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Idolatry is godlessness of the religious.
Idolaters have no doubt that their religion is right; they are zealous in worship and observance - hence, they are religious. Yet, their god is merely a thing of their own invention, having nothing at all to do with real God - therefore, they are godless.
To the Hebrew prophets who first noted the phenomenon of wasteful, misguided, but sincerely pure-hearted religious zeal, the term "idolatry" meant just the worship of objects made with hands.
But to think of it, there is no difference between this kind, and the gods imagined in one's mind. That kind of gods does not exist in reality either - and worshipping them is just as wasteful, just as wrong, and just as idolatrous.
Which brings into the realm of idolatry the whole new set of characters - the so-called "True Believers" - people like Osama bin Laden, ayatollah Khomeini, and a few hundred million others, who claim that their "scripture" is God's word - and act as if it were.
Why are the "True Believers" wrong, and idolatrous to boot? Because a basic problem of cognition, the problem of the third party, completely de-legitimizes their claim to know what is God's word. It denies them the ability to know whether their "scripture" is the word of God, or not. The reality is very different from what they imagine it to be. In reality, they cannot possibly know whether Mohammed was a prophet or whether Koran was God's word, and err when they think they do.
Which is precisely what idolatry is all about – ignoring reality as God made it, and inventing a reality of one’s own, all complete with a God of one’s own invention, either made of stone, or imprinted on the mind from some “scripture.”
Paradoxically, it does not even matter if idolater’s Truth is indeed true: even in that case he remains just a mere idolater.
Idolatry is not an innocent thing. Idolater’s Truth inspires him to action – because others also need to see the light of the Truth and deviations from the Truth must be punished. Free thought must be suppressed, for where can it lead but away from the Truth? Iran, and North Korea, and China, and Saudi Arabia are all based on the Truth – which explains why they are so oppressive. Idolater’s Truth, be it religious, social, or any other kind, leads only to oppression and spiritual death. And physical death, too – what we saw on 9/11, 2001 was idolatry in action.
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