“when something becomes so important to you that it drives your behaviour and commands your emotions, you are worshipping it’. ~ J.D. Greear
We live in a time when so many people worship ideas.
I guess you could call it idea-olotry.
It can happen as easily as idolatry.
Our worship of the creator can be replaced by worshipping not only created things but ideas as well. Christianity in general is always at risk of replacing the worship of Jesus with the worship of the book that tells us about him, or the songs that celebrate him, or the liturgy that brings it all together. Too often people get caught up in the practice of religion and lose sight of its purpose. This seems to explain why people who call themselves Christians but can deny the same title to those who worship differently or even interpret scripture with a slightly different bent. I think they believe that God so loved Christianity that he sent his only son….but God doesn’t love Christianity, he loves Humanity.
I was reading the story of the three Jewish men captured by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar from the book of Daniel chapter 3. I find it interesting that these three were able to stand by their religious convictions even though it would appear that their God had failed them. Their Nation was decimated, the Temple soon to be demolished, their holidays and festivals left uncelebrated, and their scriptures hidden away. The writer tells us that when confronted with the choice to either bow down before a golden statue or face death, they chose death.
I find it interesting that the king says in Chapter 3:14 that ‘these three neither worship His gods or bowed down to His idol’. It makes me wonder if this idol was of a god or of the king. I wonder if it represented the king and his kingdom – his ideologies. Regardless the Boys would not bow and instead faced being burned in a fiery furnace. Ideologies can be dangerous things, so easily turned into the things we worship. They don’t seem as bad as idols, but they control and drive our lives both physically and spiritually.
There is not much I can relate to in this story except the notion that they must have had their faith in the right place. Their faith wasn’t in their homeland, or in their scriptures, or even in their temple – it was in their God. I am challenged to live the same way. Can I still be a Christian without the Bible, or Church, or my Hillsongs? If I can’t, then maybe my faith is in the wrong place. I know too many people who say they worship Jesus-but really they worship the Bible, or their denomination, or the grand ideology of Christianity. For many, they are Christians not because they love Jesus but because they hate Muslims or Scientists, or Gays and Lesbians. For many they identify more with issues and ideologies than with Jesus and his mission of love and redemption.
And when ‘Christianity Worshippers’ find others who disagree with them, they pull out their label gun and try to make the others bow down before their contrived ideologies – their statements of faith. And when they find some free thinking follower of Christ who won’t bend to their narrow religious ideology, they threaten them with eternal flames in a fiery furnace.
Lets remember those are the tactics of a Pagan King.