Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The idea of idols

I had a very interesting conversation with my brother on the way to the airport yesterday.  We talked about various books and movies and then he asked me what I thought of the Twilight books.  Just to give you some background:  My brother and his wife live in Italy and have lived abroad for several years (both before and since they've been married).  

I tried to explain what I thought.  I began by telling him about an interesting article about how mormon theology is deeply woven into the book series.  http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=22-08-024-f is an interesting article that digs into this.  I haven't read the book series, but have read a few pages here and there.  Basically, they're movie scripts that easy enjoyable reads--as I've been told by friends.  

But, my brother was really asking me what I think of them.  I don't think they're wise to read.  That is my honest opinion.  There are so many books that are out there.  So, it makes sense to read good books that are encouraging and edifying.  When a book has a lot of underlying themes that are contrary to my faith, I don't think it's wise for me to read it and get drawn into that thinking.  

I went on to explain to my husband that I know many people that are very concerned about these books--not so much about the books themselves as the ideas they give young women.  The ideas about romance and relationships are very unrealistic and can lead young women to great disappointment when they are met by reality.  My brother countered that that's not the author's responsibility or fault.  

True.  But, I explained to him that they haven't been here in the states and don't know about what a huge craze and following the twilight series books have.  The characters and actors are idolized.  That was where my big "aha" moment came that I want to share in this post.

My brother reponded to me that people find their idols everywhere, so it wasn't unusual that people would make idols of these characters or actors.

I realized a very important idea in that moment about idols that I had not considered before.  

In the Bible, we are exhorted in the Ten Commandments:  
English Standard Version (©2001)  “You shall have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3
Christians are warned over and over not to have idols.  An idol is anything that we place more importance on and give more of our time and energy to than God.

But, to someone who is not a Christian, having idols is perfectly fine and even assumed to be a natural part of life.  To someone who isn't a Christian, there isn't anything wrong with having idols!  It's even considered a good thing when those idols spur one on to live better or be more successful.  

To me, the danger of the Twilight series is partly the theology undergirding the stories.  But, the greater part of the danger is the cult of interest and fascination that can lead to idolatry and a consumption of our time.  It's interesting to me because one of the television shows I watch online started back up this morning for the winter season.  I watched it, but have been debating about whether it is wise to continue on with it.  I saw my mind struggle in the fall through each week as I waited for the next episode.  I gave the show too much of my energy.  If I see this begin to happen again, I will need to stop watching it.  I need to beware of it becoming a lesser god--an idol.  

So, that's what I've been thinking about this morning...

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