Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Nature of Idolatry

"Granting something ultimate value does not necessarily mean attributing a set of metaphysical divine attributes; the act of granting ultimate value involves a life of devotion and ultimate commitment to something or someone.

"Absolute value can be conferred on many things... In this extension of worship, religious attitude is perceived not as part of metaphysics or as an expression of customary rituals, but as a form of absolute devotion, an attitude that makes something into a godlike being.

"What makes something into an absolute is that it is both overriding and demanding. It claims to stand superior to any competing claim.... Any non-absolute value that is made absolute and demands to be the center of dedicated life is idolatry."

-- "Idolatry" by Moshe Halbertal and Avishai Margalit (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1992)

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