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Worshipping Idols ? Getting on With the Neighbours
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The ‘Golden Calf’ idol is Egyptian, found in Canaan. There has always been a good deal of natural respect for the gods of one’s neighbours. A respect which has sometimes gone a bit further. Worshipping God in another way, by another name, many would claim. When we see our neighbours’ faith, we understand the common qualities we share and the differences are superficial and less significant. When we hear reports of strange faiths the differences sound incomprehensible and awful and the common humanity, the common faith is missing. Ignorance is always a great hater.
Solomon the Wise was the prime culprit, adopting the multitude of gods brought by his harem of foreign princesses. It is a difficult issue but respect tends to bring peace and confrontation usually leads to war. The biblical injunctions against foreign gods are found in the Old Testament and relate to a situation very different from today. Just as we don’t worry about most of the prohibitions in Leviticus because they are outdated.
We do not find these attacks on foreign gods so strong in the New Testament and Paul is apparently quite sympathetic to early Christians who had friendly relations with other faiths, ‘sitting at meat in the idol’s temple.’ He very astutely recognises the real problem is merely the risk of confusion, because the ‘vulnerable’ may be led astray. (1 Cor.8. 10-13 )
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