When we idolise we demonise

I was listening to a sermon the other day by a well known American preacher who made the point that when we idolise things we often, inadvertently demonise the opposite. I hadn’t thought of it before, but the more I think about it the more I’m persuaded he’s right. And the flipside of idolatry is just as bad. So here’s a few examples to think about:

  • If you idolise youth, you may demonise old age
  • If you idolise liberty/autonomy, you may demonise rules/restrictions
  • If you idolise relationship, you may demonise singleness
  • If you idolise children, you may demonise childlessness
  • If you idolise money, you may demonise poverty
  • If you idolise material possessions, you may demonise simplicity
  • If you idolise fame, you may demonise obscurity
  • If you idolise success, you may demonise humility

It’s worth noting that these can also work in reverse. It’s also worth noting the use of the word ‘may’ – it doesn’t necessarily follow you’ll demonise the opposite of that which you serve (your functional god) but it’s worth being aware of. What is interesting is that the polarisation reveals the futility of idolising any of these things. None of them are supposed to be worshipped. When we stop idolising them we can see that there are blessings and trials bound up with all of the above. So beware of false demons, as well as false gods.


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