There are very few old school atheists around today. Most people believe in god, an unseen spiritual world and the existence of evil. Most people pray especially when facing difficulty or illness. There are numerous books on “higher consciousness”, “channelling”, “conversations with God” and your “personal angel”. Day time talk show hosts advocate prayer, though it’s your preference as to who or what you would like to pray to. Our world is very spiritual, but they have no clue about Jesus.
We could have been in Ephesus in the 1st Century. A very spiritual city – even boasting the temple of Artemis – but ignorant about Jesus. They prayed, recited special chants, wore good luck amulets to ward of evil and also believed in the existence of personal “spiritual assistants” who helped out from time to time. The average Ephesian practised magic as a way to manipulate whatever god was available to help in the desired way, like getting a girl to like you.
Paul entered the city and taught about the real God Jesus. Many Ephesians believed the truth about Jesus and according to Acts 19.19, “A number who had practised sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly.”
The mass book burning bonfire was not protest action against the government for poor service delivery, but a visible demonstration of their repentance. Many realised that not all spirituality is good. In fact, spirituality without Jesus is useless, so you might as well burn your (very expensive) books on Wicca or higher consciousness.
Present day goddesses
However, you (yes you!) may say, I don’t worship any goddess or practise magic! Well, our gods and our magic are much more subtle today.
We worship gods like Economy-God, who even has his own prophets called “economists”, who preach sermons called “business reports”. We listen intently to these sermons and if the Economy-God does well our country will be blessed and all will be well.
We revere Money-God. He loves being worshipped at stadiums and his instrument of praise is the vuvuzela. When Money-God, also known as Fifa, hears his praise-summons he will come and bless our country and all will be well.
We venerate Child-God. We give Child-God all he wants lest his holy wrath descends on us in the form of a temper tantrum.
We honour Me-God. Me-God’s preferred place of worship is the divorce court, where Me-God can maintain his happiness, hobbies and Sony playstation.
Of course we also adore Sex-God, Status-God, Comfort-God and Mother Earth.
The truth about Jesus demands repentance: that we stop worshipping false gods and turn to the real God who has made himself known. How about a mass bonfire today as a visible demonstration of our repentance? We could burn our porno collections, our books on white magic, copies of the John Edwards show and all our little black books with cell numbers of old girl/boyfriends. In other words, we turn from these false gods in our lives and we worship Jesus.