Idolatry. In our time

Discussion in 'Speculative Reasoning' started by פNIʞƎƎS, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. tango

    tango ... and you shall live ... Staff Member

    Much truth here, but on the other hand it raises the issue of just what it means to worship.

    Since we don't put a football team on a literal altar in a literal temple and literally kneel before them there is arguably a case that we are not worshiping them. But if we have put them on a pedestal in our lives such that they are the most important thing to us, or that they come before God in our lives, is there really any difference in what is in our hearts?

    It's clearly absurd to say that someone who skips church one Sunday to watch their team play is putting them above God (although I'm sure some would make that claim). But if someone can find the money to pay for a season ticket, if they can find the time to attend endless football games, if they can find the mental inclination to know the players and their styles, the team statistics etc, and yet at the same time they can't find the money to contribute to the needy or to the church, they can't find the time to follow the calling of Christ and they can't find the mental inclination to spend time in prayer and reading the Bible, one might question their priorities.

    From there it is arguably academic whether the specific word "idolatry" is used, and even if something isn't literally placed into a full-blown religious structure (some would say football is practically a religion to some but perhaps that's a rabbit trail) it can still take the place that should be reserved for God.

    On your last paragraph I'd just suggest that Antichrist is not necessarily some political leader. The false Christ proclaimed by a false religion could conceivably also be a political leader.
  2. ProDeo

    ProDeo What a day for a day dream

    Idols - everything that doesn't look as an obvious sin at first glance but (eventually) becomes more important than Christ.

    Not sure if the above covers all but I think it's the essence.

    In theory even something like playing Gospel music in a band -- what's more Christian than that preaching the Gospel? -- can become an idol because one could love the attention and perhaps even money that may come with it more than Christ.
  3. DaniH

    DaniH You're probably fine.

    An idol will always have its own religious structure built around itself along with its priests and prophets.

    Antichrist is normally used to describe not a specific person, but rather a class or group of people who proclaim a false messiah. The word "anti" does not only mean "against", but also "in place of". John stated that "many" antichrists and "many" deceivers had appeared even during those early days already, and have continued to throughout the centuries also. He stated "they went out from us but did not really belong to us", which means they were spawned within the Church structure, being a bunch of impostors, preaching a false "gospel", proclaiming a false Christ.

    Back then Israel was having to deal with all sorts of people claiming to be the Jewish Messiah. Josephus mentions many of them in his writings. After a time within Christianity, we know they were dealing with not only people seeking to convert early believers to their empty form of "Judaism", but also Gnosticism and Mysticism and all those other things that had already been present in other religious structures, that put on a "Christian" hat and proliferated themselves within the Church.

    Antichrist can be very difficult to identify because it adapts and morphs. It's a spirit using false prophets as its mouthpiece. "Every spirit that confesses Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now is already in the world." (1 John 4:2&3). "Spirit" here referring to the human spirit (pneuma) as "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (1 Cor 14:32), i.e. proclamations being made with our breath and carried by our words.

    Antichrist is actually testable, knowable, and confrontable -- if one cares to do so. Test people's words, look for people's fruit, see what spirit someone is of before you receive their message as truth. Be discerning and scrutinize and poke and prod and etc.

    One does not need to step outside church buildings or "Christian" things to confront antichrist. We know from Scripture that the thing operates within the Church, looking to trip people up and draw them away from the Lord, or prevent them from connecting with Him to begin with. We can see this in our own environment when we find all these things calling themselves "Christian" ... then you go in search of Jesus in those things, and come up empty in the end. :(

    Although it's always a good time to bring along some popcorn and read some Church history or present-day writings that play the game of "pin the tail on the Antichrist". ;D

    "U da Antichrist." "No, U." "No, really, U."
    "U da Heretic." "No, U." "No, really, U."

    and etc. 8)

    [quote author=tango]On your last paragraph I'd just suggest that Antichrist is not necessarily some political leader. The false Christ proclaimed by a false religion could conceivably also be a political leader.[/quote]
    Certainly. That's why the Popes have always been such easy targets, because they were often political leaders while also being spiritual leaders within the church structure.
  4. teddyv

    teddyv The horse is in the barn. Staff Member

    Consumerism certainly has elements of all this...
  5. tango

    tango ... and you shall live ... Staff Member

    I'm not sure this is necessarily true, but even taking it as truth it doesn't rule out many of the things sometimes described as idols.

