Table 2 Subject Category:

  • Christianity
  • Buddhism
  • Hinduism
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Primitive Religion


    I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images (Isaiah 42:8).

    You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5).

    The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things (Acts 17:24-25).

    God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).

    For such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers (John 4:23).

    Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, and has not sworn deceitfully (Psalm 24:3-4).

    Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus...Iet us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:19, 22).

    For through Him we...have our access in one Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2:18).

    You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:5).

    For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).

    Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15) .

    Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised (I Chronicles 16:24-25).

    Sing praise to the Lord, you his holy ones, and give thanks to His holy name (Psalm 30:4).

    To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever (Ephesians 3:21).

    And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased (Hebrews 13:16).

    I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1).

    Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).

    Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God (Psalm 100:1-3).

    Worship the Lord with reverence, and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way (Psalm 2:12).

    God highly exalted Him...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).

    For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me and every tongue shall give praise to God" (Romans 14:11).

    To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever (Revelation 5:13).

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    In most cases what looks like worship before a statue or image is really a sort of paying respects. The Buddha is revered as an example of a saintly life and as the one who brought the teachings of Buddhism; Buddhists are taught that they must themselves overcome the obstacle of ignorance.

    Meditation in Buddhism can focus on one's breathing (important because it is halfway between voluntary and involuntary action), one's own attitudes (as in Mindfulness meditation, in which one tries to be clear at all times as to one's true motives for every action), a neutral object, or a bodhisattva. In each case the purpose is to divest oneself of craving and sense of self.

    In some sects it is believed that a bodhisattva can transfer his merit to a supplicant and so aid him to nirvana. In those cases the Buddhist becomes very much like a worshiper petitioning God for grace and mercy.

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    Hindus have a magical and legalistic notion that one can acquire spiritual "points" through contact with all manner of holy objects and persons; that is by and large the Hindu notion of grace. At least among the uneducated an image of a family god is kept in the house, and villages generally have their local icon as well. Animals such as cows, monkeys, and snakes are revered. Certain rivers--the Ganges in particular--are thought holy, and bathing in them is thought to improve one's karma.

    Even among more intellectual Hindus certain portions of scriptures are memorized and chanted, sacred stories are acted out in plays and songs, and gods are prayed to in an ecstatic manner. Holy men are highly revered, and in serving them Hindus hope that some of their holiness will rub off and aid them to salvation.

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    Muhammad is not worshiped: only God is. Because of strict rules against depictions of human forms in art there is a strong impetus against idolatry or saint-worshiping in Islam. Allah is extolled in hymns that depict his power and majesty. But even Allah cannot be ultimately leaned on for salvation, because salvation is man's responsibility. Thus his guidance, in the form of words rather than persons, is emphasized.

    For that reason the Koran is revered as perhaps no other book. It is probably the most memorized book in the world.

    Acts of worship in Islam are embodied in the "five pillars": A Muslim must (1) recite the basic creed, "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet"; (2) recite prayers in praise of Allah five times daily while facing Mecca; (3) give money to the poor; (4) fast for one month a year; and (5) make a pilgrimage at least once during his lifetime to Mecca, the city where Allah revealed the Koran to Muhammad.

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    Ritual and ceremony are still important within Judaism. The purpose is to hallow all life, to share one's life with God. Jewish writings say, for instance, that to eat or drink without praying is like robbing God of His property. Thus Jews have a full calendar of daily, weekly, and yearly celebrations.

    A major part of such celebrations is the remembrance of sacred history. Stories, both biblical and nonbiblical, relating God's deliverance of Israel are retold countless times.

    There is sometimes a certain boldness mixed with piety in Jewish worship, as can be seen in the story of the Jews in a Nazi concentration camp who put God on "trial" for allowing the Holocaust: they found Him guilty and then resumed their humble prayers of worship and praise.

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    Worship also has the purpose of binding members of the community together, of giving them a sense of common purpose. (When people from diffeent tribes with different gods meet, they usually speak in terms of the "high" god.)

    Totemism, the use of certain animals, plants, and even human artifacts such as skulls to contact the spiritual realm, is common. Idolatry in a strict sense--believing that an image or animal actually is a god--is rare. Most often such worship is symbolic.

    Fasting, self-mortification, and drugs are used to attain states of trance. The purpose is sometimes to obtain communication from the world of spirits and at other times actually to participate in the life of the god, to "be" the god for a short period of time.

    Each group usually has at least one "holy man," who regularly makes journeys to the land of the gods and heroes for the good of the community.

    Power, rather than justice, love, or mercy, most often characterizes the object of worship.

    Taken from: The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error 2. Compiled by Steven Cory. Copyright 1986, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Moody Press. Used by permission.

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