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Author Topic:   Money Isn't a False God
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 1122 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 8 of 150 (614283)
05-03-2011 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by purpledawn
05-01-2011 10:16 AM


purpledawn writes:

What is a false god?
...
I disagree that money or power are on the level with a deity.
I disagree that money or power are worshiped.
...
I feel that claiming that modern false gods are money and power waters down the meaning of deity and worship.


I believe the term "false gods" is used in different ways. Strictly it would refer to an object of worship, as you say. I agree that there are few who would literally worship money or power in the sense of bowing down, making sacrifices, etc.

But I think the more common use of the term "false gods" is in the sense of trust or reliance.. God is the one who is ultimately to be trusted and relied upon for our spiritual and physical well-being. Anything that takes His place in this has become a "false god."

quote:
Ps 20:7 Some trust in chariots and others in horses, but we depend on the LORD our God.

In this sense, chariots, horses, money, power, etc. can all become "false gods."

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by purpledawn, posted 05-01-2011 10:16 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by purpledawn, posted 05-03-2011 1:35 PM kbertsche has responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 1122 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 16 of 150 (614378)
05-03-2011 8:37 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by purpledawn
05-03-2011 1:35 PM


Re: Trust and Reliance
purpledawn writes:

quote:
But I think the more common use of the term "false gods" is in the sense of trust or reliance. God is the one who is ultimately to be trusted and relied upon for our spiritual and physical well-being. Anything that takes His place in this has become a "false god."
But how does money take God's place in reality?

In the United States, we need money to buy food, clothing, housing, and utilities. These are all the basic things we need to survive. How does God provide for our physical well being without money?

The song in Psalm 20 you quoted doesn't portray the horses and chariots as gods or false gods though. Two teams playing basketball. One team relies on their skill and training to win the game. The other team relies only on God to win the game. Does that mean the team relying on God doesn't practice, learn the rules, work out, etc.? IMO, they will work just as hard as the other team to get in shape and prepare for the game, just as the armies in Psalm 20 did.

I don't see that people rely anymore on money than they do on food for their physical well being.


Psalm 20:7 presents horses and chariots as alternatives to God. Perhaps "substitutes for God" or "substitute gods" would be more accurate terms than "false gods." We can quibble about the semantics, but I believe this is what many people mean by "false gods."


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by purpledawn, posted 05-03-2011 1:35 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by purpledawn, posted 05-04-2011 8:05 AM kbertsche has responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 1122 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 21 of 150 (614473)
05-04-2011 1:41 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by purpledawn
05-04-2011 8:05 AM


Re: Trust and Reliance
purpledawn writes:

quote:
Psalm 20:7 presents horses and chariots as alternatives to God. Perhaps "substitutes for God" or "substitute gods" would be more accurate terms than "false gods." We can quibble about the semantics, but I believe this is what many people mean by "false gods."
I disagree. It's a song that emphasizes the Hebrews had a powerful god on their side besides their own strength. Like I said, the Hebrews would still have prepared mentally and physically for battle and part of that is attitude.

Money is not a substitute god. Show me how people today consider it a substitute god. We have to get past the catch phrases and the creative writing and look at reality.

One can love their god all they want, but they can't just sit on their bums and not do anything. They have to work at survival.


Can you please clarify what you disagree with? Certainly you don't disagree that these are presented as two alternatives? Here again is Ps 20:7
quote:
Ps 20:7 Some trust in chariots and others in horses, but we depend on the LORD our God.

Notice the wording. It doesn't say "and we also depend on the LORD our God." Rather, it says "but we depend on the LORD our God." The word "but" is functioning as an adversative, "implying opposition or contrast." The text says they were depending on God instead of chariots and horses.

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by purpledawn, posted 05-04-2011 8:05 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by purpledawn, posted 05-04-2011 7:31 PM kbertsche has responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 1122 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 24 of 150 (614573)
05-05-2011 3:42 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by purpledawn
05-04-2011 7:31 PM


Re: Trust and Reliance
purpledawn writes:

The Hebrews would still have prepared mentally and physically for battle.

