You must not make a carved image for yourself, nor the likenessof anything in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in thewaters under the earth. You must not bow down to them in worship;for I, the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing the childrenfor the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation ofthose who reject me. But I keep faith with a thousand generations,of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Archaeologists spend lifetimes excavating ruins of pastcivilizations in an attempt to piece together how ancientinhabitants lived, died, ate and worshipped.
A lot can be learned about people by their religious beliefs.Did they perform sacrifices, have fertility rituals, do rain dancesor embalm their dead?
Finding old scriptures and relics opens a window into theirhomes that reveals elements of their lives which can even help usimprove our own in some way.
Fastforward a thousand years from now. When or if a dominantcivilization begins digging up Times Square or sections ofHollywood, what will future archaeologist believe we worshipped?Sponge Bob?
It may sound absurd because people today do not worship cartooncharacters, (millions cherish their respective faiths), but itcannot be ignored that a projection of worship is being erected onevery street in the United States and around the world, in which amajority of the symbols portray advertising, pop culture and/orpolitical propaganda.
Star Wars and Star Trek, hugely popular fantasy machines, haveensnared fans worldwide. Conventions are held where people mimiccharacters in dress and even language.
A rational mind realizes these events are in celebration of theideals portrayed in the fantasies, however not all people arerational, so unfortunately these false worlds are elevated beyondentertainment to a way of life.
Disneyland, Universal Studios and the Statue of Liberty are allmonuments built to showcase mankind’s ability to achievesomething great. These structures, in one form or another, willcontinue to exist long after we perish from this earth. What dothese symbols tell future theologians and archaeologists about oursociety?
Our nation’s capital, along with each state, has an arrayof glorious buildings where legislation is passed and decisions aremade. Honestly these structures look more like temples of worshipthan places of political discussion.
Surely the Catholic churches, Mormon temples and any otherreligions have fantastic grounds for worship, but as a force theycome up short against the White House and the Lincoln Memorial.
Our founding fathers decided to keep church and state separatewhen drawing up the outlines for our country. They wanted a land ofthe free where speech and the choice to practice religion were leftto individuals, not the government. Recently these ideals have beenchallenged.
No one can sincerely argue that the United States governmentimposes its will upon citizens regarding religious practice unlessthe practices result in harm toward others.
With that said, people have come forth in challenging certaintraditions such as the Pledge of Allegiance in schools, where theword “God” appears because, some feel, this imposesunwanted beliefs upon them, and because the schools are governmentfunded, the “Pledge” infringes upon their rights.
Similarly, the placement of a Ten Commandments statue on thegrounds of a southern state capital gained equal dissatisfactionfrom groups of people. Arguments such as separation of church andstate, and freedom of religion perpetuate these topics.
What is ironic about these instances is that some will fight offa statue of the Ten Commandments, but then embrace a large bronzeeagle or salute the president or flag without hesitation.
Being proud of one’s nation, school or job is fine, butthere is more to life than work, school and taxes. Raising afamily, teaching children about right and wrong and bestowing moralbeliefs into them carries far more weight than common law, a pledgeor eagles.
Today’s world, depending on how it is viewed, provides aplethora of opportunities to enhance creativity and growintellectually. On the other hand, mass communication and largepopulations could be viewed as a Petri dish for growing sin.
Is our world moving toward self destruction? Or, are the growingfactions and different ideals preparing an enlightenment periodwhere all that we now know will change? Maybe this is why monumentsof Mickey Mouse, President Lincoln and Playboy Bunnies receive lesscriticism than a statue of the Ten Commandments.
Placing guilt is simple; everyone has participated in thesechanges in one form or another. Take for example, The Passion ofthe Christ, Mel Gibson’s record-breaking film. Hollywoodexecutives, among others, thought it would be a failure, they werewrong.
Church groups bought out entire theaters allowing Gibson toabsorb millions of dollars. It didn’t stop there.Merchandising of our savior followed. Nails were produced, andT-shirts, and I even saw a Jesus action figure at a localstore.
Just a few months ago The Easterner ran a story about a churchgroup that was distributing pirated copies of The Passion.
Who is to blame: the devil, greed or us?
Thinking about how future civilizations will view us isstaggering. We all worship a higher power in some way, God orscience.
We are critical of each others’ beliefs and actions, bethey Christian, Muslim or Atheist.
We ban pornography, drugs and human sacrifices. Yet we maintaina death penalty and elect a president with a questionable past.
We meet at churches that have lavish stained-glass windows andtop-notch audio systems with parking lots full of SUVs, whilefamilies lay cold and starving along the riverbanks.
We pray for the sinners and sick while our priests sneakchildren behind the curtains.
We form laws to protect the innocent, allowing the guilty towalk away on technicalities.
Mickey Mouse may not be an idol of worship, but with the way welive it appears that Mickey is definitely a deity.