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Issue Features
Discovery Magazine 2/1/2001

Some People Still Worship Idols

Although most of us rarely see them, huge golden statues and ornate temples still exist in the world today. Millions of people flock to these temples, bringing gifts of incense or fruit to offer to their gods.

One religion called Hinduism is especially known for its worship of idols. In fact, the Hindu religion has over 330 million gods. These gods come in all shapes and sizes. Some are pictured as half men and half women or as animals.

One of the most popular Hindu gods is named Ganesh. He is said to be the god of wisdom, knowledge, and fire. Statues of Ganesh show the body of a human boy with the head of an elephant. How Ganesh got the head of an elephant is an interesting story. A very powerful god named Shiva wanted to enter a room where Ganesh’s mother, Parvati, was staying. Ganesh refused to let Shiva in the room. Shiva became very angry and cut off Ganesh’s head. When Parvati saw what had happened, she begged Shiva to help her poor son, so Shiva took the head of an elephant and placed it on the boy’s body.

Many people believe this story to be true, and they believe that Ganesh is a real god. However, the apostle Paul said: "We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one" (1 Corinthians 8:4). Ganesh is not real, and neither are millions of other gods and idols that people worship. And we should not be tricked into thinking that a statue of gold or silver has some magical powers just because it is in the form of a "pretend" god.

Actually, most of us will not be tempted to worship statues. However, that is not the only way to be an idol worshiper. In Colossians 3:5, the Bible reminds us that covetousness is a form of idolatry. What is covetousness? Basically, covetousness is when a person wants and tries to obtain material possessions instead of serving God. A businessman who spends 80 hours every week working to buy new houses and boats, but does not take time to worship God, is covetous. A person who disobeys God by stealing someone else’s property is covetous. When a person constantly desires to have more material things, then he has made those things his god and he becomes an idol worshiper; just like those people who bow down before statues of gold or silver. We should seek God first, and never let the desire for more material things keep us from worshiping and serving Him.



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