What Is Wrong with Worshiping Idols?

Thailand
February 11, 2011 10:08pm CST
Idolatry and worshiping more than one god seem to be the two major sins of the Abrahamic religions. What is wrong with these practices. They do not seem to harm anyone or the community in general so why should they be condemned?
2 people like this
14 responses
@1hopefulman (27556)
• Canada
13 Feb 11
What is wrong with it is that the God of the Bible doesn't want us to make idols and use them in our worship. We don't make the commandments, He does. Exodus 20:4-5 (Young's Literal Translation) 4`Thou dost not make to thyself a graven image, or any likeness which [is] in the heavens above, or which [is] in the earth beneath, or which [is] in the waters under the earth. 5Thou dost not bow thyself to them, nor serve them: for I, Jehovah thy God, [am] a zealous God, charging iniquity of fathers on sons, on the third [generation], and on the fourth, of those hating Me,
1 person likes this
• Thailand
13 Feb 11
Ah, if it were only that simple. I am not a member of the tribes of Israel nor can I ever be because I am not born of a Jewish mother and so am not one of the biblical god's chosen people. The old testament of the bible is a history of those chosen people and contains within it the laws required to be a part of the convent between the biblical god and his chosen people. Since I am not included in that covert I do not see my self as being governed by the laws of that convent. There is nothing wrong withe constructing and worshiping a representation of the god principle if you are not a part of the rather restricted group that makes up the tribes of Israel.
@1hopefulman (27556)
• Canada
15 Feb 11
I am not Jewish either. There are no chosen people today. Notice what one Jewish man said: Acts 10:34-35 (New International Version, ©2010) 34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. We can all worship the one true God. Another Jewish man wrote: 1 John 5:21 (New International Version, ©2010) 21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. Idols are just wood or stone or metal. They have no power to save. They cannot even save themselves, so how can they do something for someone else. If there was a fire in a building where the idols are located: will they put out the fire? Will they run out? Will they be able to save a human that is trapped in the fire?
1 person likes this
• Thailand
15 Feb 11
Two basic problems here. The first of which is the identification of a "true god" singled out from the vast pantheon of gods and spirits that have been invented and or identified by the human species. To accept one to the exclusion of all the others requires the acceptance of a chain of coincidences and a suspension of reason and logic. While the three Abrahamic religions and the Hindu religion all share a common mythology in derived from the early religion of Mesopotamia they all went there separate ways and were influenced by the environment and culture in which they developed and evolved. The Abrahamic religions developed among warlike nomadic tribes and borrowed the beliefs of the Cro-magnon culture while the Hindu religion developed among the more settled people of the Indus valley. No real surprise that Idols featured in the Hindu culture where the people were rooted to the land and could worship gods and spirits that were fixed in place in an object. In the rooming bands of the mid-east their gods needed to be portable so it became simple to develop a belief in a single god that was an invisible all-encompassing presence. There is no right or wrong in it, only different views of the god principle. No "one true god" but instead many gods, goddesses and spirits. The second problem here is the failure of your analogy because while the spirit or god seen to inhabit an idol is not inclined to save a person in a building the invisible presence of the Abrahamic god does not seem to do a better job of rescue.
@Gordano (792)
• United States
14 Feb 11
Hello Chiang_Mai_boy The Abrahamic religions rest mainly on Monotheism, you will understand it when you know what exactly it mean by Monotheism and Idolatry, because the meaning of the two terms are is not simple as many people used to think. "A simple definition of idol worship is to believe that anything beside God can help us, or to hold something as more important to us than God. Thus if we hold our property (for example) as more important than God /or give our jobs more time and attention than God - we are committing idol worship. Unfortunately, the majority of people who believe in God commit this gross offense without even realizing it." http://www.submission.info/perspectives/monotheism/idolworship.html I have a discussion about this tilted "another form of idolatry" the link to this discussion is: http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/2244255.aspx I hope that these two links explain my point. Best Regards!