Even this commentary doesn't assume the Hebrews didn't prepare and doesn't imply the horses and chariots were substitutes for a god.

And some in horses - Some in cavalry, commonly a very material reliance in war. The use of horses in war was early known in the world, for we find mention of them in the earliest periods of history.

But we will remember the name of the Lord our God - That is, we will remember God - the name, as before remarked, often being used to denote the person. The meaning is, We will not forget that our reliance is not on armies, but on God, the living God. Whatever instrumentality we may employ, we will remember always that our hope is in God, and that he only can give success to our arms.


Perhaps our disagreement is just semantic. I agree with your commentary; it means that "our reliance is not on armies, but on God." It's an issue of reliance or trust, and two possible objects of trust are contrasted.

It may be helpful to look at occurrences of the phrase "false gods" in English Bible translations. Here are the passages I've found where multiple translations use the phrase:

Jer 13:25, where the issue is the object of their trust, similar to Ps 20:7 above:

quote:

NET: This is your fate,
the destiny to which I have appointed you,
because you have forgotten me
and have trusted in false gods.

NIV: This is your lot, the portion I have decreed for you,” declares the LORD, “because you have forgotten me and trusted in false gods.

NLT: This is your allotment, that which is due you,” says the LORD. “I have measured it out especially for you, because you have forgotten me and put your trust in false gods.


Jer 14:22, where the issues are both power or ability, and also the object of their trust:

quote:

ESV: Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are you not he, O LORD our God?
We set our hope on you,
for you do all these things.

JPS: Can any of the false gods of the nations give rain? Can the skies of themselves give showers? Only You can, O LORD our God! So we hope in You, For only You made all these things.


Jer 16:19, where the issue is strength and the ability to help:

quote:

NET: ¶ Then I said,
“LORD, you give me strength and protect me.
You are the one I can run to for safety when I am in trouble.
Nations from all over the earth
will come to you and say,
‘Our ancestors had nothing but false gods–
worthless idols that could not help them at all.

NIV: O LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.


Jer 18:15, where the issue is sacrifice:

quote:

ASV: For my people have forgotten me, they have burned incense to false gods; and they have been made to stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths, to walk in bypaths, in a way not cast up;

ESV: But my people have forgotten me;
they make offerings to false gods;
they made them stumble in their ways,
in the ancient roads,
and to walk into side roads,
not the highway,

WEB: For my people have forgotten me, they have burned incense to false gods; and they have been made to stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths, to walk in byways, in a way not built up;


Amos 2:4, where the issue is obedience:

quote:

NET: This is what the LORD says:
“Because Judah has committed three covenant transgressions–
make that four!–I will not revoke my decree of judgment.
They rejected the LORD’s law;
they did not obey his commands.
Their false gods,
to which their fathers were loyal,
led them astray.

NIV: ¶ This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Judah, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because they have rejected the law of the LORD and have not kept his decrees, because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed,



"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by purpledawn, posted 05-04-2011 7:31 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by purpledawn, posted 05-05-2011 7:45 AM kbertsche has responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 1122 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 32 of 150 (614704)
05-06-2011 6:51 AM
Reply to: Message 25 by purpledawn
05-05-2011 7:45 AM


Re: Trust and Reliance
purpledawn writes:

From the Jewish perspective, false gods are the gods of other nations.

It isn't about relying or trusting on everyday items to do what they are intended, but worshiping or relying on the god of another nation to provide for you as one feels their own god does.

As mentioned in Jeremiah 14:22, the ancients relied on gods for rain and sunshine to provide food. They sacrificed and gave praise to the god of their choice.

We don't do this with money. The personification of money in the NT to make a point against not sharing doesn't mean that people actually worshiped money. There may have been a god of riches called Mammon, but info is sketchy.

Even a god of money doesn't make money a god/false god.


