I’ve been known to say (jokingly of course) “Google knows all. Praise the all knowing Google!” My search history on Google has been extremely eclectic of late. When I’m bored I like to learn about things: everything from the Big Bang Theory to obscure religious groups/cults. I’ve also been trying to find a place to get my album mastered, and I was very recently doing research for a paper on eschatology (the study of the progress of history until the coming of God’s kingdom). You really can find anything just by typing it into that little search box.
Obviously a search engine doesn’t actually know anything; it’s just well equipped to find things. They say knowledge is power, and the Internet is extremely helpful when it comes to gaining knowledge. Sometimes I wonder what it really means to be smart. When I was little I thought it was simply knowing things that made a person smart. I don’t think so anymore. It’s how we use the factual knowledge we have that makes us smart. Intelligence also comes in the form of problem solving. The ability to think through things and fix problems or get out of situations is invaluable. Lastly, I think intelligence is knowing how to use power.
I think in the simplest terms, power is the ability to influence others and create change, whether for good or ill. What needs to be clarified is that “influence” and “control” are two very different things. Control, I think, is when influence turns to the dark side. In my theology class, which just finished yesterday, we talked about how a relationship with God is all about obedience. This is an obedience that people consent to. No one is forced into it. The same kind of thing goes for people’s obedience to each other. In the workplace, for example, people will happily work under a superior with no complaints if they like him/her and think that he/she is fair, etc.
These ideas are relevant when it comes to what people worship. It is impossible to deny that everyone worships something. In fact, most people worship many things to varying degrees, people of faith included. In fact, I’ve been known to say (jokingly) that music is my secondary religion (blasphemy, I know.) What I mean by that is simply that I love it–a lot. I can create it and interpret it and perform it, and though I can’t touch it or hold it, it’s very tangible to me. It helps me connect with people far beyond what my faith alone can do, and gosh darn it, it makes me happy.
Obviously I believe that there are right and wrong things to worship. Being a Christian, I believe that one is only supposed to worship God in a fairly specific way, etc. Beyond that, though, I think there are more right and more wrong things to worship. People worship things, and people worship other people. They do this because those things or people have power over them in some way. During his reign, the people of Germany worshiped Hitler because many of them believed that he was infallible and that he would restore their country to greatness, but also because he was a psychopathic tyrant who scared the crap out of everyone. The things people worship are often very good and intangible. For example, it can probably be said that some people worship philanthropy. In a way, this is like worshiping one of God’s traits without attributing it to anything or anyone greater. People often worship other people whom they are very close to. Admiration is a kind of worship, and so is love.
People worship who or what has power over them. Of course this is not always the case, but it is true. This can take many different forms. What is also true, however, is that people do not always worship a particular thing or person. This is because things and people change and sometimes have more influence in peoples’ lives and sometimes less. This is absolutely true of pop stars. For example, 12 year old girls worship Justin Bieber. However, these girls grow up and practically forget about him because they’ve moved on. In a sense, this is what it was like for the followers of ancient pagan religions. There were thousands of gods, and those gods were constantly changing; one day being kind, the next day, not so much. People needed thousands of gods because they couldn’t always rely on one for help and guidance. This is why monotheistic religions are so strong. God can change his mind, but his nature doesn’t change. He does everything out of love for humanity, and according to his plan which doesn’t change. That is why worship of God can stay consistent, unlike any created thing or any one person.
Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!