Sunday, September 28, 2008

Baum on Idolatry

For if idolatry be understood as the absolutizing of the finite and the elevating of a part to be the ultimate measure of the whole, then the Church's unmitigated claim to absolute truth and ultimate authority becomes problematic. From the biblical point of view, the Church itself could become an idol. Church doctrine and ecclesiastical authority promote idolatrous trends in religion whenever these institutions no longer present themselves as serving the divine Word and as mediating a divine mystery that transcends them; the Church becomes an idol whenever it identifies itself with the kingdom of God. The Church is tempted by idolatry when it wants to multiply the absolutes and regard its teaching and its hierarchy as the ultimate norms for judging all forms of Christian life and faith.
---Gregory Baum, Religion and Alienation, 64.

I have been thinking a lot about the need to gain critical distance from our religion in order to understand who we stand with/for. BTW this is a very fine book by Baum.

1 comment:

steven hamilton said...

some of our worse idols are our "best":

social justice
the environment

the apostle paul seemed to "get it", in that anything that de-Centers Christ is really idolatrous...

Lord help us