In my last post, WHAT DOES THE WORSHIP OF IDOLS LOOK LIKE? — PART 1, some commenters vehemently disagreed when I suggested that even Atheists engage in idol worship. I was kind of surprised when this question did not settle the matter: What do you think an Atheist loves more, God or stuff? So, I decided I needed to put my thinking hat back on (sure wish the darn thing actually worked).

Consider this observation.

The Bible understands that idolatry extends beyond the worship of images and false gods. It is a matter of the heart, associated with pride, self-centeredness, greed, gluttony ( Php 3:19 ), and love for possessions ( Matt 6:24 ).


Is there something special about being an Atheist? Does that choice elevate us above others? Do we suddenly become special because we supposedly accept the belief that there is no God? Don’t Atheists worship nothing by definition? No. There are two problems with that idea.

  • Every human being worships something or someone.
  • Idolatry does not require us to call what we worship God or a god. Idolatry is defined by behavior.

Atheistic or not we each have a guide star for our lives, something that gives us direction and purpose. That guide star is whatever we care about the most.

Does it make a difference whether or not we call the guide star of an Atheist an idol? Doesn’t the expression “guide star” sound less provocative? It shouldn’t. When the Magi searched for the baby Jesus, they followed their guide star. They showed their love for God by following a star He had set in the night sky. So, once we stop to think about it, the connotation is not much different. Our guide star or our idol is all about what we worship.

From a Biblical perspective that guide star or idol we worship is about any thing or any person we give a higher priority than God.

Why is giving an idol a higher priority than God so problematic? When we don’t love God, we don’t treat each other well.

James 4:1-3 New American Standard Bible

4 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is the source not your pleasures that wage war in your body’s parts? 2 You lust and do not have, so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend what you request on your pleasures.

Why don’t we treat each other well? When we don’t love God, we don’t obey God’s second most important commandment. God commands us to love each other just as much as we love our self. When we don’t love God, we don’t much care for the best part of our neighbors, the image of God we see in each other. Sadly, if we cannot love the image of God that we see in each other, we cannot love God. That is, until we learn to love each other, we cannot love God.

What truly defines our idol, makes it obvious that we have an idol and what that idol is? That is what we are willing to sacrifice for what we think our idol will give us. The most abhorrent idols require us to sacrifice our neighbors. We sacrifice our neighbors by disrespecting authorities who protect them, harming or murdering our neighbors, committing adultery, stealing from our neighbors, bearing false against our neighbors, and coveting what our neighbors have.

What are the most devoted followers of idols willing to sacrifice? What is the most serious sin? Why does first commandment in The Ten Commandments prohibit us from putting other gods before God. That sin leads to other sins. When we worship idols, we may even become willing to sacrifice our own children.


Christians insist that God must be the Person we most care about. Everything and everyone else must be secondary. Anything and anyone we put before God is an idol. Since Atheists must by definition put everything and everyone before God, that by definition makes Atheists idol worshippers. Because the guide star of an Atheist is not God, by default they must care more about some person or some thing, an idol.

How do we know what we idolize? We know that from the sins we are willing to commit for the sake of our idol.



Add yours

  1. So, you should offend your fellow Christians instead of the words of scoffers that God finds offensive?

    What it comes down to is that you don’t think there is evidence that supports what Christians believe, so it must be offensive to claim that there is evidence. Why don’t you take a freezing cold shower. Maybe the shock will bring you to your senses.

  2. Hmm, I have no idea what all the fuss was about? Idolatry is a part of the human condition, most of us engage in it on some level, at some point in time. Look at how “science” has become an idol, a thing, with others now demanding we trust the science, obey the science, as if science were some kind of god. Some people call that kind of thing scientism, because of course it isn’t science at all.

    Something I don’t understand is why Christians are often quick to rush to the defense of atheists, to protect and shelter them like victims, and to attack their own brothers and sisters who they now perceive as bullies? I am not lamenting or complaining, I actually find it darkly humorous, but evangelizing atheists tend to get a lot more compassion, defense, and protection from Christians then Christians do. I for example am allegedly a heretic, a feminist, or a far right winger, whereas Ark is always a poor, defenseless child, being unjustly persecuted for his non belief.

    1. I think you understand what an idol is. Some people don’t seem to want to understand. It isn’t complicated. The ancients sacrificed to idols (or the gods they represented) just get what they wanted from them. Some of the temples were brothels, for example, with temple prostitutes because a sacrifice to idol is a transaction.

      Why do some Christians rush to the defense of Atheists? Given that their theology doesn’t make any sense, I think they are just virtue signaling.

      1. Nope Tom. Not virtue signalling. Just asking for some common decency and respectful treatment of even those who don’t agree or believe… “Do unto others” turned into “treat others” how you’d like to be treated, not in response to how they may be treating you. Your conduct at times in discussions of the bible, Christ and the Gospel has been atrocious and not worthy of the “with meekness and respect” that Peter advised or the character of jesus or the fruit of the spirit (gal 5) or the love of God (1cor 13that we are supposed to be exhibiting in our lives as receipients of “His Love she’d abroad in our hearts). You’re rude, mean, and downright nasty at times. You need a heart check.

        1. Not virtue signaling? What do we call what you just wrote?

          Whenever we are more concerned about offending people with the Gospel than we are with sharing the Gospel, something is wrong.

          Galatians 1:6-10 New American Standard Bible

          6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel, 7 which is not just another account; but there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, even now I say again: if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

          10 For am I now seeking the favor of people, or of God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

          You don’t think the Bible is evidence that Jesus Christ died for sins and rose from the dead. Your idea of an insult is somebody disagreeing with you and pointing out what the Bible actually says.

          Atheism is a sin. That is the plain and simple truth. You got any children? If he had the power to stop you, that Atheist you are defending would not allow you to teach your children your Christian faith, assuming you have one. I did not make Ark hostile. He is hostile. I did not offend Ark or you. You chose to be offended because I stood by what I believe, and you chose to deliberately misrepresent my position, and not just once, but twice.

          I don’t know what your game is, but you are a phoney, a man pleaser. If you don’t actually believe the Bible, that the Bible is the Word of God and contains evidence of its truth, then why do you believe it?


          Luke 1:1-4 New American Standard Bible
          1 Since many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting to me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in an orderly sequence, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.

          Is the writer of the Gospel of Luke a liar?

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