Idols are not a hot topic compared to the NFL or the GOP or the USA. You see no news stories about idols.

But Idolatry is still abroad. It's whatever you worship. That means whatever you give the most value to. In that declension, money would qualify as an idol. A big star in any area of entertainment or sports would qualify. Even obsessions and a 24/7 fan habit might qualify. Still, you don't hear much about idols.

Are we going post-religion?

For more than a few centuries the world has been shedding religion. It has not been a huge story. There are still scads of observers in the world's major faiths.

But overall, we are not witnessing growth. There are shifts in emphasis and retrenchments, but there is little evidence of new leaders are and commanding new allegiances.

Religion isn't dead but we seem to be in a post-religion environment.


Islam seems the most observant of religions. I recall my friend Mohammed, a UN colleague, who arrived from Sierra Leone with an almost desperate need to make his first action finding a mosque. At the time this struck me as amazing but I have since seen how unobservant I was.

Islam is conspicuous in its vitality as a worshipping community, The irony, of course, is that dedication that profound deserves more than the casual disrespect from the likes of President Trump.

In fairness

I do not believe Trump knows or cares much about Islam itself. He seems more intent on creating a division based on his views about oil and power and the "war on terror". I would say however that Trump is an excellent example of why idolatry is important even today.


If we look at idolatry as a human tendency that exists regardless of time and place, we can say whatever we worship qualifies.

If Trump worships at all, we might suggest his mind turns to himself, USA, money and the world of media, celebrity and pop culture from which he came. To call these idolatries is to suggest that if there are values above such things, they do not take first place.

A matter of scale

Jesus referred to idols as gods.

He said we should have no other gods before the one he generally called Abba, his father in heaven.

In terms of values, he placed love of enemies and neighbor high, along with love of the One whose name he called hallowed. To other objects of worship, including even family, Jesus gave little or no importance. Without love for others and the holy one, there could be no genuine worship, just idolatry.

My own sense is we may be beyond religion but we are not beyond this perspective on idolatry.