One of the most interesting aspects of human nature is our endless desire for an object or person greater than ourselves to worship.
But we also reserve the right to make sure our object of worship fits neatly within our prejudices and preconceived ideas of exactly what God should be.
As Mark Twain once observed,
“In the beginning God made man in His own image and likeness and ever since we’ve been trying to return the favor.”
The latest attempt at the fine art of this kind of idolatry revival took place a couple of days ago.
It didn’t happen in a cathedral or a cave.
In fact the spokesman for this new spirituality wasn’t a pastor, priest or a pope.
It took place on the rarified airwaves of MSNBC.
And the theologian of the hour was Newsweek magazine editor Evan Thomas.
When asked by Hardball host Chris Matthews to offer a take on Barack Obama’s recent speech in Cairo, Thomas put his devotional cards on the table.
EVAN THOMAS: Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn’t felt that way in recent years. So Obama’s had, really, a different task We’re seen too often as the bad guys. And he – he has a very different job from – Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is ‘we are above that now.’ We’re not just parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, we’re not just provincial. We stand for something – I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God. He’s-
THOMAS: He’s going to bring all different sides together.
Now when MSNBC programming starts to sound like dialogue from a Left Behind series movie we have entered into a pretty strange place in history, haven’t we?
But it isn’t like we haven’t seen this kind of religious ardor before.
There are those in Russia who said similar things about Stalin.
There are those at a local Republican gatherings who hold similar reverence for Ronald Reagan.
Even among Bible believing Christians there are those who spend more time singing the praises of their pastor than the Savior Himself.
It is an undeniable fact of life that we as human beings tend to prefer to worship people and things in this world, rather than the God Who made them.
But when we indulge that urge to pledge our allegiance to a “sort of God” we find ourselves on extremely thin spiritual ice.
Because anyone who would even approach the place where such loyalty would be deserved would be the first to refuse it.
Consider how no less a central figure in our faith than the Apostle Paul dealt with the first signs of hero worship rising in the early church.
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one?
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. (I Corinthians 3:5-9)
Now I have no doubt that as a professing born again Christian Barack Obama would be the first one to tell a zealot like Evan Thomas to cool his jets.
And with good reason.
The Bible tells us that there is coming a Last days world dominating dictator called the Antichrist.
Most of us know that this personality will oppose the truth of God and be a devastating enemy of God’s people.
But the word “anti” in the original language can mean one of three things.
It can mean “against” – That is one who fights against Christ.
It can mean “the opposite of” – That is one who denies and distorts the person of Christ.
But it can also mean “in place of,” – That is one who is worshiped as God instead of Christ.
When politicians are being referred to as “sort of God”, we are getting dangerously close to being a society ready to embrace a personality who fits that third definition.
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