Noah Webster defines idolatry as the worship of anything (i.e., reified atoms, science, gravity, laws, evolution, natural selection, powers, energies, forces) or anyone (i.e., Darwin, Buddha, Indian godmen, Transcended Masters, Obama) which is not the true supernatural God. Idolators are by definition pagans, said Webster. (American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828) In "Against the Heathen," Church Father Athanasius writes that in the beginning wickedness did not exist. It was men who later on began to contrive it and to elaborate it to their own hurt through invention of idols, treating what was not as though it were.
Man's descent into idolatry began when men made light of higher things, noted Athanasius, and deliberately disregarding what they knew to be true began to seek in preference to things in the natural dimension and primarily, nearer to themselves, meaning their own minds, bodies and senses. In so doing they fell into lust of themselves, preferring their own prideful thoughts and sexual pleasures to God:
"Having then made themselves at home in these things, and not being willing to leave what was so near to them, they entangled their soul with bodily pleasures, vexed and turbid with all kind of lusts, while they wholly forgot the power they originally had from God."
In our own age, the fall of the West and by extension America, was the subject of Richard Weaverâ€™s book, â€œIdeas Have Consequencesâ€ (1948), a penetrating investigation into the historical spiritual foundations of the Christian-based West and itsâ€™subsequent deterioration through rejection of itsâ€™ own foundations.
Weaver concludes that the Westâ€™s fall is traceable to an evil decision made by Westerners in the late 14th century. Enticed by the philosophy of nominalism expounded by William of Occam (d.c. 1349) Western man rejected the supernatural God and replaced Him with idols---the omniscient Mind of man (reason) and self-created Nature. The doctrine of Original Sin was abandoned and replaced by another idol---the â€˜goodness of man.â€™ Higher Truth was rejected. In itsâ€™ place was the lower thing, the idol Reason, and said Weaver,
â€œSince only the physical world of the senses was held to be real, religion declined, rationalism arose, and materialist science increasingly became the most prestigious way to study man.â€ (The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America, George H. Nash, pp. 32-33)
Weaver writes that the post-Christian West has been in retreat from higher things for centuries,
â€œ...from first principles, from definition, from true knowledgeâ€”that is, the knowledge of universals.â€
Athanasius writes that when men fall in lust with 'self' and sensory pleasure they have no regard for truth and goodness, thus their tongues are given to slander, gossip, insult and lying while their hands are given to stealing and striking fellow-men. Their sense of smell is given to many sorts of lascivious odours, and their feet make them swift to shed blood, while their belly's are given to drunkenness and insatiable gluttony. Their rebelliousness leads them to commit murder and adultery instead of lawful procreation.
In the former Soviet Union, committed marriage was replaced by promiscuous "free love," procreation by abortion, and in excess of one-hundred million men, women, and children were brutally slaughtered by God-hating materialist communists.
All wickedness, said Athanasius, is a vice and sin of the soul,
"neither is there any cause of them at all, but only the rejection of better things."
Having fallen away from higher truth and moral goodness, said Athanasius, men gave to evil a substantive and independent existence. They imagined that matter is evil and invented another god besides the true One, "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and claimed that he is the producer of evil, the head of wickedness, and artificer of Creation."
An example of this is the inverted exegis taught by lawless Pre-Christian, early Christian and modern neo-Gnostic pagans such as the materialist Karl Marx. Ancient and modern Gnostics attribute all evil to Yahweh, the creator of evil matter, while exalting the devil, Lucifer, as man's genetic creator, first free-thinker, and either the seething force of evolution or the angel of evolution.
Athanasius points out that the souls of idolators become materialised and their minds (spirits) darkened by forgetting God, thus,
"The race of men descends into a hopeless depth of delusion and superstition."
The soul of Karl Marx was materialized and his spirit "demonically occluded," said the esteemed political philosopher Eric Voegelin (1901-1985). In his book, â€œScience, Politics and Gnosticism,â€ Voegelin contends that certain ideological movements that emerged out of the Enlightenment are variants of pre-Christian and Christian-era Gnosticism. Among these are positivism, rationalism, Hegelianism, materialism, Marxism, Communism, National Socialism, Fascism, Progressivism, and Americaâ€™s â€˜God is deadâ€™ movement.
Athanasius describes modern Western and American neo-pagan naturalists when he writes that oblivious of the supernatural Divine and having fallen into pride, sensual pleasures, delusion, and superstition,
"they ceased to think that anything existed beyond what is seen, or that anything was good save things temporal and bodily; so turning away and forgetting that she was in the image of the good God, she no longer, by the power which is in her, sees God the Word after whose likeness she is made; but having departed from herself, imagines and feigns what is not (and) advancing further in evil, they came to celebrate as gods the elements and the principles of which bodies are composed.."