If we can agree that "idolatry" is essentially synonymous with the worship of "false gods," it might be informative to look up "idolatry" in some Bible dictionaries. E.g. ISBE (the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia):
quote:

Idolatry ˆä-dol¿a-tri : There is ever in the human mind a craving for visible forms to express religious conceptions, and this tendency does not disappear with the acceptance, or even with the constant recognition, of pure spiritual truths (see IMAGES). Idolatry originally meant the worship of idols, or the worship of false gods by means of idols, but came to mean among the OT Hebrews any worship of false gods, whether by images or otherwise, and finally the worship of Jehovah through visible symbols (Hosea 8:5,6; 10:5); and ultimately in the NT idolatry came to mean, not only the giving to any creature or human creation the honor or devotion which belonged to God alone, but the giving to any human desire a precedence over God’s will (1 Cor 10:14; Gal 5:20; Col 3:5; 1 Pet 4:3). ...


The author (Camden Cobern) agrees that the original meaning is essentially what you have been saying, but that the meaning broadened with time to include a usage which is essentially what you are arguing against.

Paul equated idolatry with greed or covetousness:

quote:

Eph. 5:5 For you can be confident of this one thing: that no person who is immoral, impure, or greedy (such a person is an idolater) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Col. 3:5 So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry.



Since greed or covetousness is a desire for wealth that one doesn't possess, Paul seems to be saying that wealth can be a false god.

Also remember that Jesus said money is something which can be served like a God, in place of God:

quote:

Matt. 6:24 ¶ “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”



So it seems that both Jesus and Paul say that wealth or money can indeed be a false god.

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.

Edited by kbertsche, : format


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by purpledawn, posted 05-05-2011 7:45 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by purpledawn, posted 05-06-2011 9:24 AM kbertsche has responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 1122 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 34 of 150 (614733)
05-06-2011 10:21 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by purpledawn
05-06-2011 9:24 AM


Re: Trust and Reliance
purpledawn writes:

quote:
If we can agree that "idolatry" is essentially synonymous with the worship of "false gods," it might be informative to look up "idolatry" in some Bible dictionaries. E.g. ISBE (the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia):
It's a synonym when it refers to actually worshiping the idol of a god who is considered to be false. When used metaphorically as Paul uses it in the NT, it is not synonymous with worshiping a god.

quote:
So it seems that both Jesus and Paul say that wealth or money can indeed be a false god.
Figurative language used to make a point doesn't mean they really considered these things to be false gods nor does it make them false gods.

They aren't saying that wealth or money can be false gods. They are drawing a verbal picture by comparing greed and idolatry or money as a master. They are trying to dissuade the people from being greedy and selfish.

Comparing greed with idolatry or money with a master doesn't make greed idolatry or money a master.

Generally stating that money and power are false gods is inaccurate. It is one's own behavior with wealth or power that goes against one's religion or not.


So what's wrong with us referring to money as a "false god" in a metaphorical sense? Isn't that essentially what Jesus and Paul are doing?


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by purpledawn, posted 05-06-2011 9:24 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by purpledawn, posted 05-06-2011 12:40 PM kbertsche has not yet responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 1122 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 99 of 150 (615644)
05-15-2011 11:15 AM
Reply to: Message 95 by purpledawn
05-15-2011 8:07 AM


Re: Money Can Be A False God By Definition
purpledawn writes:

quote:

Additionally, we learn an idol can be a false god. When we examine the meaning of idol, we find that money seems to apply well in many instances, as it has been demonstrated money can be viewed as an image used as an object of worship without the meaning of (false) god being modified, providing one allows for a broad context defining worship.

Thus, if money is one's idol, it may also - by definition, be considered one's god or false god.


I didn't have time to address this earlier.

The broader meanings of idol (adoring a person) and worship (excessive adoration) are attested to the late 1500's.

I don't feel that having faith in an economic system is the same as choosing another god over God. We simply trust that every day things function the way they are supposed to.

When you take the later broad meaning of worship, many things can become false gods. It doesn't really reflect the Bibles issue with false gods.

As I've pointed out before, paying homage to idols in the Bible isn't about excessive adoration. Also the articles I've linked to aren't really talking about excessive adoration except when the love of money is thrown in.

