Pic of the day: Pagan cheerleaders attack! Aieee! The day when my greatest sin is to stand up after dinner to go play Sims2 ... may be drawing closer.
When I was younger, I found this verse in the Bible confusing: "Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." (1. Corinthians 10, verse 7.)
I mean, I can see eating and drinking and playing as egoism, at least if the eating is to excess. But idolatry? Worshipping false gods? What's up with that? I tentatively came to the same conclusion as the people who translated the New International Version of the Bible, saying: "Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.""
Now, I know a few neo-pagans online, and they do generally come across as a fairly lighthearted bunch as far as religious people go. But then again, these are reconstructed religions, which people choose rather than grow up in as a foundation of society. Is revelry really a characteristic of paganism? Because you sure don't hear much about Christian revelry, or even Jewish revelry. Allah preserve us from Islamic revelry, one and all.
What I am saying is: Is revelry (excessive merrymaking) really a trait of any or a group of religions? Indeed there are religious holidays that are celebrated rather intensely, and it could be argued that the way most Christians celebrate Christmas is often well within the bounds of revelry. But then again, it seems to me that the more irrational exuberance there is displayed, the less role does the religion usually play in these people's lives. I would not be surprised if the same was the case in other religions. That the revelry exists beside the religion, cooperating rather uneasily perhaps. Because people have many different needs. Beside the obvious physical needs, they have social needs and spiritual needs. And these don't always work seamlessly together.
What I am further thinking is this: I think there may be idolatry even if we don't pour wine in the name of Bacchus or drink mead to Odin and Brage. I think if we try to fill the emptiness of our spirit with entertainment, whether it be chaotic copulation or obsessive playing of Sims2, there is an element of idolatry in it. We consist of spirit, soul and body. When we try to fill in one of the other two in the place of the spirit, it is a kind of idolatry.
Certainly I believe the apostle Paul actually thought this, for he also
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature:
sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is
idolatry." (Colossians 3:5, New International Version)
If that is the case, perhaps I am an idolater too, just not a very coarse and obvious one. Although I have never prayed or wished that Jesus would wait with his return until I've finished playing Sims2, the way I did about Christmas when I was little... ^^ When it comes to MY return to him, however ... there's a lot of things I'd rather be doing than "going home to the Lord".
Although the list of things I love in this world has grown steadily shorter over my career as a Christian, and the feelings involved less intense. Perhaps if I live long enough, I really will be "sated with days" and wish nothing more than to be "away from the body and at home with the Lord". But if it is this autumn, I am likely to be sulking about early bedtime, that's for sure. Idolatry or not, this is how the status is.
Visit the ChaosNode.net for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.