1 person likes this
• Thailand
14 Feb 11
I have to take issue with your definition. In most parts idol worship results from and is a feature of the worlds oldest and still most prevalent religion, Animalism. In Animalism objects become invested with the presence of gods or spirits. Your definition assumes an individual god which is not something most people in this world are willing to recognize. We of the world outside the Abrahamic religions are not turning away from an individual god we are embracing a pantheon of gods and spirits.
• India
15 Feb 11
"A simple definition of idol worship”... Gordano, this definition itself is flawed. Idol-worshippers do not believe that anybody beside God can help us, neither do we put anything else as more important than God. What we believe is that God is omnipresent and hence, anything and everything contains the essence of God, including stones and trees and mountains. If I want, I can feel my God in a piece of stone and worship that stone in all sincerity... polytheism is very flexible unlike monotheism. Also, monotheism give human attributes to God, polytheists give human look to God. It’s the same thing.
• Philippines
12 Feb 11
I am no bible expert but I guess worshipping idols ( idolatry ) is to be considered a deadly sin. Major Sin. God said that we must only worship one God, love him so much more than anyone else or anything. According to catholic practices, although we pray in front of a statue or pictures of Jesus Christ, that's not a sin. The reason is we pray and communicate to the Real God using his image or statue only. It is not the statue that we worship. The wooden statue is just a wood not to be deemed as God. To some people maybe this is idolatry but it is not. As long as you worship on ONE TRUE GOD, and not worship the wood or a thing, you are not committing any sin. This is only my opinion and I maybe wrong or right. This is what I believe in as a Christian. :) Happy Mylotting!
1 person likes this
• Thailand
12 Feb 11
Since I am neither a Christian or a follower of any of the Abrahamic religions I do not see how a mortal sin in the Christian religion has any meaning to me. I still do not see how it matters to me or the society I live in whether I worship one god or many or if I chose to believe that a god inhabits an object I chose to direct my devotion to. Where I live it is a common practice to ordain trees. This results in a reverence towards the trees and protects them. In this case what could be seen as idolatry provides a benefit to the community and preserves the trees.
• Philippines
12 Feb 11
That was only my opinion and as I said I am no bible expert. I also said that I might be wrong or right. There is "Might" in my response above. I guess, there is nothing wrong with that as long as the image is not what you worship. Images of Jesus Christ or Statue of Him represents the God we worship. It's idolatry if we worship the image of christ or statue of christ and deem those images and statue as GOD. We don't deem images and statues of God as a God. I can see that this issue is a never-ending conflict even before I joined MyLot. It's been a never-ending issue because of different religion with different practices. My respond above was only my opinion and I am not making 100% assumption. For us Catholics, we are firm at what we believe in and most of all I respect other practices and beliefs. I don't care if you are Muslim, or Jehovas witnesses, or Born-again, or Buddhist, as long as we pray to only ONE GOD, that MATTERS. We are all one in One God!
1 person likes this
• Philippines
12 Feb 11
Chiang_Mai_boy, don't worry as I am not condemning the practices in the area where you live in. I respect that. For us catholics to observe reverence or worshiping trees is a sin. That's idolatry to us Catholic Christian. Don't worry, this response of mine is not intended to condemn your practices but only to provide an answer to your question about what's wrong in worshipping idols. Okay? Don't worry. I respect the practices in the area where you live in. Happy Mylotting!
1 person likes this
• India
15 Feb 11
I don’t know the Abrahamic reasoning behind this but I feel that the people who propagated the Abrahamic religions, probably felt that multiple idols meant multiple Gods and as religion is so powerful, it would mean a thousand divisions in society and complete breakdown of social order. Religion was the cement thru which they wanted to amalgamate their tribes, hence the concept of one God. And to further rub in the point, they made their God ‘say’ that only He is to be worshipped and that polytheism is the greatest sin (with hell as the guaranteed destination) so that nobody would dare try to start worshipping something else.
