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Is Belief in God Idolatry?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Is worshiping any and all Gods we believe in idolatry?

    By "God", I do not mean god in the generic sense, but rather God in some specific sense, such as the God of the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Qur'an.

    By "idolatry", I mean the worship of a false God -- any false God.

    So, the question becomes, given that all our thoughts -- including our beliefs -- about a deity cannot possibly thoroughly represent or comprehend that deity, then it would seem to follow that they are at least to some extent inaccurate, if only by omission. But for a proposition (or belief) to be inaccurate amounts to saying it is to some extent false. Therefore, we might reason that when we worship any (or all) Gods that we believe in, we are worshiping an inaccurate or false notion of them. But that happens to be the very definition of 'idolatry'.

    Corollary: Non-theists, such as atheists, agnostics, ignostics, and others might be less idolatrous than theists, since non-theists do not worship Gods, while most theists do.

    Just some thoughts. Your turn.


     
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  2. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    That'll be a Yes, then. :)
     
  3. Amanaki

    Amanaki Veteran Member

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    A great question.

    In my understanding of worshipping a God in it self is not idolatry but if we were to worship a "replacement" of God as in a statue or a picture of the God we pray to, then yes i see a very good point in your question.

    Example can be if a Buddhist were to worship the statue of Buddha they worship the statue, not the real buddha.

    I do not know for sure but i believe this is why Islam say we should not worship or even make a representation of Allah here on earth. So you ask, what about the Kaaba muslims pray toward..umm yes if they worship the kaaba and not Allah it would be wrong, as far as i understand
     
  4. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Yeah, but since I do strong negative theology and don't worship God, it doesn't apply to at least one religious believer in a God, namely me.
     
  5. chinu

    chinu Passenger

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    I believe, worshiping starts from idolarty, but, does NOT ends in idolarty.

    Idolarty is like a MAP. Of sure, it is a good help to start, but, the one who is stuck in worshiping a MAP -- NEVER finds a real place. :)
     
    #5 chinu, Sep 22, 2020
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  6. Gargovic Malkav

    Gargovic Malkav Active Member

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    Does the God of the bible and the quran represent something specific? I thought it was the lack of this quality that made Him different from all the other gods, and that it is because of this very reason that worshiping other gods is idolatry...
     
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  7. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    Your mileage may vary, but I see idolatry as devotion to money, or sex, or to a specific brand, or something similar, which will skew your thinking and prompt you do things (possibly evil) you normally wouldn't do. (Your mileage may greatly vary, as I don't believe in worship, either.)
     
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  8. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    I see your point, but i think God is only concerned with the fanatical worship of idols.

    Worship of idols done in moderation is only banned by hypocritical Abrahamics. God doesn't care.
     
  9. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

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    I don't see why defects in the understanding of the nature of God would make the worshipper idolatrous. Idolatry, surely, is the worship of someone or something that is not God as if it were God. Someone worshipping God, but having some funny ideas about His nature, doesn't seem to fit that definition, to me.
     
  10. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    First, note that the thread asks: Is belief in God idolatry? But the OP leaves this title behind and talks, not about belief, but about worship.

    Yes, if idolatry is defined as (and limited to) the worship of a false God then, by definition, the godless cannot be idolatrous, but I can think of no serious reason to accept that definition.
     
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  11. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    I guess it really gets down to semantics. Is worship of an inaccurate representation of God:

    - worship of something that isn't God, or
    - imperfect worship of the actual God?

    (Assuming that this God exists and is known to humanity, of course)
     
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  12. Fool

    Fool ALL in all
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    it is idolatry when you give one form, image preferential treatment over another image of god. god is first an action and secondarily a form.


    if god is omnipresent then all forms have arisen from this ONE action.


    similar to the idea of namaste/namaskar recognizing the divine in all


    similar to the idea of colossians 3:11 christ is all and in all
     
  13. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Do you mean like this:
    :D
     
  14. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    Idolatry is a very specifi thing. It is usually polytheistic, which excludes belief in just One True God.

    Idolatry is also the view that God is something in creation rather than the Creator. For example, believing there is one God and that God is the sun, or a particular rock, or a mere man called Jesus.
     
  15. shunyadragon

    shunyadragon shunyadragon
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    To non-believers yes, and to believers not believing in God is idolatry, and to many believing in the wrong God is idolatry.
     
  16. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    Setting aside that "idolatry" was manufactured as a way of putting down other theological perspectives by those attempting to enforce their cultural dominance (that's putting it nicely)?

    This really overlooks the importance of studying the gods/reality and that there need be no expectation of perfect knowledge to begin with. To expect perfect knowledge is absurd, and we don't expect that in any other human endeavor. Furthermore, when honoring any kind of relationship, a big part of that is learning about each other. Refusing to work on developing a relationship just because you can't perfectly know the other person is nonsense. All relationships we have with persons are "false notions" of that person. We still have relationships. It's not about perfect knowledge.
     
  17. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    Noting @Jayhawker Soule 's accurate comment about belief and worship, I'm reminded of the famous "Is there a Santa Claus" letter for a couple of reasons.

    Because of our ignorance of Divinity, we are like little children who have limited understanding. We believe in "Santa Claus" and in a sense worship him as a bringer of gifts. But it is not wrong for a child to believe in Santa Claus and similarly idolatry is not wrong at a certain stage.

    As @chinu wrote, the path can start from venerating idols. But with maturity we see that the idol is a symbol of something but not reality and then move beyond it.

    From a 'cargo cult' perspective, we move beyond constructing idols of airplanes because gifts once came in them to understanding the nature of an airplane and the circumstances that caused them to come. And we're left with appreciation of what the symbol represents instead of worship of the symbol
     
  18. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    When one's "belief in God" becomes their God, as it sometimes does with very literal religious zealots, then they have fallen into the most egregious form of idolatry, where their own religiosity is being worshiped and hailed as divine.
     
  19. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    It's a good point and useful for encouraging humility.
     
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