Friday, January 13, 2006

Worship: the instinct

Humans are hardwired for worship.

Humans see beauty, greatness, natural phenomenon, mystery, the terrible, vastness, and enormity and can not help but to stand in reverent disbelief, disgust, appreciation, or awe. Our response to anything, no matter how flashy or mundane, is the same; we place value on it. Try as we might, and we have tried, humanity cannot get away from the inescapable furrow of placing value and importance on the many possessions, ideologies, relationships, and knowledge that is the atmosphere we breathe and clog our lungs with. We subscribe to each thing some tidbit of value and appreciation, which, would suggest that we value some things more then we value others, which, would suggest that we value one thing most and one thing least. What we value most is what we worship; what we value least is its adversary.

Humanity possesses this bottomless myriad of these deep and internal motivations to move, to create, to communicate, and to express themselves all the while attaching worship or adversary to these actions. Each of these internal motivations, with there cling-on attachments, is actually ruled and fed by the old adage, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” And so it is with worship; humanity will take upon themselves the insurmountable task of attaching worship or adversary to every move, creation, communication, thought, and action. We have to worship something – it is hardwired into the very make-up of the human existence. Don’t believe me? Try and not give value to something.

Nobody should have to teach us that, when our stomach rumbles and we have this undeniable ache and desire for food, we are hungry; in fact, it is impossible to teach hunger. Hunger is simply known.

Worship is simply known.

In fact, worship is so wired into the humanness of humans that some people even go to the great extent of building a religious belief, icon, or image just to have something to worship.


Dan Richardson said...

I don't have time to comment other than I totally agree...just thought I'd beat all the other internerds in saying happy birthday first...old man

jeffro said...

i very much agree.. also. our own existence often leads to an awareness of the instinct of worship. it goes back to the question of origin... for if we truely are created beings...(thanks to a inate sense of morality.. aka. Lewis' Moral Law) what/who/where deserves our worship... the why is simply answered in their superiority to ourselves.

good thoughts jer.
please make this a series.

peace.. and word on the street a birthday?
you a january? me too.. next week in fact..

peace. jeph.

Jeremy Postal said...

Maybe the question of origin leads to a nice and neat God-ward inspired worship....but I am not sure it is weighty enough to assume all worship (which is what I was talking about in this particular column.)

A series? Yep...8 parts.

And word on the street has got it is my birthday! I am a firm believer in wearing my birthday suit for good long lenghts oftime on my birthday...feel free to imagine.

Anonymous said...

Intriguing comments Jer! It is a strange concept for the "world" to grasp, that they do indeed "worship" the things that are important to them, money, stereos, cars, material objects in general.....
As you look around any church in North America, possibly the world, you can see it there as well, people giving praise to God, some individuals deep in worship, others who life spills out of the building and this worship extends to every part of thier bieng.
It has taken me a while to "get" a few things, but I am starting to understand more and more that God does not mind us having objects in our lives, it is where we place the objects value.
I love the fact that God "hard-wired" us to worship, that He made it a deep rooted needed part of our existance, and as we grow in Christ, as we go to the Spirit of Christ more and more during all aspects of our lives, we discover that what we worship is indeed "what we value most" and for some, it is Christ, YHWH, the Holy Spirit....our Creator and Father....
so yes, we may surround ourselves with things and objects, but if God is first, if He is what we place first in our lives, then it is He we give true worship to.

Bless ya

Anonymous said...

yeah, I often think about this too, I find it cool that the ways we express our worship is fairly universal as well. Like song, and dance. Off hand I don't know one person who has never done either of those, or one group of people, nation, tribe that does not do that regularly...

props on the good writing, I would like to hear you speak one day.

jeffro said...

sorry jer.
i don't understand one thing..

you agree and say origin leads to a godward type worship... however this post is encompassing all worship... but isnt all worship in responce to a godward instinct.

i guess... is has to do with semantics.. i mean.. worship.. in the sense of purely admiration or in the sense of awe and amazement.. or sublime?

do i make sense amigo?

Jeremy Postal said...

I actually suggested that "Maybe the question of origin leads to a nice and neat God-ward inspired worship".

Try and think about the question "isn't all worship in response to a godward instinct?" outside of the Christian culture. What happens then? From outside, wouldn't it seem a little too abrasive, a little too narrow, a little to exclusive, and a little too arrogant to agree with a "yes" answer to this question?

