Idol – “A face which is not a face”

“Be on your guard against idols.” (1 John 5:21)

Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicholas Poussin
Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicholas Poussin

The first at the top of the list of The Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai is: “I am the Lord, Thy God: thou shall not have strange gods before me.”  The people of Israel do not want to endure waiting to see the Face of God,  and so fashion an idol, a Golden Calf, the “work of their hands”, which they can see.  But, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1) Idol worship is the opposite of faith.

We no longer live in a time where people worship an idol as a Golden Calf, but the world certainly worships an array of “strange gods.” The Dictionary gives many definitions of an idol: 1. An image used as an object of worship. 2. A false god. 3. One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.  But, the definition that fits better than these is one that was used in the Encyclical Letter Lumen Fidei, “Martin Buber once cited a definition of idolatry proposed by the rabbi of Kock: idolatry is “when a face addresses a face which is not a face”.

How do we recognize these false faces for what they are?  First, in order to recognize what is false, we need to know what is true. Pope Emeritus Benedict said, “While we too seek other signs, other wonders, we do not realize that He is the real sign, God made flesh; He is the greatest miracle of the universe: all the love of God hidden in a human heart, in a human face.” In other words, we need to seek the face of God by looking at the face of Jesus Christ, who is the Truth. “God… has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Face of Christ.” (2 Cor 4:6) At The Incarnation,  God became man to redeem us and now God’s Face can be seen: the Son of God, made man and He is given a name; the all-powerful name of Jesus, at whose Name every knee shall bend.

It is an interesting fact that false faces, or idols, go hand-in-hand with a false name.   Euthanasia is re-named “Mercy,” Abortion – “Compassion,” Sexually disordered actions – “Love,” murder, rape and beheading are carried out in the name of “Religion” and the media now turns its adulation to man named Bruce, who is re-named “Caitlyn.”  Bruce Jenner, through surgery, cosmetics, and a multitude of other deceptions now has the appearance of a glamorous female, “Caitlyn.”  This particular idol is unmasked  in the article “Pretty Little Lies” by Lauren Enk Mann, who points out that this is how the devil, the father of lies, by appearing as an angel of light, deceives humanity.  But, the reality is, “Lies are ugly things, but the point of a lie is that lies hide their true face; they don’t seem ugly, but attractive and appealing.”  The full article may be found here:

Our true identity is that we are made in the image and likeness of God and we must resemble Him in the end.  Truth leads us to life. The false name and “the face which is not a face” erase the identity of the human person and leave something which is horrible in it’s place: an idol, which leads to death. Truth and faithfulness go together, therefore we must seek always and everywhere what is true, live in truth and lead others to truth in charity, in order to  see the Face of God.

“We also know the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true.  And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.  He is the true God and eternal life. Children, be on your guard against idols.” (1 John 5:20-21)

Christ Pantocrator, St. Catherine Monastery, Sinai
Christ Pantocrator, St. Catherine Monastery, Sinai






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