My household idol is better known as a cell phone. I feed it with daily infusions of electricity, and it promises me the divine freedom to talk with whomever I wish, wherever I wish. I don't really mistake my cell phone for a god. Then again, archaeologists tell us that even after the worship of YHWH was firmly established in Jerusalem, Israelites were still cherishing their Canaanite idols.
Much of what we call idolatry in "primitive" societies is simply an alternative form of technology. Idols promise some control over the world. Serve the sky god's idol properly, and he will reward you with favorable weather. Propitiate the voodoo figurine with the appropriate sacrifices, and you will have control over your enemy. Every idol is an attempt to gain an edge on the world, to have some leverage over chaos. That is, essentially, what technology—whether in the form of cell phones, central air conditioning, or missile-defense systems—promises as well.
Of course, we resist ...1
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