The reason I say that it might (as opposed to does) lead to a godward instinctual response is because maybe Chrisitianity doesn't have the whole handle of truth in regards to worship? That's what I want to explore. With out the Christian God......what is worship??

Jeremy Postal said...

Opps....forgot one thing:
Cody > do you mind if I use part of your comment in a latter post?

Adamus Maximus said...

i definitely agree that people worship instinctually. people need worship because it gives them value . . . even purpose in life. what is the meaning of life if it is not found in the act of worshipping? it's funny how we as humans change it and make it less than the original. imagine going for a walk around a beautiful garden with God himself and talking about cars, snowboarding, why we are valuable . . . about anything. post-fall [of man] worship is different in that the action is applied to things other than God, such as power or pleasure. also it is limited in that the word "worship" is now used to label music in church and now only worship is only musical. boo-urns to that! my life has more value than engaging in music and feeling emotional: i am a friend of God!

Adamus Maximus said...

um . . . omit the first instance of "only" in that last comment. it's a typo.

jeffro said...

ahhh.. thanks jer.

that makes sense..
i understand what your getting at now.

peace man.

Anonymous said...

no problem man, as long as you upload more audio in your web page... :) kinda nice having contact with you again.

DCS said...

So if the definition of worship is to value something, then we worship many things - many things that are not worth worshipping. If worship is limited to just that which we value most, most of us probably have no idea what we worship as we have not taken the time to evaluate what we value most. But then .... maybe I shouldn't spending time on the definition but rather on evaluating what I value.

Steve said...

Worship is God-inspired. It is one of the drives God has put in us. However, because of the 'sinful nature' the whole idea of worship can become scewed, misinterpreted, and wrongly directed.

As for evaluating was we value, worship towards GOd is honoring God with your life.

Break it down- what does worship usually encompass? Giving yourself, devoting time towards something, focusing in on this one thing for varying amounts of time, and it is something that drives you. If this is applied to objects or people instead of God, it can become extremely harmful, and be therefore called, idolatry.

The drive to worship is MORE than just a drive. It is a need. It is placing such a high 'value' (if you will) on something and it is considered to be above all else. This need is not normally included in the 'essentials' list (food, clothing, roof over your head, etc). However, it does create a will to live and helps give purpose. If I worship cars- as in spend all my time on cars and they they are so great nothing can compare, my goals in life will be aimed around cars and will have something to do with them. i think this would apply to everything.

kris said...

i agree were all hardwired to worship..look at all the peeps now and throughout all time that are longing for something more "spiritual" -with that is the desire for something greater to worship.. look at all the peeps goin to new age and buddhist type belief systems, not to mention everyone worshipping money etc...i think there is a large group of ppl out there who acknowledge in Yahweh..but dont want to live their lives as they "should" maybe because they dont wanna be held accountable, i suppose theres lots of reasons ive heard,i find it interesting how ppl can purposefully refuse to satiate their hunger to worship Him, tho they know Him, at least to some degree..kinda like you know its dinner time .. you should eat..but choose not a diet..hmm maybe its like theyre dieting spiritually..well.. can only hope they result is the same as food diet, theyll eventually get hungry and need to be filled up:)ok that was totally from out in left field .. oh the question i would have is how do we connect to those peeps.. as described above..and build relationships, and as a Christian, introduce them to someone who is much more worthy of their worship.. no, not talkin about me :P..when they already think they have it all?? buuut.. thats probably for another post:) i love run-on sentences,,dont need to worry about punctuation. sorry sometimes my thoughts can get a bit random :)

Z said...

I've been thinking a lot about your question "Without God, what is worship?" Putting that together with the suggestion that worship is what we value, what do people who choose not to worship God value? It kind of seems like the top three are money, sex, and power, but people don't seem to get much satisfaction out of them. I don't know of anyone who has put one of those three as their top priority in life and felt like they've been successful when they come to the end of it. Maybe Christians do have the definition of worship wrong but I'm not so keen on trying the definitions that people without God have come up with because the things they seem to value have only led to short-term gratification.

Chad said...

Worship minus CAPS lock God, or Yahweh. What is it?

Like Jer posted, we worship what we value most. We place value on everything. Does it make sense that if we value something more than everything else, we are attempting to possess or aspire to that thing/person/idea? If I place the most value on something, it is the thing that I most want, admire, obsess over, think about, revere, etc. and ultimately try to identify with it fully. It takes a place in our lives higher than any other, and in that place, the highest viewed and recognized place in my life, I want to be like it.

We become like what we worship.

So worship without God is to become like something/someone other than God.