I grew up kissing mainly perfumed rocks (and sometimes mahogany wood) chiseled into the likeness of men and women. Really. I grew up thinking it was a holy thing to do and every time I knelt and prayed to the statue, I thought I was doing God’s will and that it pleased the Father in Heaven. Please bear with me and read the passage below about what God feels about idols.
“This is what the Lord says
Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God.
Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
and what is yet to come—
yes, let them foretell what will come.
Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”
All who make idols are nothing,
and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
they are ignorant, to their own shame.
Who shapes a god and casts an idol,
which can profit nothing?
People who do that will be put to shame;
such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
they will be brought down to terror and shame.
The blacksmith takes a tool
and works with it in the coals;
he shapes an idol with hammers,
he forges it with the might of his arm.
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
he drinks no water and grows faint.
The carpenter measures with a line
and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels
and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form,
human form in all its glory,
that it may dwell in a shrine.
He cut down cedars,
or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest,
or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
It is used as fuel for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself,
he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
“Save me! You are my god!”
They know nothing, they understand nothing;
their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
No one stops to think,
no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;
I even baked bread over its coals,
I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left?
Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
he cannot save himself, or say,
“Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”
I grew up praying the Rosary as my relatives thought they were pouring their hearts to God which half the time ended up as gibberish babble late at night. I witnessed them falling asleep in monotonous ramblings. Imagine having to say The Apostle’s Creed, The Mysteries (Glorious, Sorrowful, & Joyful) depending on what day of the week it was, 50 Hail Marys, 50 Holy Marys, 5 Our Fathers, 5 Glory Bes and what not all in one sitting. They recited it super fast that you could hardly make it out if you weren’t Catholic. And no, I am not making this up because I’d clearly be sinning.
The sad thing is if you ask them what they’re reciting meant to them personally, they can’t explain because they learnt it through memorization without bothering to know the meaning of what is being recited, which is still plain nonsense because they’re not directing their prayer to God, but more like an invocation to Mary and we know she is NOT God. I was guilty of doing this myself and believe me, being young, I was bored. My boredom took over my desire to appeal to God through the rosary, my prayer, clearly not coming from the pressing things in my heart, but rather a prayer formulated by the Catholic Church.
“And praying, do not use vain repetitions like the pagans, for they think that in their many words they will be heard.”
The Pope and The Queen of Heaven
Then there’s the Pope. I grew up thinking the Pope was the holiest man alive on the planet. I grew up as a Catholic under the “reign” of John Paul II (a.k.a. Karol Wojtyla). He happened to be a hardcore Queen of Heaven worshipper. Queen of Heaven happened to be the title of a pagan goddess in Jeremiah’s time and the same title is ascribed to Mary by the Catholic Church even to this day.
“We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord! We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our ancestors, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine.”
The Ecumenical Movement
Not only that, Pope John Paul II held an Ecumenical Movement in Assisi, Italy in 1986 which had Spiritists, Snake worshippers, Buddhists, and Islamic Clerics to name a few supposedly praying to the same God. You can say he actually got that right. They were praying to the same lower case ‘g’ god, not the GOD of the Bible, but the devil in his many guises.
God couldn’t be any clearer when he said in Isaiah 42:8,
“I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another or My praise to idols.”
True Believers are a danger
The current pope, Francis (a.k.a. Mario Bergoglio) says in 2014 that it is ‘“dangerous” the temptation to believe that one can have “a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ without communion with and the mediation of the church.”’ Imagine that. If we dwell on that statement, we bible-believing evangelical Christians may as well hope he won’t in the future ask to round us all up because apparently, having communion with Jesus in Spirit and in Truth is dangerous especially since we refuse to be under the jurisdiction of the “Holy Roman Catholic Church.” For someone deemed as the “Spiritual Father” on earth, he sure doesn’t sound so biblically inclined does he?
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
The Cross, a failure
Pope Francis then reduced Jesus’ salvific death on the cross during a speech on his visit to the US in 2015 as a failure “humanly speaking”. It might have appeared that way but it seems he’s stuck on the death of Christ because His crucifixion didn’t just end there, it ended with His resurrection and forever overcoming the sting of death for all mankind. It seems the pope forgot what the book of Colossians said that the Cross was a triumph, not a failure,
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.“
At the risk of sounding like an unapologetic iconoclast (I really don’t mind people thinking that of me), I would rather expose the evils behind the facade of Catholicism’s religiosity, than remain quiet and continue to witness people who are misdirecting their sincere devotion to God in the person of Jesus Christ, who deserves ALL of the worship and glory, to idols instead. Jesus, God in the Flesh, exposed the false teachers in His time. He saw their hearts and they knew Him not. With Jesus as my Lord, I am called to follow in His footsteps.
I plead, if you love hearing about the things of God, glory in the fact that the Holy Spirit is wooing you for John 6:44a states, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them…” But you need to make a decision. Who are you going to follow?
Certainly not the pope, I hope.
And lastly, this is not an ad hominem attack on the pope or any Catholic for that matter. It is a reminder to heed the Bible’s teachings rather than the pope’s heretical utterings.
[Image Credit: OP (Original Poster) time.com]