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@awapak (1277)
• Pakistan
16 Feb 11
Thanks for sharing your views.Please try to understand that only "people" did not propagate the Abrahamic religions but it was also from God Almighty.He had sent about 1,24000 Prophets to all towns to teach them "Tauheed" or Monotheism,but Satan emerged as more successful in indulging simple people in Polytheism.We even started worshiping those Prophets and pious people, who came to teach us Monotheism from God Almighty.The present plight of Hindus and some Muslims in India and Pakistan is a clear evidence of this fact....
• Thailand
16 Feb 11
awapak the only evidence that anyone other than people propagated the Abrahamic religions comes from the people who have a vested interest in them. Satan is no more real than Donald Duck. The concept of satan was created as a coping device without which monotheism did not work. monotheism could not blam all the bad stuff on their all-powerful but merciful god so the idea of an independent entity was developed to take the blame. The Hindus of India, the Buddhist of Thailand, the Shintoist of Japan and the Animist of the Pacific are doing quite well without monotheism , thank you.
@barehugs (8986)
• Canada
13 Feb 11
There is nothing wrong with worshiping idols in the Christian Religion. Its done all the time and condoned by the Church. Every Catholic Church is adorned by statues of Mary the Mother of God, and by Christ on the Cross. People actually bow down before these idols, and pray to them. If its ok in the Christian Church its ok anywhere, anytime!
1 person likes this
• Thailand
13 Feb 11
In the Christian as in the other Abrahamic religions it goes beyond statues and physical representations. In these religions there is an abiding belief in an anthropomorphic god who is an individual entity. By making a god an individual and seeking a relationship with this deity rather than union within the god concept they make this individual entity into an idol to be worshiped from afar.
@urbandekay (18312)
4 Oct 12
As usual those that are not Christian and seek to speak for them get it wrong. Worship of Idols in Christianity is advised against, it is good practical advice, worshipping of a lump of matter is futile and a waste of time and energy that is better employed spiritually. all the best urban
@EvanHunter (4028)
• United States
12 Feb 11
My theory is it has to do with the difference between being superstitious and religious. A statue is nothing more than wood or metal but the spirit is alive. Many times it points out that God is not in a building but in people. Than likewise God is not in a statue or symbol either. Some of it might also have to do with the pagan God Molech that people would sacrifice children to. I know that is the extreme end of things but it went that far so I guess a good place to cut it off is right from the start and say no to idols to begin with. So I am pretty sure that statues don't cry bleed or are alive and you sure shouldn't give them food or offerings while your fellow man is suffering.
1 person likes this
• Thailand
12 Feb 11
Spirit House - Spirit House in Thailand
There is only one real difference between what is superstitious and what its religious. What is superstitious to one person is a closely held, precious religious belief to another. People who employ it also has a part of their worship believe that the object is inhabited by a spirit or a God. They do not confuse the object with the spirit or the God but do see it as a way to focus their worship. In difficult times when people are hungry and suffering it is sometimes the most appropriate time to make offerings to the representation of the gods.
@urbandekay (18312)
4 Oct 12
"What is superstitious to one person is a closely held, precious religious belief to another." So you claim but I think a clear distinction can be drawn and criteria used to determine which is witch all the best urban
• India
13 Feb 11
Who said, it is wrong in worshiping Idols As Hindus, we worship Idols, only, and many gods,in the form of Idols.I do not care what the Muslims or the Christians say about Idol worship.The fact is, even in Christianity, the Catholics have a statue of Mother Mary, and a Cross of Jesus with a human on the cross. This is also Idol worship. Nobody has the right to critisize any other religions. For us our religion is the best, and we do not care what the others say about it.
