American Idol was a very popular singing competition which ran on television from 2002 through 2016. Some of the winners became singing sensations with enduring careers including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Jordin Sparks. I must confess, though, that I always bristled at the title of the program. God regards all idols as demons hence my discomfort with the title for the singing competition. Idols are described in 1 Corinthians 10:19, 20 this way, “What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.”
Does America have idols that we worship? We don’t worship golden calves or asherah poles as the ancients did nor do we worship multi-armed images as the Hindus do in India but we do worship idols. Before I share my thoughts on what those idols are let me first define the term. Merriam-Webster defines an idol as “a false god, an object of extreme devotion.” A biblical definition would say that an idol is anything that displaces Almighty God. Rather than visible and tangible, an idol can be unseen and intangible yet powerful in its effect on us. Under that definition, America worships many idols but there are three main ones worshiped. Remember idols are really demons in disguise. Here are the three American idols:
- The idol Eros—Eros is the Greek word for sensual, sexual love. We get terms such as “erotic and eroticize” from this word. The demon Eros tempts men, women, and teens to sexual immorality. America is wallowing in hypersexuality flowing from pornography to magazines to billboards to television to films and videos to clothing. We are being inundated with sex pushing many to worship at the feet of Eros. The antidote to worshiping Eros is personal purity and fidelity, living a sexually pure life and remaining sexually faithful to the spouse He has given us.
- The idol Mammon—Mammon is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “material wealth or possessions especially as having a debasing influence” In Matthew 6:24 Jesus warns that we cannot serve God and Mammon. Mammon is the demon that tempts us to see wealth and material possessions as more important than anything even God. In America, wealth is one of the big three measuring sticks of success along with power and fame. We can defeat the demon Mammon in our lives by being generous and giving to the needy as the Early Christians did in Acts 4:34, 35.
- The idol Molech—Molech is the demon tempting Americans to sacrifice their children. Molech was the god worshiped by the Ammonites through immolating children, burning them alive as sacrifices to Molech. America has been sacrificing her children to Molech for years through abortion, child prostitution, child pornography, child trafficking. Since 1973 (Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion), America has murdered 60 million children! The way to defang Molech is to protect the children at all costs by banning abortion and imposing harsh penalties for child molesters and those trafficking in child porn and child prostitution.
The broader, more comprehensive answer to the sin of idolatry in America is spiritual revival. We are idolaters and desperately need God to deliver us from our idols.