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Idolatry was real and still is

The more I study biblical archeology and the related areas it paints a all too vibrant picture of idolatry and how widespred and alarming its influence was.  We read of it in several places in the Old Testament, such as the discussion about Israel making their children go through the fire, and of course the golden calf.  It never really sunk in what the scriptures were revealing until I got to read about the subject from several perspectives.  I often thought "yea, yea, idolatry, and then what". But it was serious and is still serious today.  

Idolatry or false worship is a growing terror for the Christian today and shows no signs of getting any better. It is almost inconcieveable that the Israelites could get off the path so easily. It makes one wonder if they ever understood that the One who brought them out of Egypt, that fed them, and provided for their safeth and other needs, was the "real deal" and not the product of man's imagination.  Was it so important to be able to look at some physical object before faith or belief could be applied?  Is it that they only wanted to believe in what they could see?  Obviously not because they had seen the wondrous works of God and still fell back into Idolatry in almost the blink of an eye.  But what made the worship of so many false gogs and goddesses so appealing and perveasive?  I believe that that is a simple matter of wishing to do everything their carnal natures prompted without feeling guilty.  It was about just each person doing whatever they wanted and finding support for this through commonality and mutual support found within this dark shadow of sin. 

But then, it could also be that they believed that all of the gods were real and were even equl to God in sme respects.  Some believed, like the Hindus, in household gods, and basically gods that allowed them to be as vile as their imagination could produce.  It could be that these gods were merely excuses to do anything they desired or objects of some perverted ststus among the other lot souls across the spectrum of carnal lifestyles.  In other word they did this because theu were allowed to have fun and indulge themselves as often and perversely as they wished.  It also implies, to me, that they did not believe in a life after death or in the judgment that all will face. It suggests tht even with the signs and miracles they experienced first hand  that they still did not think God was any better that the thousands of false gods that permeated every culture.  Or maybe, they just didn't think at all... 

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