Idolatry is what you most worship. It is what you bow down to. Sometimes it is a person as in loving someone. Sometimes it is a team or an ambition or simply a thought like money or power or an ability. Idolatry was the product of the World that grew up on a belief in higher powers. The heart of instruction to Christians is to have no other gods before the One regarded as holy and supreme. Along with love of neighbor, this is the great commandment.

Secular worship

Most people, including Christians, have an idolatrous streak.

One of my best friends would probably walk through several states to bow down before whatever New York Yankee was hitting home runs at the time. I know of persons for whom the worship of Michael Jackson is no laughing matter. Obsessions down to the most secret are also likely to be idolatrous. Whether we still have a religion or not, idolatry persists.

Trump encourages idolatry

Conspicuous patriotism is a form of idolatry, as is nationalism. Regardless of the country, leaders who create political power on the shoulders of popular prejudice are aiding and abetting idolatry. When the GOP was hectoring Obama for being too much of a celebrity, it was essentially saying he was encouraging idolatry.

Unquestionably Trump is a champion at fanning idolatry's flames.

A simple calculation

It is the easiest thing in the world to figure out what you or most anyone else cares about most. There is no problem with caring the most about anything. The president of a university may care most about that institution. The problem is when the care morphs into something harmful.

That s a subjective determination but it could relate to clearly harmful manifestations like assent to or participation in activities that cause suffering. In the most extreme cases, terrible events can be traced to those who proceed on the basis of idolatry.


Release from idolatry is facilitated by knowing what it is and rejecting it.

Common rejections of idolatry are an embrace of critical thinking which is generally associated with respect for scientific method. Daily meditation can include a profession of non-idolatry. To profess non-idolatry is simply to open yourself up to the presence of the multiple options that emerge when you focus on universal values. Triadic thinking is inherently non-idolatrous. It always sees a third way.

Nothing is fixed or written in stone. Flexibility and freedom to choose are among the qualities that lead to non-idolatry.