Modern man thinks he does not worship idols, which only proves that he does. How so?
Consider for a moment the current epidemic of pornography. With the advent of the Internet and personalized computers, the pornography industry, put into check somewhat by the morality movement during the 1980's that led a few national chains to quit carrying obscene material, has returned with a vengeance. Some of the facts:
- Estimates are that as many as 200,000 Americans exhibit addictive behavior to pornography, much like a drug user.
- The Justice Department estimates that nine of 10 children between the ages of 8 and 16 have been exposed to pornography online.
- Two-thirds of the divorce lawyers attending a 2002 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said excessive interest in online porn contributed to more than half of the divorces they handled that year.
- The pornography industry in the United States alone is a $10-14 billion enterprise.
- One of every seven calls received at Focus on the Family's Pastoral Care Line regards internet pornography. One survey showed that forty percent of pastors had viewed internet obscenity in the last month.
That pornography is a major problem even in the church cannot be denied. What the church must see, but its very nature makes it impossible to see, is that pornography is idolatry.
For what is idolatry? Coming from a compund word that means "to serve images," idolatry is defined to be in part "blind or excessive devotion to something; image-worship or divine honour paid to any created object." The guy sitting at the computer screen gawking in awe at the image of a naked woman may scoff at the other guy gazing in awe at the image of the naked Buddha and say, "I would never do anything so stupid as that!", but then again that's the way of idolatry. Idolatry has blinded both fools.
For that's one of the most horrible judgments for idolatry. Listen to the pronouncement against the idolator in Psalm 115:4-8:
"Their idols are silver and gold, the work of man’s hands. They have mouths, but they cannot speak; they have eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they cannot hear; they have noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but they cannot feel; they have feet, but they cannot walk; They cannot make a sound with their throat. Those who make them will become like them, everyone who trusts in them."
What the guy worshipping the beautiful body of the porn star does not understand is that his fantasy to actually see, hear and touch her is but a lie, and the awful truth is that he is actually becoming like the image in front of him. The Buddhist wants to reach a higher idealized state, and, oh boy, so does our pornographist, but he deludes himself. So I say to you who view pornography, "Don't you understand? That's not a real woman in front of you, but an image of her. She - no - IT cannot hear you, see you, feel you, talk to you and, quit kidding yourself, it certainly does not want to be with you. And do you not understand that is now what's happening to you? You cannot see, hear or feel either. You have become like the goddess you are worshipping - blind, deaf, insensitive, and unfeeling."
How? The pornographer is blind to the shame he brings upon his family. He is deaf to the cries of the men, women and children used in this shameful industry, and the eventual disease and death that come upon them. He cannot feel the pain he causes his wife by his cyber-adultery, and his protest that it is not adultery just proves all over again he has become like the idol (Besides, the Lord Jesus says it is adultery (Matthew 5:28).) He grows insensitive to the people around him, using them for his own lusts and pleasures. No wonder the vast majority of rapists, molestors, kidnappers and incest committers have used pornography prior to their crimes.
Any hope for the one practicing pornolatry? Yes, but all I will tell you here is that the first step involves tearing out your eyes (Matthew 5:29). If you think that's a bit too radical, then there's not much that can be done for you. But then again, if you are a pornographer, that's just your problem. What you cannot see is that you cannot see. What you cannot hear is that you cannot hear. What you cannot feel is that you cannot feel. After being told you are an idol worshipper, the best I can do for you at this point is just ask you the simple question of the TV commercial: "Can you hear me now?"