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False religion

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The worship of anything that is not God, including any form of religion that fails to do justice to the glory and majesty of God. Scripture criticises both the practices and the beliefs of false religions.

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The nature of false religion

Man-made images are worshipped

Acts 17:29 NRSV
Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals.
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Created things are worshipped

Romans 1:25 NRSV
because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
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Secular authorities are worshipped

The dragon in Revelation may be understood as the devil and the beast as the antichrist: the forces at work behind the human authorities that defy the rule of God.
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Demons are worshipped

Deuteronomy 32:17 NRSV
They sacrificed to demons, not God, to deities they had never known, to new ones recently arrived, whom your ancestors had not feared.
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False religion is based on man-made traditions, myths and philosophies

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False religious practices


1 Kings 14:23–24 NRSV
For they also built for themselves high places, pillars, and sacred poles on every high hill and under every green tree; there were also male temple prostitutes in the land. They committed all the abominations of the nations that the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.
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Human sacrifice

2 Kings 17:17 NRSV
They made their sons and their daughters pass through fire; they used divination and augury; and they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.
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False religion ensnares its adherents

It offers no help in time of need

1 Samuel 12:21 NRSV
and do not turn aside after useless things that cannot profit or save, for they are useless.
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It prevents people from finding the truth

Jonah 2:8 NRSV
Those who worship vain idols forsake their true loyalty.
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It devalues, degrades and defiles

2 Kings 17:15 NRSV
They despised his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their ancestors, and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false; they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do as they did.
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It leads to immorality

Numbers 25:1–2 NRSV
While Israel was staying at Shittim, the people began to have sexual relations with the women of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.
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It enslaves

Galatians 4:8 NRSV
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods.
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False religion receives the full force of God’s anger

Jeremiah 16:18 NRSV
And I will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations.
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