Idols of Our Times
Saturday, January 13, 2024 by Jeff Walton

In my third installment of words and phrases that confuse and mislead Christians and add to an atheist’s arsenal of arguments against a belief in God, I mentioned one significant source of sin that can lead followers of Jesus Christ down a path of destruction.


I believe the type of sin I referenced is so pervasive in our culture and so destructive – particularly for our youth – that I feel compelled to expound on the topic.


Before I discuss the idol in question, I must point out that I write not as a preacher speaking from a lofty ivory tower of moral superiority or piousness. I write as a fallen sinner who struggles with the same temptations and sinful nature that we all have in common.


With that said, we should remember that most Westerners – including myself - live a life of comfort and excess in our daily lives.  According to a U.S. Federal Reserve consumer finance survey in 2022, the net worth of an average American household, adjusted for inflation, is $1.06 million. While Americans enjoy a very high standard of living compared to much of the world, over 50% of the world’s population lacks indoor plumbing.


Relatedly, even many low-income American families have cell phones, internet access, and wide-screen TVs – luxuries unheard of in many developing countries.


What does prosperity have to do with sin and salvation? A lot, in my humble opinion.


God made clear in the Ten Commandments that we should have no other gods before Him and make no idols that we would bow down to or serve. Unfortunately, our ancient forefathers did both.  Even the Israelites, who were God's chosen people and whom Joshua led into the promised land, regressed into the worship of many false gods, including Baal and Ishtar. 


For an in-depth discussion of the evil powers from the past who have now returned to a backslidden and increasingly sinful world, I highly recommend Jonathan Cahn’s landmark book, The Return of the Gods.


2 Judges 10:6

Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashthoreths.


Baal is an evil ancient god known as the possessor who leads people away from the one true God and toward the worship of money, power, and pleasure, and the Ashthoreths is the plural for a group of evil spirits who serve their master, Ishtar, who is the queen of immorality, sexual sin, prostitution, adultery, and pornography. The two are linked; many view them as lovers or married in a carnal sense.


We do not know the origin of either god. Still, we can assume Father God created them as righteous supernatural beings and that they fell with Satan and became major powers in the second heaven.


Why are Baal and Ishtar important?  Because many Christian researchers agree that when America began to push God out of our public schools, our government institutions, and the public square in the 1960s, Baal and Ishtar rushed in to fill the vacant house, and with them, they brought rebellion and sexual sin.


The Book of Luke provides a clear warning of what happens when someone or some country accepts Jesus Christ and then turns away:


Return of an Unclean Spirit

24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”


As Jonathan Cahn points out, two of the critical events that pushed out God and ushered in Baal and Ishtar back into American society were the removal of prayer and Bible reading from our public schools. I witnessed the falling away firsthand, as I was in middle school, when the changes took effect. 


The U.S. Supreme Court declared prayer in public schools unconstitutional on June 25, 1962, in Engel v. Vitale. The following year, in the Abington School District v. Schempp, the Court disallowed Bible readings in public schools for the same reasons.


At the same time, our nation began to move away from God, we entered a time of post-WWII prosperity. America became the world's only superpower; its economy came to life – raising the standard of living for most.


With our wealth and the culture of comfort that came with it, we began to develop technology that magnified our potential to obtain earthly pleasures – many of which contained the seeds of destruction. 


One of the areas in our culture that imploded was in the area of sexual morality.  The 1960s also heralded the start of the sexual revolution that brought down our sexual mores as a country. Many seasoned observers identify 1967 as the year it all began.  My generation, the Baby Boomers, was severely impacted by the sexual revolution in a very negative way. In a sense, the moral guardrails of our culture fell off.


As our slide has continued unabated for decades, we now find ourselves with the potential to descend down a path of unintentional idol worship and, ultimately, sin and eternal death, even if we have professed our faith and belief in Christ.


How so?


Our lives of relative comfort give us sufficient spare time to pursue an almost limitless supply of entertainment and leisure activities.  Today’s smartphones and other electronic devices offer us a portal to a previously unimagined digital world of entertainment, information, and a great sin.  Pleasure or perversion is just a few clicks away.


The digital outlets we choose for entertainment can quickly become idols. Sports figures and teams, Hollywood stars, famous musicians, and any number of media personalities can gain our attention to the point that we spend more time thinking about them than we do Jesus Christ.  I’m guilty of that sin, and I struggle daily with the urge to spend hours looking at the things I like rather than focusing on the One whom I truly love and need – Jesus Christ.


The threat from digital devices is particularly serious for our youth, who don't have a clear set of moral values.  Many spend hours scrolling through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Tick Tock. Unfortunately, a child’s unsupervised access to the internet will most likely have disastrous results.  I believe many of our youth – and some not so young – have fallen prey to the digital sirens who beckon the bored and the lonely.