The issue seems to be the idea that we have chosen these every day things to sustain us instead of God. They liken it to the Hebrews feeling deserted by their God and turning to other gods.

If my house is burning, I'm going to call the fire department. I'm not going to pray to God to put the fire out. A religious person may do both, but they will call the fire department. Adding a prayer to God doesn't change the fact that we trust that the fire department will come to our aid.

I don't feel that God, Jesus, or Paul were trying to tell us not to rely on everyday things or systems to function as they are supposed to. God literally did not want his people to bow down to the gods of other nations.

Trying to associate the things we rely on in our society as false gods is just a way to manipulate people IMO.


PD, I don't understand why you keep ignoring the New Testament? As shown in message 34, both Jesus and Paul equated covetousness with idolatry. This broader, metaphorical use of the term "idol" doesn't derive from the 1500's, but from the 00's (the first century) or earlier. It is a biblical metaphor, not a modern invention.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by purpledawn, posted 05-15-2011 8:07 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 102 by purpledawn, posted 05-15-2011 6:39 PM kbertsche has responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 1122 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 103 of 150 (615707)
05-15-2011 9:17 PM
Reply to: Message 102 by purpledawn
05-15-2011 6:39 PM


Re: Money Can Be A False God By Definition
purpledawn writes:

quote:
PD, I don't understand why you keep ignoring the New Testament? As shown in message 34, both Jesus and Paul equated covetousness with idolatry. This broader, metaphorical use of the term "idol" doesn't derive from the 1500's, but from the 00's (the first century) or earlier. It is a biblical metaphor, not a modern invention.
You didn't provide verses.

Absolutely false! I most certainly did provide verses, in Message 32, to which you replied in Message 33, to which I replied in Message 34. I didn't suspect you would forget or ignore them within two messages!

Here they are again, from Message 32:

quote:
Paul equated idolatry with greed or covetousness:

quote:
Eph. 5:5 For you can be confident of this one thing: that no person who is immoral, impure, or greedy (such a person is an idolater) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Col. 3:5 So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry.

Since greed or covetousness is a desire for wealth that one doesn't possess, Paul seems to be saying that wealth can be a false god.
Also remember that Jesus said money is something which can be served like a God, in place of God:

quote:
Matt. 6:24 ¶ “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

So it seems that both Jesus and Paul say that wealth or money can indeed be a false god.


Now please try to respond to these verses instead of ignoring them and/or denying that I have presented them.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 102 by purpledawn, posted 05-15-2011 6:39 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 104 by purpledawn, posted 05-16-2011 5:15 AM kbertsche has responded

  
kbertsche
Member (Idle past 1122 days)
Posts: 1427
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007


Message 106 of 150 (615829)
05-17-2011 10:00 AM
Reply to: Message 104 by purpledawn
05-16-2011 5:15 AM


Re: Money Can Be A False God By Definition
purpledawn writes:


quote:
Now please try to respond to these verses instead of ignoring them and/or denying that I have presented them.
As you noted, I did address them in Message 33. I also addressed the issue in Message 102. Jesus and Paul addressed behavior. Comparing greed to idolatry was Paul's way of vilifying greed. In reality, greed isn't idolatry either. He used an unacceptable action to vilify another unacceptable action.

So if those who compare money to false gods do so to vilify money, that's not a good message. Money is something that is necessary to daily life.

Do all the items in Message 81 deserve to be vilified?
Some even add church and children to the list.

Vilify the behavior as Paul did, don't vilify the object.


It seems to me that Jesus and Paul are "vilifying" attitudes more than behavior, but this is a quibble.

Paul uses idolatry as a metaphor for greed, and idolater as a metaphor for a greedy person. You can't have an idolater without an idol. Paul's metaphors imply that he views wealth (or possibly it's accumulation) as the metaphorical idol.

My point is that these metaphors are first-century biblical metaphors, not 20th or 16th century inventions as you have claimed.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 104 by purpledawn, posted 05-16-2011 5:15 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 107 by purpledawn, posted 05-18-2011 3:43 AM kbertsche has not yet responded

  
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