Skip to main content

The Real American Idols

This was a posting I created for Facebook, but given the nature of FB (and even this blog--ephemeral) I thought I'd repost it and add some commentary. I don't know that these are in any particular order and I also don't think that I am completely immune from the allure of some of them.

Here's an easy one:

America is obsessed with sex (and yet, I'd wager so is every other nation on earth, they just don't have billions of dollars to spend on advertising, entertainment media, and pornography.) We're fairly gnostic about the whole thing. Some claim our bodies don't matter "It's only my body, it's not like that's my soul or anything!" We don't celebrate sex among the aged (unless you count the erectile dysfunction commercials) or the infirm. No, the only bodies we want to see naked are air-brushed, slicked-up, photo-shopped, and muscular and toned. I think we're scared of any other kind of body.


Again, not something particular to America, but we have the mass media infrastructure to either showcase those who have it (to wake the green-eyed monster) or to constantly blather on about how much more you can make with this program, and don't you deserve better, and if you can't pay for it now simply charge it. All of us bear some blame for this current economic crisis. Sure, some of us didn't take huge loans with no possible way to pay back, but did we curb our consumerism? Hardly! That's Un-American--after all, our entire economy is G.O.D.'s--Grow Or Die! And now look at it. If you decide to stop consuming needlessly you might be put on the Department of Homeland Security's list of potential Right-Wing Extremists.


Who doesn't want to be famous for something? How many of us jump up and down, frantically waving our hands when the TV cameras are present for the accident? How many of us eat up People magazine, TMZ, and all kinds of celebrity gossip? Why, we'll watch someone who's simply famous for being famous. I don't know about you, but I am so thankful that my local newscast will forego truly interesting stories about my community in favor of Miley Cyrus' latest comment or what new project Brangelina are working on to fill our vacuous lives. Somewhere between sex and celebrity is the hinge of youth.


This one is a bit trickier--perhaps more insidious, since it's less obvious. Autonomy intrinsically, like sex, is a good thing. We should strive to rule ourselves--with virtue--but we in the West have radicalized it. Now it's "You can't judge me--only God can judge me!" "Who the fuck are you to tell me how to live my life?" On and on. I'm not interested in telling you how to live your life, but sir, madam, hardly any of your choices are truly private. How you choose to live in many ways affects me and my children. Perhaps if you'd think of others once in a while, beside your highly divinized self, maybe, just maybe we wouldn't have all the problems we do right now. "Choice" is this idol's sister.

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

This is the most recent idol seen in these parts for it requires a bastard form of Christianity (or perhaps Judaism). Here are the tenets of MTD:
1) God exists and He made everything.
2) He doesn't do much these days except leave pennies and dimes for me to find.
3)He certainly doesn't expect to lay any demands on my life.
4)God does, however, want me to be happy, hence #2.
5)The highest virtue, in fact, is for me to be happy.
6)The only true moral code to live by is "Be Nice," unless that interferes with #5 (can you see the idol of autonomy creeping in here?)
7)If I follow #5 and 6 then surely, when I die, I will receive my reward in Heaven.

What other idols could you add to this list?


Anastasia said…
Very astute observations.
I concur.

I might add "Youth" to that list.
Scot said…
Yep, I tied that in with sex and celebrity.

Popular posts from this blog

Worth Quoting

"Therefore whoever is not illuminated by such great splendors in created things is blind. Anyone who is not awakened by such great outcries is deaf. Anyone who is not led from such great effects to give praise to God is mute. Anyone who does not turn to the First Principle as a result of such signs is a fool.Therefore open your eyes, alert your spiritual ears, unlock your lips and apply your heart, so that in all the creatures you may see, hear, praise, love and adore, magnify and honor God, lest the entire world rise up against you." -- St. Bonaventure, Itinerarium mentis in Deum

Dirty Hands Can Save You from Hell

"Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place." --Pope Francis, Laudato Si
     Wonder and awe abound in the natural world for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

     Perhaps we are caught short by a vibrant purple emanating from the petals of a wild lupine. We might stare wide-eyed at the lazy circles of a turkey vulture soaring on thermal air currents. Even the most agoraphobic city-dweller can find something beautiful about a landscape even if it's simply the warm and varied red, yellow, and orange of a sunset glowing on a building.

     "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" asserts the Psalmist. If that verse is true, why don't we live like it? Why are we flabbergasted trying to come up with the names of the many plants and animals we pass by everyday?

     All people respond to beauty in some way or another--even those who have willingly or unwi…

The 11th Hour

If you haven't celebrated Christmas by now, you're not likely to start. Conversely, you don't have to quite let it go yet.

Fight the ahistoricity! It's a feast of twelve days and depending on how you count, this is eleven or Epiphany Eve.

In the Christian East, tonight is the vigil of Theophany.

Theophany/Epiphany are two different sides of the same coin.

The West honors the Magi--who represent all of us goyim--and the miracle at the wedding at Cana (water for wine, anyone?)

The East honors Jesus' baptism, and in more minor ways his circumcision and the Magi, too.

It's all about a manifestation, a revealing, a shining forth. The Trinity is revealed (at the baptism), salvation is revealed to all the world (the Magi), the start of Jesus' public ministry (Cana).

Just as the Incarnation honors all bodies, as the Son suddenly was born with one, so Theophany honors all the Earth's waters.

Paralleling the Jewish Festival of Lights, this perfectly winds down th…