by, Jim Campbell
I saw a new TV series promo the other day for a show called “American Gods”. The name was interesting, so I thought I’d check it out. The overall premise was that the “old gods” (Norse, Greek, etc…) were losing influence and were in danger of being reduced to nothing by the “new gods” (named Technology, Media, etc…). The series is about the power struggle of those gods and the drama that follows. A quick run to pluggedin.com, my go to review site for media said “American Gods is the worst, most content-laden show on television.” So, don’t waste your time watching it, but the premise did provoke some thought.
A lot the time, we look at idolatry as some weird ceremony with weird robes, some weird horned statue and some extremely creepy dudes chanting…and it has looked like that at times throughout history. Today, though there are “new gods” that we tend to worship, and their followship is more subtle. We follow the trend of twitter and instagram for our truth. We follow the lead of the hypocritical, almost bipolar culture to find our marching orders. We run to CNN or Fox News to find out our spiritual direction. It’s one thing to be aware of those things, but another to be enslaved to them, and sometimes, we fall into that type of idolatry.
The “new gods” are cropping up all the time, yet still there exists no adequate substitute for the old One, God Himself. Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians, “You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God. (Ephesians 5:5 MSG)”
The truth is that we seek a spiritual connection hard, yet unless we seek the right one, we will come up empty. All the “new gods” come down to these three categories, and from there, they are just variations. People, religion or things. It might be the person you idolize or hate, but you plan your actions in reaction to their direction. It might be a philosophy of minimalism or the latest fashion trend that you think will make you awesome that crosses from harmless to harmful when it’s the thing that gets ahead of God in the priority order. It could be that next car or bigger house or boat that you think will finally get you where you want to be, but the truth is, that like all the “gods” throughout the centuries, they will leave you nowhere.
Whether they are American Gods or ancient gods, it won’t matter how well you dress up an idol, it’s still something that fades away when you need it the most. The simple truth is that there is only one thing that will satisfy something that was created for one thing, and everything else is just an imperfect fit. Except God, all “gods” are created equal in the sense that they are all imperfect and incompetent to handle what God alone is capapable of doing. There’s only one God and only one spiritual connection that fits…and American or otherwise, in this we are all the same.
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