A recent opinion piece by the Epoch Times editorial staff, entitled Popular Culture – A Decadent Indulgence, summed up the magnitude of the problem succinctly:


"The introduction of the internet and smartphones has brought major changes to the porn industry. The total amount of pornographic content that a typical adult in the 1980s might have been exposed to over the course of years can now be accessed by a child in mere minutes.  On average, children are now exposed to pornography by the age of 8. One 12-year-old British boy became so addicted to online pornography that he raped his sister."


Of all of the temptations that our youth face in our rapidly declining culture, online pornography is probably greatest threat. Parents must be vigilant when monitoring the digital content their children consume. While access to pornography was very limited in my youth, now a child can view pornography in the privacy of his or her room, at no cost, and on demand.  I can’t think of a more destructive and toxic vice than the addictive sin of viewing pornography.


Many of us know that while scrolling for completely innocent content, we sometimes see sexually suggestive images intermingled in our AI-controlled feed that stimulate a normal human response.  If we're not alert and fail to control our dopamine cravings or hormonal responses and allow them to overpower us, we can click on a lust-stimulating image and get pulled into a moral cesspool that can lead to a porn addiction and ultimately eternal death.


In addition to our innate physical responses, we get added "help" from the likes of Ishtar and her subservient army of demonic entities who pump urges and appetites into our spirit and soul. The perfect storm of lustful appetites is created.


Some may think, what can be so wrong about admiring a shapely but scantily clad female or male body? We’re in the 21st century and long past the age when puritanical values shackled our ancestors with feelings of guilt.


We need to look no further than the Bible, where Jesus tells us that lusting after a woman or a man in a person's heart is considered adultery.  We are all guilty, but we can and must confess our sins and move on.  However, if we rationalize in our mind that a few glances at a shapely person are harmless, we are setting ourselves up for a disaster.


A contributing factor in our culture today is the almost complete collapse of our moral boundaries.  In decades past, sexual relations between two people were to be within the confines of marriage. Sex – a gift from God - is supposed to be an act of loving intimacy that leads to procreation, not just an activity for physical pleasure alone.  Now, we live in a hook-up, shack-up, and breakup culture that has all but destroyed God’s institution of marriage and family life.


Our entertainment is a major contributing element.  Sexual images permeate movies, television, and online content. We gradually become desensitized to sexually promiscuous content to the point that it provokes no sense of moral conviction.  If we allow ourselves to continue to view sexually suggestive or explicit content, we run the risk of acting on our urges and sinning.


If we don’t resist the worship-like attention to fellow humans and material objects that digital platforms facilitate, we will pursue our love of things instead of our love of our Creator and our Savior.  Cars or similar high-value possessions can also absorb our attention and our covetousness.  One needs to look no further than the ubiquitous car auctions on cable TV.  One can spend hours watching wealthy fellow Americans spend thousands of dollars on a refurbished muscle car or rare exotic auto. 


Resisting all of the idol worship opportunities is increasingly difficult in our secular culture.  Still, we must hold tight to the reality that this life is temporary, and our eternal life after physical death will be filled with either constant ecstasy or unimaginable suffering.


We have to choose who or what we worship – the Son of God or the temporary offerings of this world.  I hope you choose wisely – I struggle to do so daily.






Share This Blog:

Previous Posts

Should You Be Concerned about the Coming April 8, 2024, Total Solar Eclipse?
Jeff Walton


Idols of Our Times
Jeff Walton


Christianese: Christian Phrases and Words That Cause Confusion - Part Three
Jeff Walton


Christianese: Christian Phrases and Words That Cause Confusion – Part Two
Jeff Walton


Christianese: Do Some Christian Phrases and Words Confuse You? ? Part One
Jeff Walton


Final Departure is now available as an audiobook!
Jeff Walton


UFOs and the Bible - is there a Connection?
Jeff Walton


Stay Out of Hell!
Jeff Walton


How Much Attention Should We Pay To the Coming End Times?
Jeff Walton


The Mechanics of Eternity: What Happens When You Die
Jeff Walton


How Old Is The Earth? And Why Does It Matter?
Jeff Walton


A Call to Action - Time to Pray for Our Nation!
Jeff Walton


New Christian Suspense - The Sequel to Final Departure is Here!
Jeff Walton


Is Hell for Real?
Jeff Walton


8 Reasons Why Christians Should Not Ignore Near-Death Experiences
Jeff Walton


Labels Are Destroying the American Conversation
Jeff Walton


23 Minutes in Hell - the Catalyst for Final Departure
Jeff Walton


Fake News from a Christian Perspective
Jeff Walton


Are the claims about Disney’s occult roots true?
Jeff Walton


When a Christian Leader Misspeaks in Public - What Should a Follower of Christ Do?
Jeff Walton


Is the Media Promoting Satan?
Jeff Walton


Is the study of the Bible’s structure actually promoting the occult?
Jeff Walton


The Book is Done, but the Author’s Not Finished
Jeff Walton


Why are NDEs a prominent part of the Final Departure’s Story?
Jeff Walton


Confused About Religion?
Jeff Walton