In other words, deep within the clamoring dungeons of their self-induced delusion they believe that â€œall that existsâ€ is the material or natural dimension and unseen energies, movements and laws which they reverence and to which they attribute miraculous powers.
With materialists such as Epicurus, the father of modern evolutionary materialism, all that existed was void, energy and matter, and human beings, their intelligence and volition, are an evolved accident of chance, thus Epicurus and his modern disciples "came to celebrate as gods the elements and the principles of which bodies are composed." With everything being void, energy and matter, the transcendent God, supernatural dimension, first principles, eternal ideas, the souls of men, spirits, and afterlife are absurdities. Only reason is left, but reason is active only because animated atoms (i.e., firing of neurons, chemical interactions) stimulate it.
Thus men, having fallen into delusion and superstition, have forfeited their own souls and are no longer able to see what a "soul ought to behold," but see only "the things which come under the senses." And so they imagine that "the God Whom her understanding has forgotten is to be found in bodily and sensible things," such as the firing of synapses and the movement of chemicals in their brains, and so they give honor to elements and grey matter.
All of this is evil, said Athanasius:
"Evil is the cause which brings idolatry in its train; for men, having learned to contrive evil, which is no reality in itself, in like manner feigned for themselves as gods beings that had no real existence. Just, then, as though a man had plunged into the deep, and no longer saw the light, nor what appears by light, because his eyes are turned downwards, and the water is all above him; and, perceiving only the things in the deep, thinks that nothing exists beside them, but that the things he sees are the only true realities; so the men of former time, having lost their reason, and plunged into the lusts and imaginations of carnal things, and forgotten the knowledge and glory of God, their reasoning being dull, or rather following unreason, made gods for themselves of things seen, glorifying the creature rather than the Creator Romans 1:25..."
Having fallen flat, they creep in the slime like land-snails, said Athanasius, and the most impious of them then set up as gods men, and the forms of men. In our own time impious atheist humanist idolators have set up as gods Darwin and mass murderers like Lenin, Hitler, Mao, Fidel Castro and Che Guiverra. Others, having created images of Obama, worship at his feet while yet other idolators await the coming of the spirit master Maitreya.
Describing their spiritual darkness, Athanasius writes it is as though,
"... a man had plunged into the deep, and no longer saw the light, nor what appears by light, because his eyes are turned downwards, and the water is all above him; and, perceiving only the things in the deep, thinks that nothing exists beside them, but that the things he sees are the only true realities; so the men of former time, having lost their reason, and plunged into the lusts and imaginations of carnal things, and forgotten the knowledge and glory of God, their reasoning being dull, or rather following unreason, made gods for themselves of things seen, glorifying the creature rather than the Creator Romans 1:25, and deifying the works rather than the Master, God, their Cause and Artificer."
And "...going lower in their ideas and imaginations" they transferred the divine and supernatural name of God at last "even to stones and stocks, and creeping things both of land and water, and irrational wild beasts, awarding to them every divine honour, and turning from the true and only real God, the Father of Christ."
In our time, pagan idolators have transferred the powers of God to the idol evolution and His divine name to the Soviet Union's "God-State" and more recently to planet earth, which they worship as the goddess Gaia.
"Straining impiety to the utmost," other pagan idolators," have deified...their own wickedness, namely, pleasure and lust, and worship them, such as their Eros, and the Aphrodite at Paphos."
In our own pornographic, party-hearty, hedonistic, gender-neutral, drug-soaked, gossip and scandal riddled age, pleasure, acquisition of things, status-seeking, back-biting, violence and lust reign supreme, taking precedence over higher things. And though not mentioned, Cybele, the Mother/Father gender-neutral deity with breasts, beard and hips and Attis, the son/lover have symbolically returned along with Cybele's high priests, the transsexual (i.e. lesbian), transgendered (castrated, breasts removed), and sodomite pristhood known as the Gallae (Gallus singular).
The Apostle Paul witnessed lewd Gallae cavorting down the streets of Rome. He described the male priests, faces garishly painted with make-up, wearing female clothes and long blonde wigs shamelessly offering themselves to onlookers. Today's Gallea call themselves "gays," bisexuals, garish drag queens, drag kings, lesbians, and transgenders, and like their ancient counterparts, they lewdly cavort down our streets during "gay pride" parades, shamelessly exposing themselves to all onlookers, even children, and making themselves sexually available.
Some historians trace the beginning of the fall of the West to the Renaissance, others to the Enlightenment and French Revolution. In any case, the once Christian West and Protestant America have fallen into pagan idolatry.
Idolatry is evil, and the truth as to evil notes Athanasius is "that it originates, and resides, in the perverted choice of the darkened soul" which prefers lower things to the higher things of the true God.