    If we look at major sports we see what is arguably a religious structure built around it. There are the temples to the sport (usually called stadiums but the obsessed seem to regard them in the same way some might regard temples) and the religious leaders (high profile players, managers, commentators etc).

    Around major holidays (Christmas, Black Friday etc) people flock to the temples of Mammon to make sure they have the latest must-have item, revering the products that come from their chosen manufacturers. The temples might be malls or superstores, the high priests might be the tech companies CEOs or the commentators who tell us why we need the latest shiny doodad.

    That's just silly, we all know George Bush was the Antichrist. Then it was Barack Obama. Now it's Hillary Clinton, except when it's Donald Trump. Or maybe Vladimir Putin. Perhaps there's a special Antichrist hat that world leaders and would-be world leaders fight over, or maybe take turns to wear.

    Seriously, I agree with this paragraph. The spirit of Antichrist doesn't require that there be an individual clearly identifiable as "The Antichrist", merely that the spirit of antichrist is behind a widespread effort to draw people away from the true Christ. Which really is no great surprise, given the Bible makes more than passing mention of the devil who seeks to destroy us by whatever means it takes and how it makes far more sense to get a few undercover agents into the church where they can offer lots of truth to cover the lie until the trap is sprung, than to stand outside dressed in a red suit with horns and pitchfork saying "hey, try this instead".

    [quote author=tango]On your last paragraph I'd just suggest that Antichrist is not necessarily some political leader. The false Christ proclaimed by a false religion could conceivably also be a political leader.[/quote]
    Certainly. That's why the Popes have always been such easy targets, because they were often political leaders while also being spiritual leaders within the church structure.[/quote]

  6. פNIʞƎƎS

    פNIʞƎƎS Connoisseur of Memes Staff Member

    Thank you for your input.
    Just curious, is this just your personal opinion? Or are you basing it off scripture?
  7. פNIʞƎƎS

    פNIʞƎƎS Connoisseur of Memes Staff Member

    Thank you Dani, Tango and Teddy for your input. Some really good and helpful info you've all provided.
  8. TrustGzus

    TrustGzus Don't make me hangry Staff Member

    Seeking, I have nothing special to add. I think Tango summed it up well in post 11.

    Pastors have a lot of pastorisms. The "let me look at your checkbook" is a great example. It's Bologna IMO. If we look at any of our checkbooks, we'd conclude we all worship the government or our houses because taxes and housing and house maintenance take up the most money.

    In 2016, beside my mortgage, i spent an extra $20,000 for a new roof and new A/C and furnace. I didn't give anything close to that to church. I gave a lot to church. But not $20,000 plus taxes and mortgage (so over $30,000 on my house this year).

    Then after my house, between income tax, real estate tax sales tax and whatever other taxes are out there, the government is probably my second idol by that standard.

    Doctors are probably my third idol.

    Feeding a family of 5 and a dog and 2 cats, food is probably idol #4.

    It's a tithing ploy. And tithing doesn't even apply to the church. There is absolutely no way to correctly handle the Word of God and mandate tithing on the New Testament saint.

    Makes me wonder what idols those pastors have.
  9. DaniH

    DaniH You're probably fine.

    It's easier to convince people to pay a "mandatory" 10% from every paycheck (from your gross income, please, because else you're "robbing God") than allow them to give freely whenever they choose and actually trust God to cover all necessities.

    I had a debate with a current-day church tither just last week about how the tithe was actually a tax. He was in complete disagreement even though he did agree that it was "mandatory" and "commanded." Last I checked that's the definition of taxes. Which God Himself enforced directly via cursing lives so ... that's a lot more pro than the IRS even, IMO.

    Mandatory "giving" of 10% from your gross income with every paycheck means you're paying a church tax, plain and simple.
  10. devilslayer365

    devilslayer365 Wazzup?!

