Is Idolatry Really Gone?
...the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God. And I do not want you to be participants with demons (1 Cor. 10:20). As there is only one, true God, worship offered to anything else must be idolatry. Any sacrifice made to an idol is, in reality, made to a demon. As with His ancient people, God insists we see the world this way. Many westerners who shake their heads, mock, and scorn the very idea of religion are themselves engaged in a religion of their own. Who is the god of homosexuality? Adultery? Covetousness? Who is the god of abortion? Certainly not the Eternal Creator of Heaven and Earth. In the years 1904-1909, R. A. Stewart Macalister made excavations into the Canaanite stratum in Gezer. He discovered the ruins of a "high place"––a small temple in which they worshiped their god Baal and their goddess Ashtoreth (Jer. 19:5). The temple was an enclosure 150 by 120 feet (the width off a football field, and nearly half the length). It was surrounded by a wall, open to the sky, where the inhabitants worshiped. Within the walls were 10 raw stone pillars, 5 to 11 feet high, before which the sacrifices were offered. In this "high place", Macalister also found great numbers of jars containing the remains of children who had been sacrificed to Baal––it was basically a mass grave of new-born babies. How is this ancient place fundamentally different from a dumpster behind an abortion clinic? Turns out, Americans and Canaanites have much in common. Remind me, how did Christ deal with Canaan? Another horrible practice was what they called "foundation sacrifices." When a house was to be built, a child would be sacrificed, and its body built into the wall, to bring good luck to the rest of the family. Many of these were found in Gezer as well as Megiddo, Jericho, and other places. Back in March of this year, talkshow host Busy Philipps "shouted" her abortion with activists gathered outside the Supreme Court. In her speech she noted how having an abortion at 15 allowed her have nice things in life, including "two healthy children," a "hybrid car," and a "beautiful [expletive] home." I'm not the brightest guy in the room, but that sure sounds a lot like a "foundation sacrifice" to me. Macalister also found many images and plaques of Ashtoreth with exaggerated sex organs. These were designed like modern day pornography to bring about arousal in these places of "worship." Remember, Ashtoreth (also Ashera or the plural, Asherim) was the fertility goddess of the Canaanites. Temples of Baal and Ashtoreth were usually located together. "Priestesses" of Ashtoreth were simply prostitutes. Men who served as "priests" performed as prostitutes with both women and men (Deut. 23:17-18; 2 Kgs. 23:7). The worship of Baal, Ashtoreth, and other Canaanite gods consisted of extravagant orgies, thus it is reasonable to infer that the very children sacrificed in these places were likely conceived there in previous acts of worship. I don't think anyone has to stretch their imagination to see Canaanites lined up alongside Americans chanting, "My body, my choice," "Put the fetus in the bin," or boasting about their "sexual freedom" and "reproductive rights." This brings me back to my first point: Those who mock the very idea of religion or belief in God are themselves entrenched in their own religious practices dedicated to their gods. You see, they could never admit, "We're sacrificing our children simply because we don't want them." No, no, no, this will not do, we must do it in the NAME of something great! RIGHTS! FREEDOM! AUTONOMY! "Our cause is just!" Our cause is noble!" "Our cause is...divine!" Just as the Canaanites masked their constant pleasure seeking, hatred, selfishness, and murder by doing it in the name of a god, so do their modern American counterparts.
They, like the idolators of old, with every act of worship sacrifice part of themselves as well––their conscience. "Shall I bow down to a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes. His deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?” (Is. 44:20). We all worship something. There's no middle ground. Either we are idolators or we are not. Either we worship God or demons. Does this seem like a stretch? Too "black and white?" It shouldn't: "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money" (Matt. 6:24). Do you remember what Jesus said in the original language? It wasn't "money," it was "Mammon"––He personified the love of wealth as a god.