Seeker of Truth

For those who sincerely seek the truth, and only the truth. All are welcome, Christians, non-Christians, pagans, atheists, agnostics. etc. We hope you will find what you seek for.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


All of us have a tendency to become obsessive with someone (or something) when we start to prioritize someone or something else before God. This is very observable.

The first commandment of God is clear: "Thou shall not have any other gods before me."

But often than not, we fall to this temptation. We not only fall, we fall over and over again.

I know you're asking "What? I'm not idolatrous. I only worship God, the only one and true God. No one else. What are you accusing me of? Certainly not me!"

Wrong. Believe it or not, this is one of the most common temptations in existence.

The word "idolatry" usually connotes in us the notion of worshipping various idols of pagan origins. You know, those statues of gods, goddesses or deities that primitive people dance to or give homage to that we sometimes see in movies.

Hmmmm... nope.

Far from that really. Idolatry is all around you, all around us - we actually do it everyday.

You see, each and every time we prioritize someone or something before God even for just a moment, we commit the sin of idolatry.

Think about it. Be honest here. When you find going to a movie more exciting or when you anticipate it more than going to Holy Mass, that's idolatry.

Common examples abound. A person who feels the calling for priesthood, for example, backs out when he realizes his family needs him to run the family business. He still prioritized his family over God.

There's a meeting in your religious organization, and it connflicts with a scheduled night-out with close friends. You make all types of excuses for not going to the religious meeting.

Rationalizations like "It's ok to be absent right now. I've always been going to the meetings in the past anyway." Or "I'll be absent tonight, but I'll just make up for it by going to the meetings in the future."

Why rationalizations? In psychology, rationalization is defined as one form (among many others) of "defense mechanism".

A defense mechanism is defined as an automatic, unconscious reaction to protect or shield our mind/ego from intolerable actions, feelings or experiences.

It is the mind's way to protect itself (you!) from pain. This is of course, emotional or mental stress or pain.

Ever felt those "pangs of conscience" undeniably creeping in, and you shielding yourself from guilt? Yup, those excuses are usually defense mechanisms.

You try to rationalize, coming up with so-called reasonable or logical attempts to justify a certain action. You do this because it makes you feel bad inside or you feel guilty doing it.

Hmmm, as if rationalizing a given act makes it moral. It's as if removing the guilt in an action justifies it.

Ever asked God for something that you really want but somehow you didn't receive it?

It could be because of idolatry. God knows the limits of our spiritual levels, our strengths and weaknesses. Only He knows us perfectly.

Maybe God knows you won't grow spiritually or you'll be spiritually corrupted by giving you what you prayed for. Since He knows the future, (and you don't!), I'm sure you'll agree that truly God knows best.

Doesn't it remind you of people saying "Lord, let me win the lotto and I'll surely give donatons to the poor. I'll give generously to charities!"

There are so many horror stories about people who won the lottery. In so many instances, they couldn't handle the increased power they got almost overnight.

They are individuals usually not used to handling such enormous responsibilities that come with great power. As the popular adage goes "With great power, comes great responsibility."

The first thing we can observe that may happen is this: The person becomes less humble, powerful temptations of pride and vanity attack. The higher the power somebody gets, the more powerful the temptations of pride.

That's why one must be vigilant all the more when one is given power. Only the virtue of humility will protect you and conquer the sins of pride/vanity. There really is no other way.

After pride, may come the other sins/vices. Greed from not wanting to share what one has so abundantly. Possibly gluttony from having able to afford expensive but addictive vices like drinking too much, drugs, gambling, etc.

Worse, even their family and loved ones got corrupted. In-fighting over wealth and distribution arises. Bragging off to neighbors, "Keeping up with the Joneses", etc.

Ironic isn't it? It's almost natural to assume a person (and his/her family) who wins the lotto will be happier. But history has shown it can be otherwise, that misery not happiness can result.

We as human beings seem to be so easily vulnerable to falling to sins of idolatry. Everyday, we often fall to prioritizing "things of the world" over the "spiritual missions we're given.

Possibly the most common idolatry is the prioritization of family or loved ones over God. First person we should think about when we wake up is God, before anybody else. How many of us really remember this consistently?

Fact is, without God, there's no family to love. God, being the source of all love, He is the reason why we have people to love and who love us back. Without Him, no love can exist at all and any family will fall apart without love.

Another common idolatry is the prioritization of a partner over God. We're talking about being so attached to a person of the opposite gender in a romantic way that the person replaces God.

Falling in love is part of God's plan as this must eventually pave the way for marriage or holy matrimony. But sometimes a person in love tends to become obsessed with the person he or she fell in love with.

Take the case of Romeo and Juliet. Only the two of them mattered, nobody else (sadly, not even God). And well, what happened? They eventually decided to kill themselves, one after the other. This is what happens when someone becomes more important to a person than God Himself.

It has been glamorized in writing and literature of course. There really is nothing good about mass suicide!

I'm sure we can all agree that one of the most common types of idolatry is our livelihood. Yup, our work, careers or possibly our own business which sustains us and our loved ones can often be our idol.

Of course we all need to work. We all have to "earn our own keep" as the saying goes. Nothing wrong with working hard, hey we do need to save up for old age by working hard while young.

The point where work becomes idolatrous is when we overdo it. When work becomes addictive (workaholism), or we become obsessed with amassing money or being too focused on reaching ever higher positions of power.

Of course, possible combinations of the factors above are likely to occur. Maybe even an "all of the above?"

Money and power are often this world's idols. We must constantly be on guard and be vigilant against idolatry, truly one of the worst sins to ever exist.

Still, there are other idols common in this world.

Some people have idolized sex and lust rules their lives. The profileration of pornography in mass media has increased the occurrence of sex addiction. Sex addicts are obsessed with the lure of the flesh. People like this usually have problems with personal relationships.

Others idolize drugs, falling into drug addiction. Narcotics drugs become the centerpoint of their lives. They live each day for that "next fix". Not doing so results in withdrawal stage, a reaction where the addict suffers for not taking the drug.

Can you imagine such a life? Enslaved by a piece of stick?

Then there are the gambling addicts. What started as playing card games for fun ends up being a point of addiction. Like any addiction, gambling becomes an "escape mechanism", a world where they can get away from the harsh realities of the real world.... even for just a short while.

A fix of drugs or a fix of cards? Really, it's all the same.......


  • At 7:05 AM, Blogger Ai Tian Tian said…

    Interested in conversing on some of your thought provoking entries. Follow up if you are up to it.

  • At 10:52 AM, Blogger tuplu said…

    idolatry is not sin you cannot brand it sin as god told in his commandments
    who god? which god? pagans have god?
    they are true as your jealous god.
    While taking up issue you have to be above religion level and be in layer of abstract philosophy
    religion is materialistic but god is abstract


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