    I agree. From what I've researched, Christians are not under a 10% tithe. Sure, it takes money to run a church. I get that. However, we are to give freely and not under pressure from a guilt trip that we're "robbing God" if we don't pay a minimum 10% "tithe."
  11. tango

    tango ... and you shall live ... Staff Member

    In fairness I think the "let me see your checkbook" is the sort of thing that needs to be given a little context to remain relevant.

    In your case you spent $20,000 on a new roof, A/C and furnace. Presumably you didn't look at your house through the eyes of intense vanity, figure your neighbor had just put a new roof on his house and that in order to keep up with him you had to have a new roof that was Bigger And Better than his new roof, and maybe get the gold-edged one just to make a point. Presumably your new furnace was something you bought out of a desire to keep your family warm during the winter rather than to prove to your neighbors that you had enough spare cash to have a new roof AND a new furnace. Likewise if you have medical bills to pay it's silly to argue that the doctor is your idol simply because you handed over more money to the doctor than to the church.

    On the flip side if you decline to support the church financially because you can't afford to but can afford $3,000 for season tickets to see your preferred sports team, drop a good wedge of cash every month on eating out and generally pampering yourself, if you don't attend church because it's too early in the morning but can stand in line all night to get a good deal on a new TV on Black Friday, then one might ask whether these things are becoming idols in your life.

    Ultimately it's still not the pastor's business what your checkbook looks like. If you take things to extreme levels, like if you step over the bodies of starving children to buy more vintage Dom Perignon that you use to wash your Ferrari, then it wouldn't be unreasonable for your pastor to ask if your priorities were in order but even then it's between you and God. I don't know that I'd want to give account before God of why I could afford to wash my supercar in champagne but couldn't afford to help those in desperate need but to each their own.

    Tithing is arguably something of a rabbit trail but tithing in this day and age seems to do the exact opposite of what it did when it was first set up. It hurts the poor, gives the rich a free pass, and creates a sense of entitlement in pastors of large churches in particular. If you're making $20,000 it's a big deal to hand over $2,000 of that but if you're making $20,000,000 the chances are you can easily afford to give $2,000,000 (and the tax breaks for doing so are generous too). Likewise if you're a pastor of a large church in a very wealthy area and get the idea that you're entitled to 10% of the combined income of your entire church chances are you're already figuring what to do with millions of dollars every year. From there it's very easy to see how, even with the best intentions in the world, senior pastors end up doing little more than empire building on the back of everybody else's work.
  12. teddyv

    teddyv The horse is in the barn. Staff Member

    "Dom Perignon that you use to wash your Ferrari..."

    I prefer single malt whiskeys for my Ferrari washing needs.
  13. RabbiKnife

    RabbiKnife Open the pod bay door, please HAL.

    Single malt whiskey is the only drink for the horses of Beauxbaton's school, which is I think the worst double entendre in all of Harry Potter.
  14. TrustGzus

    TrustGzus Don't make me hangry Staff Member

    My wife, Adoregzus, laughed out loud at this and then said, "that was funny." I don't get it.
  15. tango

    tango ... and you shall live ... Staff Member

    If you want to take that route into ostentatiousness you really need single cask whisky (without the e), ideally aged for at least 50 years.
  16. DaniH

    DaniH You're probably fine.

    Tithing + Prosperity Gospel = #winning
  17. פNIʞƎƎS

    פNIʞƎƎS Connoisseur of Memes Staff Member
  18. RabbiKnife

    RabbiKnife Open the pod bay door, please HAL.

    It's a translation thingy.
  19. Kierkegaard

    Kierkegaard Life is not a problem to be solved Staff Member

    My wife, and I, agreed on 10% to the local church, plus anything else to various other missions, and ministries. We've found that when we (think we) can't afford it, and give anyway, we end up fine at the end of the month; if we don't, then we end up worse at the end of the month. This has been a consistent 'thing' for us, so we trust that if we're faithful in our giving, God will be faithful in providing.

    To be clear: neither of us advocate that you absolutely have to give 10%. What someone gives is between them, and God.
  20. RabbiKnife

    RabbiKnife Open the pod bay door, please HAL.


Share This Page