What is ideolatry? Ideolatry sounds familiar and foreign at the same time. I discovered an 1869 book by S. Baring-Gould, The Origin and Development of Religious Belief, in which the Church of England clergyman used that term. In 1873, ideolatry was cited by Fitzedward Hall in his book Modern English, where he described it as a “monstrous formation” of a word. It appeared in a few publications, but for the most part, it fell out of use for several decades. But over the last several years, it’s begun to appear more in search engines. But even though it increased in usage, there was no consensus as to its official meaning.
In my view, ideolatry is the merging of two activities of the mind.
The first is thought. Thoughts originate in the human intellect and give rise to ideas. We choose to either push them aside or nurture them so they can grow and flourish. Ideas form the way we view life. Some can be true. Others can be false.
The second activity of the mind is desire or lust. These desires can be either broad or focused and good or bad for us. Our desires can push us toward moral, ethical and religious behaviors. Or they can push us to achieve success, status, acceptance or control. We may passionately pursue sports, material wealth, food or a variety of other things. Some of these things benefit us, and others don’t. Sometimes our desires are so intense, it borders on worship, also known as idolatry.
Idols aren’t just statues or trinkets. Things we desire or place high value on can become idols to us. Ideolatry is the blend of two words: idea and idolatry. The mind, will and emotions of man unite in thought to form ideas. Our emotions can stimulate an attitude of idolatry about a thought or idea. Ideolatry is the blend of these universal human traits that may or may not be founded on truth.
Ideolatry can be a way of thinking that elevates human intellect above truth. It’s been said that your perception is your reality. But is your reality founded in truth or is it based on some errant perceptions?
Your ideolatry can have a vast effect on your view of who or what God is or isn’t, and it can influence how you interpret what you read in the Bible.
The purpose of my book, Ideolatry: God Is Not Your Problem—The Character and Nature of God, is to help you explore your own perceptions and reality and gain a deeper understanding of God’s truth through His Word. I invite you to read Ideolatry and explore who the God of the Bible says He is.
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