The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

The Christian Idol Industry

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

In Isaiah 44, we find God sharing His perspective of people who make idols. It isn’t very pretty.

All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. (Isa. 44:9)

After all, an idol is no different than a book or a desk: it is something people craft from the materials of the earth. It has all the power of…well, nothing.

Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing? People who do that will be put to shame; such craftsmen are only human beings. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and shame. (Isa. 44:10-11)

First God mocks the feebleness of idol makers—they are “only human beings.” Let’s face it, from the perspective of our almighty Creator, we are pathetically weak. And yet we insist on making toys to worship. God warns that those who do such things will be brought down to terror and shame. This is very strong language.

To underscore the ridiculousness of the whole idol making process, God now spells it out step by step. An idol can be made out of various materials. First He describes the metalworker:

The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint. (Isa. 44:12)

After emphasizing how the idol must be made by the strength of men, God mockingly underscores how quickly men tire. As soon as the blacksmith gets hungry, he loses his strength to work. If he gets too absorbed in what he’s doing and forgets to stay hydrated and he grows faint. And we’re supposed to believe this wimp is fashioning an all-powerful god?

Next God talks about the woodworker.

The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in human form, human form in all its glory, that it may dwell in a shrine.

He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. It is used as fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”

From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, “Save me! You are my god!” (Isa. 44:13-17)

Is there anything more ridiculous than this? A man worships the same stuff that he burns up in a fire. This is like you buying a box of candles to light your house in a blackout, then scratching a face into the wax of one candle and praying for it to save you. It’s utterly absurd, this idea of worshiping physical materials. Speaking about all idol makers, God says:

They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand. No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?” Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?” (Isa. 44:18-20)

When we reject the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, we become total idiots. We delude ourselves into thinking that something we have made with human hands can suddenly become greater than human. In the Bible God often uses the term “detestable” to describe idol worship. To detest something means to feel intense and often violent hatred towards it. This is how strongly God feels about idol worship. Anyone who makes idols for any reason is asking for His wrath to break out against them. What a terrifying thought. It’s a good thing we Christians are innocent in this area, right?

Since you’re already on the internet, try pulling up some online Christian bookstores. Check out what they have to offer in the area of saint and angel paraphernalia. Well, well, look at all those little statues, pins, pendants, and pocket charms. Check out the fancy metal work and intricate wood carvings. Do Christians make idols? We most certainly do. Now there’s nothing wrong with sculpting some character from the Bible, or even an angel, if we’re just playing around in the arts and trying to help bring characters to life. It isn’t idolatry to carve the faces of four American presidents into the side of Mt. Rushmore. A statue only becomes an idol when we start associating it with supernatural power. Angel pins and pendants of St. Christopher become gods when wearing them gives us a sense of protection against evil. Mary becomes an idol the moment we start praying to her and viewing her as someone who can intercede for us in the spiritual realms. Even Bibles and crosses become idols when we think we can use them as physical shields against demonic power. The horrifying truth is that idolatry is running rampant in the Christian Church today, and plenty of our brothers and sisters are shamelessly enticing us to put our faith in some ridiculous bit of material. Here are just a few examples that we found for sale in online Christian stores:

