I was telling the story of the three Hebrew men in the fiery furnace to some of our Day Care children, when one of them asked, “What’s an idol?” They didn’t quite understand the idea of “bowing to an idol” and why that was so bad.
We can fall prey to idols – those things which we make more important than our relationship with the Lord – even good things like comfort or health, convenience or happiness, spouse or children.
In the book Love: A History, Yale scholar Simon May calls human love our “new god.” In his chapter “Love plays God” May writes: “Human love … is now tasked with achieving what once only divine love was thought capable of: to be our ultimate source of meaning and happiness.” May contends that we’ve changed the Bible’s statement “God is love” to “love is god.” Here are some of the core beliefs for this new “religion of love”:
- Human love is the universal form of salvation available to all.
- We don’t need “long, disciplined training” to learn how to love because most of us can love spontaneously and without effort.
- Human love is always kind and harmonious—a haven of peace.
- Human love transports us beyond the messy imperfections of the everyday world into a superior state of purity and perfection.
- Human love delivers us from all of life’s losses and sufferings.
May writes, “These sorts of ideas saturate popular culture … To its immense cost, human love has usurped a role that only God’s love used to play.” It’s only in that relationship with God that we can fill our insatiable need for love.