1 person likes this
@Adoniah (7515)
• United States
15 Feb 11
You are right...christians or catholics do pray to humans and they do have icons. This is idol worship even though they will never admit it. The whole concept of the christ figure was because they needed a tangible god. They needed to see him, touch him, and make him like themselves. It is wrong to put down idol worship. If you do not like it then steer clear of it and leave it alone. I hate it when folks go into areas and start converting enmass because their "gods are better".
1 person likes this
@momof3kids (1903)
• Singapore
15 Feb 11
To me it just complicates things. I think God wants us to worship Him alone so to simplify our lives. It does harm in a way because it will make things more complicated. God loves us that much.
1 person likes this
@DawGwath (1044)
• Romania
14 Feb 11
Well, it hurts God's feelings, you see? He is jealous. On a more serious note, I would say, is it wrong NOT to worship any god at all? Or would that be more of a sin than worshiping multiple gods or one god, depending on whatever theistic views the one asked would have?
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Feb 11
Priests of Yhvh like being a monopoly.
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@Adoniah (7515)
• United States
14 Feb 11
I do not think that folks who worship idols harm the community. Besides I do not feel it is any of my business if you want to do this...I firmly believe that these types of beliefs are harmless and often interesting. I would never condemn them...I am sorry if there are folks here doing that...
@awapak (1277)
• Pakistan
16 Feb 11
THE MAIN DRAWBACK WITH IDOLATRY OR POLYTHEISM IS THAT : THE LOVE,LOYALTIES AND INNER FEELINGS, WHICH A TRUE ONE GOD ALMIGHTY DESERVES FROM US,ARE DISTRIBUTED AND THINNED OUT AMONG HIS SO-CALLED ASSOCIATES,PARTNERS AND MEDIATORS.WE BECOME MORE THANKFUL AND INCLINED TO THESE CREATURES AND FORGET THE REAL CREATOR WHO IS GIVING EVERY THING TO US.WE MAKE IDOLS FROM STONES OR MUD WITH OUR OWN HANDS AND THEN START WORSHIPING THEM.THIS IS BELOW THE HUMAN DIGNITY TO BOW OR PROSTRATE BEFORE AN IDOL OR GRAVE WHICH CAN NOT LISTEN OR HELP US.YOU CAN THROW THEM IN A DARK WELL,THEY WILL NEVER SPEAK OUT.PROPHETS ABRAHAM AND MUHAMMAD(peace be upon them)HAD BROKEN THE MAN-MADE IDOLS WITH THEIR OWN HANDS.SIMILARLY THE LAST MESSENGER TO MANKIND,OUR BELOVED PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PBUH) HAD GOT THE BIG GRAVES DEMOLISHED TO GROUND AT MADINA AND ADVISED HI FOLLOWERS NOT TO MAKE HIS GRAVE AS AN IDOL TO WORSHIP.....THIS IS TRUE MONOTHEISM HE GAVE TO THE MANKIND AND SEE THE DIFFERENCE YOUR SELF NOW !!
• Thailand
16 Feb 11
All of what you say is true if you accept the premise that there is some virtue in monotheism. I do not accept this so I can find no problem with either polytheism or the worship of the spirit that dwells in objects. If I construct an idol of stone or rock with my own hand to serve as a place where one of my gods can find sanctuary and rest it is an act of devotion. I do not confuse the idol with the god. I do not worship the idol, I worship the god within.
• India
2 Jun 12
nothing is wrong in it.
@awapak (1277)
• Pakistan
7 Oct 11
God Almighty has created all the human beings to worship Him alone without making any mediators or partners in between & Has created every thing for us....to live in this world.God Almighty has created this universe and all the creatures to benefit the human beings.He listens and accepts our prayers whereas idols can never do it.Then Shirk or polytheism changes the direction of our loyalties & affiliations towards other creatures instead of one God Almighty.This is not liked by Him,therefore He has clearly declared in the last divine Book,the Holy Quran,that Idolatry or Polytheism is the biggest and only unforgivable sin.