Last modified on 30 May 2014, at 17:00

Idolatry

The real sin of idolatry is always committed on behalf of something similar to the State. ~ Simone Weil

Idolatry originally referred to the worship of idols, images or other figures made of various physical materials, as if these were deities or entirely accurate and reliable representations of such, but the meaning has expanded to often include the embrace of false notions as true ones, the taking of something for that which it is not, or the deliberate promotion of such errors, and thus a form of fraudulence.

Alphabetized by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P -Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · Anon · External links

AEdit

  • And that's really what's happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We're supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government.

BEdit

There is a great difference between the Idols of the human mind and the Ideas of the divine. ~ Francis Bacon
There are Idols which have immigrated into men's minds from the various dogmas of philosophies, and also from wrong laws of demonstration. ~ Francis Bacon
  • There is a great difference between the Idols of the human mind and the Ideas of the divine. That is to say, between certain empty dogmas, and the true signatures and marks set upon the works of creation as they are found in nature.
    • Francis Bacon, in Novum Organum (The New Organon) (1620), Book I, Aphorism 23
  • The Idols of Tribe have their foundation in human nature itself, and in the tribe or race of men. For it is a false assertion that the sense of man is the measure of things. On the contrary, all perceptions as well of the sense as of the mind are according to the measure of the individual and not according to the measure of the universe. And the human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it.
    • Francis Bacon, in Novum Organum (The New Organon) (1620), Book I, Aphorism 41
  • The Idols of the Cave are the idols of the individual man. For everyone (besides the errors common to human nature in general) has a cave or den of his own, which refracts and discolors the light of nature, owing either to his own proper and peculiar nature; or to his education and conversation with others; or to the reading of books, and the authority of those whom he esteems and admires; or to the differences of impressions, accordingly as they take place in a mind preoccupied and predisposed or in a mind indifferent and settled; or the like. So that the spirit of man (according as it is meted out to different individuals) is in fact a thing variable and full of perturbation, and governed as it were by chance. Whence it was well observed by Heraclitus that men look for sciences in their own lesser worlds, and not in the greater or common world.
    • Francis Bacon, in Novum Organum (The New Organon) (1620), Book I, Aphorism 42
  • There are also Idols formed by the intercourse and association of men with each other, which I call Idols of the Market Place, on account of the commerce and consort of men there. For it is by discourse that men associate, and words are imposed according to the apprehension of the vulgar. And therefore the ill and unfit choice of words wonderfully obstructs the understanding. Nor do the definitions or explanations wherewith in some things learned men are wont to guard and defend themselves, by any means set the matter right. But words plainly force and overrule the understanding, and throw all into confusion, and lead men away into numberless empty controversies and idle fancies.
    • Francis Bacon, in Novum Organum (The New Organon) (1620), Book I, Aphorism 43
  • Lastly, there are Idols which have immigrated into men's minds from the various dogmas of philosophies, and also from wrong laws of demonstration. These I call Idols of the Theater, because in my judgment all the received systems are but so many stage plays, representing worlds of their own creation after an unreal and scenic fashion.
    • Francis Bacon, in Novum Organum (The New Organon) (1620), Book I, Aphorism 44
  • Let men learn (as we have said above) the difference that exists between the idols of the human mind, and the ideas of the Divine mind. The former are mere arbitrary abstractions; the latter the true marks of the Creator on his creatures, as they are imprinted on, and defined in matter, by true and exquisite touches. Truth, therefore, and utility are here perfectly identical.
    • Francis Bacon, in Novum Organum (The New Organon) (1620), Book I, Aphorism 124

CEdit

DEdit

EEdit

FEdit

  • Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. "Patriotism” is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say, that by "patriotism” I mean that attitude which puts the own nation above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice; not the loving interest in one’s own nation, which is the concern with the nation’s spiritual as much as with its material welfare — never with its power over other nations. Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one’s country which is not part of one’s love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.
  • Oh ! what a frightful business is this modern society; the race for wealth — wealth. I am ashamed to write the word. Wealth means well-being, weal, the opposite of woe. And is that money? or can money buy it? We boast much of the purity of our faith, of the sins of idolatry among the Romanists, and we send missionaries to the poor unenlightened heathens, to bring them out of their darkness into our light, our glorious light; but oh! if you may measure the fearfulness of an idol by the blood which stains its sacrifice, by the multitude of its victims, where in all the world, in the fetish of the poor negro, in the hideous car of Indian Juggernaut, can you find a monster whose worship is polluted by such enormity as this English one of money!

