Idolatry In The Three Abrahamic Religions

2077 words - 9 pages

Between the three Abrahamic religions, the concept of idolatry is always present. In each of the three religions idolatry goes through a changing process both in meaning and significance. However, the concept is very much alive in contemporary Judaism,Christianity and Islam, since it is the single sin and concept whose rejection or acceptance determines true monotheistic belief.
The idea of Idolatry is first introduced in the Hebrew Bible. In the Bible's account, Abraham was the first of the prophets that discovered the “Oneness” of God. During Abraham's time however, we see that it was common to worship images and multiple gods, as Terah, Abraham's own father, served other gods. (Joshua 24:2) Much of the Torah records the difficulty of the Jews to spread their belief in monotheism, especially when rulers such as Ahab promoted polytheistic approaches.(1 Kings) The attempt to spread the monotheistic belief was important since polytheism was a clear offense of the 10 commandments given to Moses by God as written in the Hebrew Bible. The first three commandments state “ I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, weather in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:2-6)
According to biblical story the Israelite were descendants of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, who were led and enslaved in Egypt by the Pharaoh, and who were then freed by Moses. Moses led them to the desert where God then gave the Israelites his laws (the commandments). The Israelites came from the Egyptian culture in which there was the worshiping of multiple deities. When they take over the land of Canaan, they “are tempted to emulate the Canaanites in their worship of a fertility god named Ba'al.(Oxytoby, 79) After the receiving of the commandments the Israelites became a sort of “loose tribal confederation”, who then shifted into a centralized monarchy. This included the building of the first temple under Solomon. After his death in 921 and until the Babylonian exile in 537 BCE, there is a struggle for the people to keep the commandments which is their end of the bargain per se, in order to keep David's covenant with God. During this time not only do the Israelites have to ward off foreign political dominance but also the foreign influence with regard to their polytheistic traditions.
What we now refer to as the first temple period can be summed as the time in which the fight against idolatry was the fight against the worshiping of multiple deities....

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