  • A pewter angel with outspread arms that could be clipped onto the visor of a car. Beneath its outspread wings, it says “Dad’s Guardian Angel”. The message is clear: clip this dumb piece of metal in your car and it will keep you safe. Right, because the Holy Spirit somehow loses power when He gets inside a vehicle.
  • Then we have the chubby little “Worry Angel” figurine. For a few bucks, you can buy this ceramic little goddess which comes with the following written instructions: “When you’re weighed down with worry, let the Worry Angel come to your aid. Give her your cares and concerns, and trust her to bear your burdens to heaven. You can let go and let God, knowing that His heart holds all your cares and He answers every prayer.” Notice how we are instructed to pray to the Worry Angel instead of God. Nice. And then our chubby little friend will act as a heavenly middleman to carry our prayers to God who will then answer them. What moronic advice! And these are supposed to be Christians?!
  • Next we have a female guardian angel figurine who wears a long dress that says “Guardian angels sent from above, keep you from harm wrap you in love”. Well how nice and…unbiblical. There are no female angels mentioned in the Bible, nor does it ever say that angels love us. There is also no basis on which we can argue that God has assigned each and every one of us a guardian angel. So this pretty little figurine is really just teaching us a bunch of rot which encourages us to take our eyes off of the Holy Spirit, and instead walk around with the false image of angelic beings embracing us. God Almighty is dwelling inside of us and He actually does love us, but that’s not good enough for us. We’d rather have dumb angels. What loyalty.
  • If we’re willing to pay a bit more, we can buy the sparkling glass guardian angel figurine who comes in a fancy silk box. Inside the lid of the box, we read these words: “Guardian Angel: She watches over you each day, with warm and loving care; This little angel guides your steps, she’s with you everywhere.” Notice the phrase “this little angel” which refers to the physical figurine. This is exactly the kind of thing God described in Isaiah. We look at some bit of glass and say “Guide my steps, little angel.” Who are we kidding?
  • It’s never too early to lead our children astray by teaching them to pray to beings other than God. For a few dollars we can buy a metal angel pendant that we can hang over our baby’s crib. It says “Guardian Angel, protect me as I sleep and play through the night and every day.” It comes in pink or blue. Talk about abusing the role of parent. And how ironic that the same seller offers a book about how to protect your child from spiritual deception. Way to make a profit coming and going.
  • As long as we’re bossing angels around, we might as well put them on pet patrol as well. One seller gives us the chance to buy a picture frame which has these words written next to our dog’s photo: “Your unconditional love and devotion leave paw prints on my heart. May angels protect you when we are apart.” Dogs don’t have unconditional love. If we abuse them, they turn hostile. Dogs don’t understand sentences, so to try and pour our hearts out to them is utterly ridiculous. As long as we are going to elevate the beasts of the earth so inappropriately, we might as well take our requests to angelic beings who will ignore us, because the Holy Spirit is certainly not going to smile on our perverse obsession with lower life forms.
  • If we get tired of worshiping angels, we can always deify the dead. For a very affordable price, we can buy a decorative frame in which we can insert the picture of our dead child. Around their picture the words “Heaven’s Young Angel” are inscribed. Then there’s a little prayer written beside it that starts, “Angel, why did you go?” Wonderful. So now we are merging humans with angels as if they are one and the same. We might as well call a dog a tree. Angels and humans are two separate and distinct creations that God has made. Humans aren’t shape-shifters. We don’t morph into angelic beings when we go to Heaven, nor do we become demons when we go to Hell. We are eternally human, and we need to stop kidding ourselves about the dead being able to hear us.
  • One vendor offers us a “Comfort Angel Pocket Token” with an angel drawn on one side and this prayer on the other: “Angel of Comfort: May you take comfort that loved ones rest with angels.” Wow. So this metal coin is supposed to be an angel? And no, our loved ones don’t “rest with angels”, they are quite active in Heaven with God. Then again, if they went through life putting their faith in pocket tokens instead of Jesus, they are now writhing in Hell. Too bad we don’t sell little pocket tokens with screaming faces on one side and “this is what happens when you pray to idols” written on the back. But somehow I don’t think we’d sell very many. In this world lies are always more profitable than truth, and our Christian brothers have learned to exploit this principle.
  • A whole variety of pewter medallions can be purchased that call upon various created beings to help us. “St. Michael, pray for us. St. Christopher, protect us.” Praying to more dead people and non-humans. Great.
  • Idols don’t always have to be associated with a living being. Christians get very into wielding the supernatural power of totally random things, like oil. One seller offers us a fancy jar of Frankincense and instructs us to use it for praying and anointing the skin. And just how does smelly oil help us pray? Does the Holy Spirit have trouble hearing us unless we first dunk ourselves in cologne? And do we really think we can get Him to throw special favor down on anyone we dab with our sacred oil? What idiots we are. Still, one can’t help but wonder how many cases of “HEALING Anointing Oil” this vendor has sold. They don’t bother to add any explanation of this second product—the all caps “HEALING” word on the box says it all.
  • Of course rosaries abound in Christian bookstores. One vendor gives us many decorative choices of chains with a crucifix on one end, and a haloed Mary on the other. After all, Mary is the fourth member of the Trinity, right?

These are just a few examples we’ve found to demonstrate how valid God’s fury with His Church is because of her rampant idolatry. What about you? Are you currently standing among the ranks of those who are making, promoting, selling, purchasing, or worshiping detestable things? If so, you need to make some immediate changes. Idolatry isn’t a game to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can purge all forms of idolatry out of your life, and start giving Him the reverence He deserves.

Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose Name is Jealous, is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14)

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