GEdit

HEdit

If there are spots in his character, they are like the spots in the Sun; only discernable by the magnifying powers of a telescope. Had he lived in the days of idolatry he had been worshipped as a God. ~ Francis Hopkinson of George Washington
  • He retreats like a General and attacks like a Hero. If there are spots in his character, they are like the spots in the Sun; only discernable by the magnifying powers of a telescope. Had he lived in the days of idolatry he had been worshipped as a God. One age cannot do justice to his merit; but the united voices of a grateful posterity shall pay a chearful tribute of undissembled praise to the great assertor of their country's freedom.
    • Francis Hopkinson, about George Washington, in "A Political Catechism" (1777)
    • Variant: Had Washington been born in the days of idolatry, he would be worshiped as a god. If there are spots on his characters, they are like spots on the sun, only discernible by the magnifying powers of a telescope.

IEdit

JEdit

KEdit

LEdit

MEdit

The traces of idolatry were blotted out, and the truly great principle of our faith, the existence and Unity of God, was firmly established; this result was thus obtained without deterring or confusing the minds of the people by the abolition of the service to which they were accustomed and which alone was familiar to them. ~ Maimonides
  • It is distinctly said in the Law that everything which idolaters consider as service to their gods, and a means of approaching them, is rejected and despised by God... Thus all precepts cautioning against idolatry, or against that which is connected therewith, leads to it, or is related to it, are evidently useful.
  • The custom which was in those days general among all men, and the general mode of worship in which the Israelites were brought up, consisted in sacrificing animals in those temples which contained certain images to bow down to those images, and to burn incense before them; religious and ascetic persons were in those days the persons that were devoted to the service in the temples erected to the stars... It was in accordance with the wisdom and plan of God, as displayed in the whole Creation, that He did not command us to give up and to discontinue all these manners of service, for to obey such a commandment it would have been contrary to the nature of man, who generally cleaves to that to which he is used... By this Divine plan it was effected that the traces of idolatry were blotted out, and the truly great principle of our faith, the existence and Unity of God, was firmly established; this result was thus obtained without deterring or confusing the minds of the people by the abolition of the service to which they were accustomed and which alone was familiar to them.
  • I am alone in my monotonous country,
    While all those around me live in the idolatry
    Of a mirror reflecting in its depths serene
    Herodiade, whose gaze is diamond keen ...

    O final enchantment! yes, I sense it, I am alone.

NEdit

  • The state lieth in all languages of good and evil; and whatever it saith it lieth; and whatever it hath it hath stolen.
    False is everything in it; with stolen teeth it biteth, the biting one. False are even its bowels.
    Confusion of language of good and evil; this sign I give unto you as the sign of the state. Verily, the will to death, indicateth this sign! Verily, it beckoneth unto the preachers of death!
    • Watch them clamber, these swift monkeys! They clamber over one another and thus drag one another into the mud and the depth. They all want to get to the throne: that is their madness — as if happiness sat on the throne. Often, mud sits on the throne — and often the throne also on mud. Mad they all appear to me, clambering monkeys and overardent. Foul smells their idol, the cold monster: foul, they smell to me altogether, these idolators.
    • Friedrich Nietzsche, in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1885) Part I, Chapter 11, "Vom neuen Götzen"/"The New Idol"
  • There are more idols than realities in the world: that is my "evil eye" for this world, which is also my "evil ear"..
    • Friedrich Nietzsche, in Twilight of the Idols : or How to Philosophize with a Hammer (1888) as translated by Daniel Fidel Ferrer (February 2013)
  • All that philosophers have handled for millennia, were conceptual mummies; there was nothing real to life from their hands. They kill, they fill out that these gentlemen term, idolaters, when they worship — they are all dangerous when they worship.
    • Friedrich Nietzsche, in Twilight of the Idols : or How to Philosophize with a Hammer (1888) as translated by Daniel Fidel Ferrer (February 2013)

OEdit

  • Sociology has up to the present almost always seen only one aspect of the historical State. It has only seen the State as the guardian of peace and justice. Indeed it is commonly assumed that peace and justice did not exist until the State came into being. This is a great error; the community which preceded the State defended its territory and the lives and property of its members to the utmost, and was exceedingly energetic in maintaining internal equality of rights. The State merely took over from the community these two tasks, which must be carried out if any kind of society is to exist at all. This misconception cherished by previous sociology is the cause of its idolatry of the State, taking the form of State-worship. Peace and justice are great benefits to society, and consequently it is assumed, that the State, which is regarded not merely as the guardian of peace and justice, but as the only possible means by which they can be created, must be the greatest of all benefits. In reality however the State is nothing but one community living as a parasite upon another.

