Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


IDOLATRY UNAVOIDABLE? WILL HUMAN NATURE PRAYING TO GOD THROUGH A SAINT END UP MAKING A GOD OF THE SAINT?

Idolatry is the worship of what is not God as sacred.

Many people get a nice glow inside them when they pray and think of God. They pray without realising that they are praying to this feeling.

We read in the Book of Exodus how Israel was rescued by God from slavery in Egypt. An image of God was made in the form of a golden calf and Aaron told the people to behold their God who saved them from Egypt. The people danced and celebrated. They really felt they were using this image to honour God. They felt the honour they gave the image went to God whom it represented. They had a great time!

The prophet of God, Moses, was out of the way. They took advantage of this. He came back carrying stone tablets with ten commandments and he smashed them upon seeing the idolatry. God destroyed many of the people for this sin. The lesson is that people like Israel who see the power and glory of God and who have a relationship with him can fall away very quickly in the absence of a prophet or the word of God. When they fell away fast, surely most of today's Christians would do it faster! They have not seen and experienced what the Israelites seen and experienced.

Using an image of God to give him honour is intolerable according to the Bible. Imagine how much worse it is to honour the saints and Mary if you are doing this to honour God!

The Bible God communicated and had a relationship with Israel directly before the Golden Calf episode. After that he kept his distance and only spoke to them indirectly. Moses had to tell them what God said. The Torah says God is merciful and forgiving. Was he acting like he held a grudge? The Bible implies no. It implies rather that the people damaged themselves with their sin and so even after it was forgiven the damage was still there and they wanted some space between themselves and God. The lesson is that the Bible says idolatry is a very serious and damaging and corrupting sin even though at first glance it looks as if there is no big deal! Though God forgives the corruption caused is still there and as insidious as ever.

The Bible says that idolatry sows attraction for selfishness and evil in the heart and feeds it. If you ask the wrong god to make you virtuous it won't work for he cannot hear you.

Worship can be intended for the one true God and still be idolatrous. How? The Bible says that God rejects worship for whatever reason and that rejection makes it idolatry. He said in Amos that he hated the feasts of the Jews. If God may reject the worship you directly give him imagine how he is more likely to reject the worship given to him by us through saints?

The best theologians say that God is being itself and you cannot talk about what God is only about what he is not. They say that the thought of a God who is in time and like us is idolatry. The veneration of saints in Catholicism is based on the human crave for a God who is almost human, like a superman who is going to solve all your problems. They cannot have such a god so they use the saints as a substitute.

If you adore your perception of God, you are not adoring God. Even if your perception is right that is not the point. You are still intending to honour what you think God is not what he is. It would take a miracle for a person to really honour and worship God.

Our hearts deceive us very well. We could think we are adoring him when we are actually adoring a mental and emotional image of him.

When people who pray to God find idolatry so hard to avoid, it must be nearly impossible to honour a saint and pray to a saint without being an idolater. The veneration of saints then must be rejected outright as blasphemous and heretical and corrupting. It is a turning away from the true good which is God.

The saints themselves prayed to saints meaning they never should have been saints except to idolators.