I’m in the midst of finishing up a lesson on 1 Corinthians 10. A good portion of this chapter is dedicated to warning the Corinthians about the pitfalls of idolatry – something I’ve been studying quite a bit lately.
1) What is your definition of an idol?
2) What, if any, are some common idols prevalent in United States culture today?
Rex Butts has been discussing idols on his blog recently – check out those discussions here and here.
I presented a lesson a couple of weeks ago that deals with concepts helpful in understanding what idolatry looks like today. The sermon audio, PowerPoint presentation, and a brief summary are posted here: What does it mean to have a Christ-centered identity?
Speaking of idolatry, did you hear the latest news on The Church of Scientology?
If you aren’t familiar with Scientology, it’s a religion started by a man named L. Ron Hubbard.
Hubbard was quoted as saying things like this:
“Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be start his own religion.” (Los Angeles Times, August 27, 1978)
And guess what Hubbard did? He started his own religion, and made millions and millions of dollars! In fact, paying money to the higher-ups in Scientology is actually a requirement to be considered a Scientologists! Scientology is pay-to-play only.
And check this out:
“The only way you can control people is to lie to them. You can write that down in your book in great big letters. The only way you can control anybody is to lie to them.” (Lecture: “Off the Time Track” (June 1952) as quoted in Journal of Scientology issue 18-G, reprinted in Technical Volumes of Dianetics & Scientology Vol. 1, p. 418)
Need I say more?
For more quotable quotes from Hubbard, go here.
On to this morning’s news from CNN’s SciTech Blog:
The collaborative online encyclopedia Wikipedia has banned the Church of Scientology from editing the site. The Register reports Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee, or ArbCom, voted 10 to 0 in favor of the ban, which takes effect immediately.
Wikipedia’s innovative free-encyclopedia draws upon the knowledge of millions of users to create and edit articles on every conceivable topic. Edits appear immediately and do not undergo any formal peer-review process.
Wikipedia officially prohibits use of the encyclopedia to advance personal agendas – such as advocacy or propaganda and philosophical, ideological or religious dispute – but the open format makes enforcing such policies difficult.
According to Wikipedia administrators speaking to The Register:
Multiple editors have been “openly editing [Scientology-related articles] from Church of Scientology equipment and apparently coordinating their activities.”
To read the full story: Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology
Have you seen the Scientology video worshipping Tom Cruise on YouTube?
This video being on the net is not authorized by The Church of Scientology.
An anti-scientology group known as Anonymous continues to post it online so that the general public may be aware of what Scientology is all about (you may also be interested in Anonymous’ formal declaration of war).
Here it is for your viewing pleasure:
Scientology mini dictionary (needed to decode Tom’s rhetoric):
*KSW (short for Keeping Scientology Working): A policy written by Hubbard in the 1960’s that requires all Scientologists to follow his words and his rules exactly.
*Orgs: Orgs is an abbreviation for ‘organizations’ and describes all churches of Scientology throughout the world.
*David Miscavige: He is the current leader of Scientology. He’s the equivalent of the Pope to the Catholics.
*Out-ethics: Any behavior that violates any of Hubbard’s rules of conduct.
*Put ethics on someone else: Making others conform to Hubbard’s rules of behavior.
*Criminon: Scientology front group that tries to recruit through the prisons.
* SP: Suppressive Person. Anyone that doesn’t like Scientology and/or criticizes Scientology.
*PTS/SP: Another Hubbard term to define behavior that goes against Scientology rules.
*LRH technology or ‘tech’: All the Scientology policies, rules, mandates, procedures.
You might find this post helpful. It is based on 1 Cor 10 and is titled “Idolatry as a “Gateway” Sin – http://mattdabbs.wordpress.com/2006/11/17/idolatry-as-a-gateway-sin/
I also mentioned the purpose of idols in this recent post – http://mattdabbs.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/what-can-we-learn-false-gods-bible/
Good stuff, Matt. Thanks for the links 🙂
As I understand it, an idol replaces God as the object of worship and faith. I know someone who understands an idol to be anything one enjoys, but I don’t think the Lord forbids us from enjoying things in life. Several Scriptures indicate otherwise. On the other hand, I know a man who praises his political party at every opportunity and is depending on it for his happiness and purpose in life. He appears to have replaced God with his political party. In his case, he has clearly crossed the line into idolatry.
I doubt tom cruise has ever stopped and helped anyone he saw in a car wreck on the side of the road.
Also, this is what I found most disturbing about scientology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Snow_White
Woah! I’d never seen that before, Kyle, but it doesn’t surprise me.
Do they still give IQ tests to students at USF to find out who’s “qualified” to be a scientologist?
They still do stress tests in ybor city. They also own a large chunk of Clearwater, Florida. I heard a lot about Anonymous protesting them a lot a year ago, but I think it’s calmed down a little.
I remember being told they owned a bunch of stuff in Clearwater. Scary.
I’ve seen anonymous protests here in San Francisco in the financial district downtown. A bunch of kids wearing masks holding up signs against scientology – it was interesting to see.
If you go to downtown clearwater you see a ton of their folks in “uniform.” It is kind of eerie.