I listened to Idolatry of the written word, a recent podcast by Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow.
They make a very good point there: When we take a text, including the Bible, as literally and absolutely true, we worship a false god. We make words and images into a god for us.
And we can take it further. Whenever any of us take any story, thought, or image as absolutely true, solid, and real, we worship a false god. We make images into a god, and miss what is really here. We miss the validity in innumerable other stories about the same, and we miss the utter mystery all happens within and as.
It’s about as silly as worshiping a golden smurf, yet most of us – including me – do it out of habit. And since it is so common, we are often “blind” to it in ourselves and others, especially when those around us worship the same images as we do.
Fortunately, life will tell us when we are out of alignment with reality in this way through stress and discomfort, and these are our reminders and pointers to take a closer look at what we are doing.
Which story or image do I hold onto here as true and solid? What are the underlying assumptions? Can I know it is true? What happens when I take it as true? Who would I be without it, in this situation? Can I find the validity in its reversals? How would it be to live from the most juicy of these reversals?
- idolatry of the written word
- make words (thoughts, ideas, images) into a god
- fundamentalists, yes
- but also any of us, when we take a story as true (absolutely true, solid, real)