether this applies to actual churches like Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox etc, or the actual body of Christ as Church, I’m not sure and I’d have to go back and re-read that part of the text.

Tillich goes on to talk about the original meaning of holiness and how it has been distorted over the centuries. I don’t remember if he actual gives a clear meaning of it as it originally was used however. So that’s something I’d like to find out…what did holiness mean thousands of years ago when written in the Hebrew bible?

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“Your idol is shattered in the dust to prove that God’s dust is greater than your idol.” -Rabindranath Tagore

I’m not going to get into the religious views of Tagore on this blog, but I will quote him a few times, as I think he is very quotable! I love this quote for its directness and simplicity. God’s dust, figuratively the least of his creation, is greater than an idol of man, something that man holds to be of ultimate concern. Money is an idol and always has been…so is “American Idol” these days LOL…but all our man-made idols are shattered not against God, but just the least of his creation. What imagery…the smallest thing God creates utterly ‘shatters’ the greatest things we can make in substitution of Him. This also shows that an idol does not even stand in direct opposition to God, for nothing compares to Him. It only can stand in opposition to His creation, and even at that it fails completely.

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