A lot of god-mocking from Augustine in this morning’s reading. Since the world of those gods is a foreign world to us, I’m not sure that I want to spend much time there and the quotes aren’t that relevant. I think instead that I’ll talk about the very good activity of mocking gods. Our gods are also too numerous to count and our worship of them is inconsistent and contradictory. We worship our political systems, our guns, our freedoms, sex and our bodies, our lusts, our televisions, our iPhones, technological advances, sports teams, science, food, drink, and on and on. Augustine does go on and on to name dozens of Roman gods. We refuse to name our gods and give them personality but we love to worship them and set them above ourselves and above others. Apparently anything that can be given or received as a gift can be a god. Too easily we turn a good gift into an object of worship. I admire the Romans’ ability to attribute personality to each of their gods – they at least were honest about their worship. We just worship and then pretend that we control our gods. This, I would think, is a better arrangement for the demon gods – they receive worship and go on controlling us while deceiving us into believing that we are in control so that we never address our idolatry.
So, mockery. One way to point out and deal with the gods that we refuse to name as gods. Politisto-crat-aos – the god of the political order, whose priests are led into immorality and chaos and who want to drag us all down with them. Cap-destructo-hand-ismo – the god of the free market, whose “creative” destruction destroys all that is good and hopes that someone else can build something to appease the masses. Speaking of masses, many worship Mass-ass-rifleutio (Mass-Ass for short) – “you’ll have to pry my semi-automatic assault rifle out of my cold, dead hands!” Yes, and they will be cold and they will be dead, later if not sooner. My names aren’t exactly inspired, but you get the point. The reality is that we worship and don’t see it as worship. Horrifying.