By Donald P Ames
According to the Post-Tribune (Gary, Ind. 8-6-76), a 1,000 year old, 4-1 / 2 foot, 263 pound, bronze “god” of the Hindus turned out to be a -fake and a fraud. The “god,” Siva, is the third in their trinity, and is supposed to be their god of dancing and creativity in the fine arts. The 4-armed idol was originally discovered in 1952 and placed in the temple to be worshiped by millions of Hindus. In 1954, it was sent to a restorer for treatment, and that is where the trouble began. Somehow a switch was made, and it was not until 1958 that they discovered they were worshiping a modern replica instead and that the original idol had disappeared. A search was launched, involving even the international police; now it has finally been found here in America, where the legal owner, having paid $900,000 for it after it passed through several previous owners, has been granted permission to display it until 1985 before returning it to their temple in India.
Reading the news item, I could not help wondering what must have been the reaction of those millions of Hindus who have bowed down to, prayed to and offered incense to the fake idol from 1954 to 1958, only to discover that it was not the real thing but a fake. It must have been a big disappointment to learn that it could not help their dancing skills despite the fact they had been convinced it could. I wondered how many might have even returned to thank it for the help they assumed they had received from it, before learning it was a fake. No doubt many were firmly convinced it had helped them before the exposure was made known.
Meanwhile, the real Siva idol was being passed through various hands and being bartered over like an old clay jug dug up in the tenth century ruins. No doubt this “god” resented (?) such actions, and those who had sold it into such. I wonder if it expressed such displeasure as God did in I Sam. 5? And imagine the displeasure it must have felt toward the Hindus for bowing down to a dumb modern replica and thinking it was as good it the real idol! I wonder if it reached out via prophets and warned them to repent, as God did with Jonah? I also wonder how the Hindus got along without this idol before 1952, and after 1954. I wonder if they ever noticed any differences?
Of course we know that such idolatry is without true knowledge. And we may feel sorry for those who have not learned “they have no knowledge, who carry about their wooden idol, and pray to a god who cannot save” (Isa. 45:20). We also know the modern replica was as capable of granting their wishes as the original-and that neither could do anything, since the image was formed by the heart and imagination of men. But, let us also remember it is our responsibility to tell them so. It is our responsibility to lead them (and others) from such idolatry and back to the true and loving God (Acts 17:24-31). And so, before we chuckle over such lack of understanding today, let us ask ourselves what we have done to teach them the truth on the matter. Yes, we need to hang our heads in shame!
But, it might be good for us to note that we have people who are pursuing idolatry just as strongly here in America. They are busy serving such to the very best of their ability, and some are even so hypocritical as to profess to also be followers of Christ as well. Paul says in Col., 3:5 that greed is idolatry, and serving such is just as “foolish” as those who bow in worship before a bronze “god” (1 John 2:15-17). 1 pray we may not convert these Hindus from one form of idolatry to another, but might succeed in leading all idolaters back to the true and living God-and we might best begin by working on those “heathens” right here at home!
Yes, sometimes “foolishness” is in the eye of the beholder! Are YOU worshipping the wrong “god”?
Truth Magazine XX: 48, pp. 759-760
December 2, 1976