PEdit

  • If God should turn away from himself as the Source of infinite joy, he would cease to be God. He would deny the infinite worth of his own glory. He would imply that there is something more valuable outside himself. He would commit idolatry ... Where will we find a Rock of integrity in the universe when the heart of God has ceased to value supremely the supremely valuable?
    • John Piper, in Desiring God : Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (1986)
  • The unity of God is a doctrine on which the greatest stress is laid in the whole system of revelation. To guard this most important article was the principal object of the Jewish religion; and, notwithstanding the proneness of the Jews to idolatry, at length it fully answered its purpose in reclaiming them, and in impressing the minds of many persons of other nations in favour of the same fundamental truth.
  • As the greatest things often take their rise from the smallest beginnings, so the worst things sometimes proceed from good intentions. This was certainly the case with respect to the origin of Christian Idolatry. All the early heresies arose from men who wished well to the gospel, and who meant to recommend it to the Heathens, and especially to philosophers among them, whose prejudices they found great difficulty in conquering.
    • Joseph Priestley, in An History of the Corruptions of Christianity (1782), Part I : The History of Opinions Relating to Jesus Christ, Introduction

QEdit

REdit

SEdit

  • The reason why I entered into a religious order is this: first, the great misery of the world, the wickedness of men, the rapes, the adulteries, the thefts, the pride, the idolatry, the vile curses, for the world has come to such a state that one can no longer find anyone who does good; so much so that many times every day I would sing this verse with tears in my eyes: Alas, flee from cruel lands, flee from the shores of the greedy. I did this because I could not stand the great wickedness of the blind people of Italy, especially when I saw that virtue had been completely cast down and vice raised up.
  • Tacitus says, that the Jews held God to be something eternal and supreme, neither subject to change nor to decay; therefore, they permit no statues in their cities or their temples. The universal Being can only be described or defined by negatives which deny his subjection to the laws of all inferior existences. Where indefiniteness ends, idolatry and anthropomorphism begin.
  • Fame, power, and gold, are loved for their own sakes — are worshipped with a blind, habitual idolatry. The pageantry of empire, and the fame of irresistible might, are contemplated by the possessor with unmeaning complacency, without a retrospect to the properties which first made him consider them of value. It is from the cultivation of the most contemptible properties of human nature that discord and torpor and indifference, by which the moral universe is disordered, essentially depend. So long as these are the ties by which human society is connected, let it not be admitted that they are fragile.

TEdit

UEdit

VEdit

WEdit

Our patriotism comes straight from the Romans. ... It is a pagan virtue... ~ Simone Weil
The Romans really were an atheistic and idolatrous people; not idolatrous with regard to images made of stone or bronze, but idolatrous with regard to themselves. It is this idolatry of self which they have bequeathed to us in the form of patriotism. ~ Simone Weil
  • Maurras, with perfect logic, is an atheist. The Cardinal [Richelieu], in postulating something whose whole reality is confined to this world as an absolute value, committed the sin of idolatry. ... The real sin of idolatry is always committed on behalf of something similar to the State.
  • Our patriotism comes straight from the Romans. This is why French children are encouraged to seek inspiration for it in Corneille. It is a pagan virtue, if these two words are compatible. The word pagan, when applied to Rome, early possesses the significance charged with horror which the early Christian controversialists gave it. The Romans really were an atheistic and idolatrous people; not idolatrous with regard to images made of stone or bronze, but idolatrous with regard to themselves. It is this idolatry of self which they have bequeathed to us in the form of patriotism.
  • The Hebrews took for their idol, not something made of metal or wood, but a race, a nation, something just as earthly. Their religion is essentially inseparable from such idolatry, because of the notion of the "chosen people."

XEdit

YEdit

ZEdit

AnonymousEdit

External linksEdit

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about: