But the rest of the human race, who escaped death by these plagues, refused either to abandon their own handiwork or to stop worshipping devils, the idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood that can neither see nor hear nor move. Nor did they give up their murdering, or witchcraft, or fornication or stealing.
Issues come and go. Today commentators are quick to say that whatever the bible means by idolatry, it isn’t what Hindus of good conscience do as they practice their devotions, or what Eastern Orthodox folks as they pray before icons or Roman Catholics and their devotion to the saints — no none of that is idolatry.
And I want to agree. Of the few Hindus I’ve met they seem like fairly nice friendly folks. I’ve met even fewer Easter Orthodox, but I’ve met a fair number of Protestants with icons in their homes. I have a modern print handing on the wall intended to be a contemporary icon. As for Catholics with their cults of the saints, I have met quite a few Catholics, and while they have all been flawed human beings, they have not been any more flawed than the Protestants I’ve met. So I’m not altogether sure what all the fuss is about.
Past generations have not felt this way. Iconoclasm was a movement that in its extreme expressions went about smashing religious images in churches. The modern austerity of Quaker meetinghouses is the end product of that movement. We are wise to not altogether disown it — at least until we full appreciated it.
For me the idols of this world are corporate logos and national emblems. Golden Arches. Canadian Tire. Calvin Klein. The Gap. Exxon. It troubles me to see national flags displayed in church sanctuaries. This because these are representations of the powers and principalities that overrule us.
And yet. This attitude is a very liberal Christian kinda attitude. It too is socially constructed. I point my finger — power principalities idolatries — at all this stuff and conveniently turn a blind eye to what my own devotions to the powers that constrain my life. Where am I then?