I listened to a sports radio guy talk this morning about what he calls the “worship gene” that plagues so many of the people he knows. He was referencing how blindly and obstinately people will defend sports heroes and celebrities in the face of irrefutable evidence of misconduct. And they do this, he asserts, because of this worship gene. He sees a strong inclination within people to move from admiration to adoration. I sat there thinking of how right and how wrong he was.
It’s incredible insight from an unbeliever to see and acknowledge that there is something hard-wired within us that draws us to worship. It’s almost as if we were actually made to worship. This is, in fact, exactly what the Scripture affirms.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.” – Isaiah 43:6,7
We are indeed, as others have noted, homo adorans (worshiping man). The question is not if we will worship but who or what we will worship. And this is where the radio host gets it so wrong. His answer to the worship gene as it related to sports stars and celebrities was to figuratively take off the jersey with the other person’s name on it and put on the jersey with your own name on the back. Without explicitly saying it, he was advocating that the cure to hero worship was to worship yourself instead. But he doesn’t see that as worship. He sees self-focus as the cure to worship, when it turns out to be just another form of being homo adorans.
The key is understanding that we were not only made to worship, but we were made to worship One. The Triune God created us for His glory. We are made in His image and will only be truly human when we are doing what we were made to do. As St. Augustine famously prayed,
Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.- Augustine, Confessions