The real God has freed us from religion! So why do people rush back into it? I have heard that in India Muslims and Hindus fight over holy sites where both have had temples in the past. Why don’t they just build new temples elsewhere? Why are they so hung up on places and things? The God I know is everywhere and I need no special place to find him/her/it. I need no special artifact to connect with the divine because the God I know needs nothing to connect with me. No place or thing is so sacred that it justifies harming another person over it. The human body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, made in the image of God, yet we destroy the bodies of those who get in our way.
Muslims and Jews fight over holy places in Israel. Muslims freak out if you burn your own copy of the Koran or draw a picture of Mohammed – in another country! Americans freak out if you burn your own copy of the American flag. Americans march in protest when Muslims propose to add an addition to a mosque that happens to be near the site of the former world trade towers, a place that is now seen as almost sacred. People have been worshipping mere things since prehistoric times. The prophet Isaiah had a few things to say about this:
“How foolish are those that manufacture idols to be their gods. These highly valued objects are really worthless. They themselves are witnesses that this is so, for their idols neither see nor know. No wonder those who worship them are put to shame. Who but a fool would make his own god – an idol that cannot help him one bit! All who worship idols will stand before the Lord in shame, along with all these craftsmen – mere humans – who claim they can make a god. Together they will stand in terror and shame.
“The blacksmith stands at his forge to make a sharp tool, pounding and shaping it with all his might. His work makes him hungry and thirsty, weak and faint. Then the wood-carver measures and marks out a block of wood, takes the tool, and carves the figure of a man. Now he has a wonderful idol that cannot even move from where it is placed! He cuts down cedars; he selects the cypress and the oak; he plants the cedar in the forest to be nourished by the rain. And after his care, he uses part of the wood to make a fire to warm himself and bake his bread. Then – yes, it’s true – he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god for people to worship! He makes an idol and bows down and praises it! He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. Then he takes what’s left and makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. ‘Rescue me!’ he says. ‘You are my god.’
“Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think. The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, ‘Why, it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a chunk of wood?’ The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He is trusting something that can give him no help at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, ‘Is this thing, this idol that I’m holding in my hand, a lie?’” – Isaiah 44:9-20
Unfortunately, not even Christians are immune to superstition and idolatry. Some think it wrong to leave a bible on the floor or underneath other books. Don’t they realize that relative to those standing on the opposite side of the planet, those other books are underneath the bible? Space has no preferred direction. Don’t they realize it’s just a pile of paper anyways, made from “just a block of wood,” the words meaningless to those who don’t read the language it is printed in? The message may be important, but a bible is just one copy. It can be delivered verbally, on a CD, or on a website through a computer. Do they also deserve the same reverence? Does the computer suddenly lose this special reverence if the internet goes down and it can’t access the website the message is on?
You can never lose access to the real God. You don’t need to be in church or go through a priest. You don’t even need to remember to pray or say the right words. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us. God watches out for you anywhere you might go. He loves you too much to let out of his sight. You don’t need anything else.
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.