Serve not idols.
121. Serve not idols. We are told, in the Writings of God, that we should not serve idols and false gods that neither see nor speak. This is found in the bible, this is found in The Bahá’í Faith and this is also found, or hinted at, in the other great religions of God: We are warned, in the religions of God, not to serve false idols and false gods, but one must ask him or herself, just what is Considered, by God, to be a false god or idol? The bible and the Bahá’í Faith tell us that an idol can be anything that keeps us from worshiping God. So, what is an idol: Christianity: 1 Corinthians 10:19 “What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?” Anything can be an idol if it keeps us from thinking about God, whether it is money, a house or a car etc… all it has to do is distract us from God. The idol is not necessarily the golden calf or the stone statue spoken of in the Old Testament anymore.
BAHA’I FAITH: “Hear ye not the shrill voice of My Most Exalted Pen? See ye not this Sun that shineth in refulgent splendour above the All-Glorious Horizon? For how long will ye worship the idols of your evil passions? Forsake your vain imaginings, and turn yourselves unto God, your Everlasting Lord.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 34)
We also find in the Old Testament, like in the New Testament, that this is hinted at as well. Old Testament: Judaism: Ezekiel 13:2 “And the word of The LORD came unto me, saying,” Ezekiel 13:3 “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?” Ezekiel 13:4 “Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith The Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I The LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;” Ezekiel 13:5 “That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.” Ezekiel 13:6 “Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith The Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.” Ezekiel 13:7 “For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquirer of him concerning me; I The LORD will answer him by Myself:” Ezekiel 13:8 “And I will set My face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people; and ye shall know that I am The LORD.” New Testament: Christianity: Philippians 3:18 “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:” Philippians 3:19 “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, (appetite) and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things (not heavenly).” 1 Corinthians 8:4 “We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.” 1 Corinthians 10:19 “What say I then? that the idol is any thing,” any thing we put before God!
BAHA’I FAITH: “That hour is now come. The world is illumined with the effulgent glory of His countenance. And yet, behold how far its peoples have strayed from His path! None have believed in Him except them who, through the power of The Lord of Names, have shattered the idols of their vain imaginings and corrupt desires and entered the city of certitude.” “Arise, O people, and, by the power of God’s might, resolve to gain the victory over your own selves, that haply the whole earth may be freed and sanctified from its servitude to the gods of its idle fancies — gods that have inflicted such loss upon, and are responsible for the misery of, their wretched worshipers. These idols form the obstacle that impedeth man in his efforts to advance in the path of perfection. We cherish the hope that the Hand of Divine power may lend its assistance to mankind, and deliver it from its state of grievous abasement.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 12 and 93)
Idols are things that impede mankind in his ever continuing journey towards the perfection of God. So, idols can be anything, and what do all the writings of the world religions of God tell us we should do with idols? We should avoid idols and not worship or allow idols to interfere in any way with our pursuit of our path towards God. Bible, Old Testament: Judaism: Deuteronomy 5:7 “Thou shalt have none other gods before Me.” Deuteronomy 10:17 “For The LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: 10:18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.” Deuteronomy 11:16 “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;” 11:17 “And then The LORD’s wrath be kindled against you,” Leviticus 19:4 “Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am The LORD your God.” Bible, New Testament: Christianity: 1 John 5:21 “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
BAHA’I FAITH: “I render Thee thanks that Thou hast made known unto me such servants as have utterly abolished, by the power of Thy might and of Thy sovereignty, the idols of their corrupt desires, and were not kept back by the things which are possessed by Thy creatures from turning in the direction of Thy grace.” “I beseech Thee, O Thou the Shaper of all the nations and the Quickener of every moldering bone, to graciously enable Thy servants to recognize Him Who is the Manifestation of Thy Self and the Revealer of Thy transcendent might, that they may cut down, by Thy power, all the idols of their corrupt inclinations, and enter beneath the shadow of Thine all-encompassing mercy, which, by virtue of Thy name, the Most Exalted, the All-Glorious, hath surpassed the entire creation.”
(Bahá’í Faith, Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, pp. 17 and 200)
BABI RELIGION: “PRAISE be to Thee, O Lord, my Best Beloved! Make me steadfast in Thy Cause and grant that I may be reckoned among those who have not violated Thy Covenant nor followed the gods of their own idle fancy.” “With fearlessness and eloquence, he pleaded, in the midst of the assembled disciples, the Cause of his beloved Master, called upon him to demolish those idols which his own idle fancy had carved and to plant upon their shattered fragments the standard of Divine guidance.”
(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 215 and Shoghi Effendi, The Dawn-Breakers, p. 266)
Islam: 17. “For ye do worship idols besides Allah (God), and ye invent falsehood. The things that ye worship besides Allah have no power to give you sustenance: then seek ye sustenance from Allah, serve Him, and be grateful to Him: to Him will be your return.” 39. “These are among the precepts of wisdom, which thy Lord Has revealed to thee. Take not, with Allah, another object of worship, lest thou shouldest be thrown into Hell, blameworthy and rejected.” 30. “Shun the abomination of idols, and shun the word that is false.” “Ye invent falsehood. The things that ye worship besides Allah.” We invent falsehoods, idols we worship besides Allah, which are like false words, which need to be shunned and avoided, because false is false, whether it be words, or trinkets, or anything else that blinds us to the truth of Allah. “Take not, with Allah, another object of worship.” Anything that separates us from seeking out the glory of Allah is an object we worship besides Allah. (an idol)
(The Qur’an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surahs 17, 22 and 29)
ZOROASTRIANISM: “Mazda (God) is the fulfillment of all our ideals and iconolatry (idol worship) is to be totally abolished.” “If imagination of divinity turns a doll (or trinket) into a deity, then a man may become a king by imagining himself to be the king.” (ZOROASTER, Hymns of Atharvan p. 641 and 644)
Zoroastrianism: “Let no thought of Angra Mainyu (the devil) ever infect thee, so that thou shouldst indulge in evil lusts, make derision and idolatry, and shut (to the poor) the door of thy house.” Evil lusts, things we lust after, can also be considered worship of idols, because these are things we covet more than Ahura Mazda (God).
(The Zend-Avesta, Avesta Fragments)
HINDUISM: “Whoso worship Me (Brahma, God), Them I exalt; but all men everywhere Shall fall into My path; albeit, those souls Which seek reward for works, make sacrifice Now, to the lower gods. I say to thee Here have they their reward.”
(Hindu, Bhagavad Gita (Edwin Arnold tr) chapter 4)
Hinduism: “Those men of little minds, who worship so, Go where they worship, passing with their gods (of idle fantasy). But Mine come unto Me! Blind are the eyes Which deem the Unmanifested manifest, Not comprehending Me in my true Self!” “Thus action is of Brahma, who is One, The Only, All pervading; at all times Present in sacrifice.”
(Hindu, Bhagavad Gita (Edwin Arnold tr) chapter 3 and 7)
BUDDHISM: 4. “The wise student will conquer this world (of self) and the world of death and the gods. The wise student will find the clear path of truth, as a skillful person finds the flower.” Overcoming the idols of man’s lusts and desires.
(Buddhist, Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha 2 (tr. J. Richards))
Sabeanism: “And Thou hast spoken to us with Thy Word And hast commanded us with Thy commandment ‘Be My glory and I will be your Glory. Be my light and I will be your Light. And my name shall be in your mouths And I will be with you.’ Thou art He who overthrowest (false) gods in their high-places And bringest reproach on the divinity of (false) deities.” (Sabeanism, Ginza Rba- chapter 75)