Posted by: Dan | May 10, 2005

Idolatry and Victimisation

Whether God exists or not, we still face the [problem] of idols. By “idols” we mean historical realities that do exist, and that promise salvation and demand worship and orthodoxy. Their existence, and the worship they demand, are decisively verified by the victims they inevitably produce. There must be many idols in our time, because their victims are millions of human beings.
~ Jon Sobrino

This is the essential difference between Christianity and idolatry. While idols will always produce victims, Christians will refuse to make victims of any other but will choose to become victims — in order to overcome cycles of victimisation.

While the idols' existence is manifest in the production of victims, the Christian God is revealed when Christians choose to take the victimisation onto themselves.

Jesus, the fullest revelation of the Christian God, makes this point painfully clear. Refusing to victimise any other person he goes the way of the cross. This is the character of God. God is not a sovereign Lord who victimises that which he creates. Rather, God is one who takes the pain, the sorrow, the wounds of victimisation upon himself, refusing to lash out lest he too ends up engaging in idol worship.

The fact that we see so many victims today suggests to me that we have all made gods of ourselves instead of following in the footsteps of Jesus who

because he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied himself taking the form of a slave, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross.
~ Philippians 2.6-8

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Responses

  1. What about those who create about themselves a persecution complex and use the media to whine at great lengths about their fake persecution?

    I’m trying to figure out who the victim there is, if it is not already them. Is that just a kind of persecution for persecution’s sake without hope placed in Christ?

  2. You would have to give me a more concrete example of what you mean. Do you have something specific in mind?

  3. Yeah, just about every Evangelical Christian who goes on TV these days in the U.S.

    More specifically, those decrying “persecution” on the run-up to last Christmas/Advent season because Target changed their advertising language from “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays.” It’s the kind of nonsense that appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor nearly every night on FOX “news.”

    It’s obviously not real persecution, by any means, but this kind of fake stuff runs rampant here in the U.S. Also, see Pat Robertson’s The 700 Club: any episode.


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