Sacred Scripture tells us that as humans we are made in the image and likeness of God (see Gn. 1: 26). We are gifted with intelligence and free will. We can think and make free choices. Since Jesus, the Son of God, chose to become one of us—a man like us in all things but sin (see Heb. 4:15)—we are God’s masterpiece, His finest creation. He came to earth to die for us and for our salvation (see the Nicene Creed). We are worth not only creating, but also redeeming. We are that important and precious to God!
This being said, we must always remember that we are NOT God. We are not more intelligent than God. (We should be humble about what we think we know.) We are not more powerful than God. (We are not the author of creation, but simply its stewards.) We are not more perfect than God. (God is absolute perfection and holiness. We are imperfect sinners.) We are not unlimited like God. (We are finite creatures bound by time and space.) I could go on and on, but we should realize that in a side by side comparison, the scales weigh immeasurably in God’s favor. We are creatures, pure and simple.
As humans, often because of pride and other defects in our human nature, we create false gods. We project things on God that we would like to see, but that do not actually reflect the way God is.
The following is a list I created describing some of these false gods. There may be many more that can be added. However, we need to eliminate our distorted concepts of god (our false gods) and attempt to grasp the true image of God revealed to us in the Person of Jesus.
Do you ever worship these false gods instead of the real, true God?
- The sports god. This god is worshipped whenever we prioritize sports above more important matters. “Father please pray that the Eagles (or Phillies or Flyers, etc.) win today.” “I couldn’t get to Mass today because I had a soccer game/practice.” “Dad finds god on the golf course, out fishing, etc.”
- The god of convenience. This god fits into my schedule only at convenient times. “I couldn’t get to Mass because I am too busy.” “We decided to go to church this weekend because we all wanted to go to breakfast together afterward.” “I go to church only on Christmas and Easter.”
- The god of crisis. This god is only called upon or, perhaps, blamed when there is a personal crisis. “God please help me pass my exam!” “God how could you let this happen to my child!!!!” “God if you cure me of my cancer, I promise to . . . ."
- The sex god (or the pleasure god). This god gives sex the highest priority in our lives and capitalizes on base human instincts and drives. It thrives on pleasure as a good in and of itself. Just consider the gamut from Viagra, to internet porn, to sexting, to the shameless promotion of immoral heterosexual/homosexual acts and lifestyle, etc.
- The god of addiction. This god becomes all-consuming of my time, energy, financial resources, etc., over anything else. Am I controlled or consumed by alcohol, drugs (illegal or prescription), gambling, pornography, smoking, the computer, technology, sex, work, wealth, fashion, prestige, etc., to the detriment of other things in my life?
- The god of power (I am my own god). Whenever I deny the existence of God, think I know better than God (or perhaps His Church in its capacity as teacher of faith and morals), or live in such a way that God has no real or practical importance/meaning in my life, then, chances are, I have become my own god. I am all-powerful, all-knowing and the master of my own destiny. There is no room for a Savior.
The above list is by no means all-inclusive and is from my own limited perspective. I admit that I am a finite creature and very much in need of a Savior—Jesus Christ. He is the only true God and Savior that I desire to worship, imperfect as I am.
Fr. Ed Namiotka