In Scripture, idolatry involves at least two things: First, the inappropriate association of the one true God with anything humans create. Humans alone are God’s image, and that is why God commanded Israel not to associate him with any created thing, however beautiful or impressive.
Second, idolatry involves the destruction of human bodies. Worshiping Molech required child sacrifice. Baal’s prophets called out to him by gashing themselves.
We worship the one true God as image-bearers when we see those who are unlike us as fellow image-bearers and love and honor them.
This is how we know we are idolaters who have exchanged the truth of God for a lie (Rom 1:23, 25). Idolatry ensnares us when we fail to see those who are unlike us as fellow image-bearers; when we diminish them by labeling, exploiting, dominating, controlling, and ultimately destroy them.
Our country was founded on an idolatry upheld by lies. We associated the one true God with the creation of a new nation we called “America.” This idolatry required our lies about native bodies—that they were not image-bearers to be honored, but “savages” to be removed and destroyed.
And it required our lies about African bodies—that they were not image-bearers to be honored, but “property” to be owned, controlled, and destroyed.
Our current enslavement to the idolatry of an economy of selfish grasping requires the destruction of bodies we see as “expendable”—the elderly, the poor, “essential” workers, disabled people, indigenous tribes, people of color.
The moment is ripe, as is every moment, to discern our national idolatries and expose the lies they require. This is the necessary work of awakening our imaginations to envision an economy of sharing, universal flourishing, partnership, mutual benefit, and inclusion.
4 thoughts on “Idolatry Destroys Bodies”
How confident are you that fewer bodies will be destroyed by economic destruction than by the virus?
Our economic and nationalistic idolatry will expose more people to the virus.
“Our country was founded on an idolatry upheld by lies.” The sooner we accept this and repent of our worship of the individual and America and power and the Self, the sooner we can ask the Spirit to fill us as the Body to show forth the Kingdom. Especially with our black brothers and sisters. God have mercy on us for the ways we (definitely me) live otherwise, especially in our response to Ahmaud Arbery.
I cannot tell you how much this post resonates with me. As a counseling student at GRTS, Multicultural studies have completely changed me and turned me inside out. In the wake of this pandemic, I have been utterly heartbroken at my Christian brothers and sisters angry outbursts about their “rights” and “freedoms.” What about our collective duty to love the least of these? My grandmother is fighting for her life from covid 19, as I write this. The racial disparities highlighted by the virus are overlooked. Bringing the subject up to others ends with their “buts” and refusal to empathize. It is as if they are blinded by this truth. Thank you for boldly speaking out on this.
A concerned student