The False Gods We Worship

I was reading the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants, and verse 16 stood out to me:

         16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.

This makes me think of the expansive-seeming, yet deceptive liberal philosophies that appear at first glance to be rational, even-handed and objective. Our current culture clings very tightly to the belief that every man's perception is acceptable, valid and even true if viewed from their relative perspective (e.g. It is true for them, if not for me, so who am I to argue.). This public generosity, however, does not apply to organized religion--especially not to Christianity. Devotion to God or even speaking of God is heavily suppressed in our popular media and public forums, and popular culture openly delights in mocking, criticizing and condemning the most cherished beliefs of the followers of God.

Political causes have become a replacement for religion; a simulacrum of the fervent devotion one should feel towards God. Our idols are not just riches, popularity and entertainment, but scientific philosophies, current affairs, and whatever is the most popular political cause at the time.

This quote by Spencer W. Kimball describes it well:

   "Few men have ever knowingly and deliberately chosen to reject God and his blessings. Rather, we learn from the scriptures that because the exercise of faith has always appeared to be more difficult than relying on things more immediately at hand, carnal man has tended to transfer his trust in God to material things. Therefore, in all ages when men have fallen under the power of Satan and lost the faith, they have put in its place a hope in the “arm of flesh” and in “gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know” (Dan. 5:23)—that is, in idols. This I find to be a dominant theme in the Old Testament. Whatever thing a man sets his heart and his trust in most is his god; and if his god doesn’t also happen to be the true and living God of Israel, that man is laboring in idolatry." June 1976 Ensign

 We must be careful about what things we set our hearts on and put our trust and faith in. It is easy to be swayed by emotional political arguments. Who would not be moved by the distress and sorrow of another? The immediate solutions can appear to be obvious and straightforward, but because of our natural short-sightedness in understanding eternal outcomes, we often cannot see the harm that these solutions and arguments will cause if they are believed and followed. It is difficult to stand for a right that is called wrong every day. So many cannot trust in God's revelations for this very reason. They have turned away from the truth because of the philosophies and emotional arguments of the world, and they cannot put their faith in God's word, or they deny that it is his word. They have put their trust in the "arm of flesh," and are deceived.

One Comment

  1. A-set theory says humans are designed to have faith - of necessity they must commit themselves to the options available in their environment with incomplete information about the nature of that commitment. Even inaction is a commitment to whatever the consequences of that inaction, and commitment always endures for the time it takes to reverse those consequences by committing to some other action, which is another commitment with other consequences. It is impossible to escape the effects of our commitments, and it is impossible ever to have enough information to fully understand the consequences of our commitments before they are made. The ability to make correct or wise commitments with incomplete information is what makes humans survive, and it is also my definition of faith. Thus, the nature of faith is that we commit to something, always with incomplete information, and always for the time it takes to reverse the effects of the commitment. This relates to your article because it means everyone exercises faith; everyone commits to something and endures or enjoys the consequences of that commitment. Therefore, if people exercise their faith in the false gods after their own image, they cannot also commit to the true God. That is why Jesus makes such a big deal out of the necessity of abandoning the things of the world. It is impossible to serve science, money, education, political power, or any other source of gratification you may depend on and at the same time serve the true God who has the only existing power to control the present and eternal consequences of our commitments. By the nature of commitments, it is impossible to commit to two directions at once. You have to choose, and you do choose, whether you want to or not, whether you choose wisely or not. As you said, people who choose to rely on men's philosophies, cannot also get the benefit of relying on God, and the consequences inevitably follow. Thank you for your blog.


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