The Ten Commandments are not very popular in The USA currently. In fact, among the general poplulation they don't exist. Corruption has reached a such a degree in our culture that any kind of morality has been displaced by what can be called 'relativism', i.e. 'Whatever you can get away with'.
One of the most overlooked Commandments is Commandment Number Two:
"You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I The Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My Commandments."
This is the commandment against Idol worship. Now, taken to the extreme, some would interpret this as a condemnation against any kind of photograph or image. And for those who believe the only commandment is 'Do As Thou Wilt', this commandment/warning will have no meaning.
But the Commandment is not given to violate a sense of logic or reason. Photographs, films, even 'imagery' such as X-rays or MRIs can not only provide enjoyment, but be helpful in helping to overcome certain disabilities or injuries. But this is not the meaning. The caution is against the worship of inanimate objects, or representations of human beings or, indeed the worship of anything that is the creation of human magination, elevating these things above the living God. It is a caution against the worship of what is dead.
We know that even as Moses was descending from Mt.Sinai, the Israelites had already built an idol they were bowing down to, and were engaging in an orgy of revelry in worship of this 'god'. Moses was so disgusted by this behavior, he smashed the tablets in frustration and anger, being confronted with this human desire to worship that which is dead. Whether one views the Biblical story as an allegory or as an historical fact, the truth of the event remains. Humans fall prey to their own vain imaginations, and seek to elevate their fancies to the highest level.
Today, in the 21st Century, nothing has fundamentally changed with the great masses. The Idol Worship has merely morphed into a more intricate pattern, fueled by the world wide reach of technologies. We, of course have heard the terms 'matinee idols' or 'movie idols/stars' for many years, with the advent of film,
Hollywood, television and advertising. The thread of moden and popular musics has brought us 'rock satrs' and 'pop idols'. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with a love or appreciation of film, music, theatre, painting or any kind of art form, as these forms are a natural outgrowth of man's creativw spirit. As God created us in His likeness, so man has the ability to create artifacts and objects of beauty.
The problem comes when we begin to worship the creation, and fail to recognize that all is the gift of the ultimate Creator, working through us.
The advent of modern technologies, however, has led man into the abyss of his own worse tendencies. Mechanism such as the Internet, video and especially the visually oriented mediums contain a certain amount of what can be considered 'magic'. We fall under the sorcerer's spell, and we begin to worship a mechanism.
God is a Person, not a mechanism; any worship of mechanisms is a worship of the dead.
We now have the specter of 'virtual reality' i.e a worship of images that look real and can be manipulated, as a substitute for 'actual life'. Again, this is a sorcere's spell and the worship of what is dead. The result os such immersion in 'virtual reality' is a deadining of the human spirit. We have soldiers using 'virtual technology' to carry out mass murder, murder that is detached and imperson, just a 'video game'. We have children watching and playing video games that allow the manipulation of 'human looking' figures instead of learning socialization skills by real human contacts. We have parents who find it 'easier' to occupy their children's time with these technological tools, instead of spending actual time teaching their children. This is a further result of Idol Worship, in the form of the worship of money and 'things', consumerism, which again is a worship of something that is dead.
The 'worshipping' of human beings because of their looks, power or charisma is as old as the human race itself, but with the spread of the new technologies, this form of spell casting is multiplied exponentially and becomes a force of mind control. The recent Michael Jackson death and the events after it, with many glorifying him as a 'god' is a good example. Some might object to this term, but the evidence is certainly all around us. There is an 'American Idol' television show.
We watch the omnipresent cell phone user, who is so wrapped up in this tiny toy that makes sounds and noises that they detach themselves from any kind of 'actual reality'. Have you ever almost been hit by a car whose driver was yapping on the cell phone to the point where they forgot where they were? Even worse, the cell phone can now produce images, often time so small that the user can be seen straining their eyes just to see these tiny pictures that appear like magic. While these phones and the Internet itself can be used as wonderful tools for communication, they are also 'hypnotizers'.
In conclusion, we see that this Second Commandment, one that is often overlooked, is actually a serious warning against something that is very real. Whether we worship gods made of gold, paper or silicon and electronics, we worship something that is dead. And, if we believe that God created us in His own image, we can understand His jealousy. Do we not get jealous when we are rejected for 'the latest thing' in some cases a person, or when we are pushed to the side for motives of material gain?. Yes we do. He does also. But His anger is quite beyond the scope of our understanding, and when we provoke Him, we are entering a very dangerous 'no man's land'. Whether it be the worship of money or the fascination with the 'spider's web' like powers of 'virtual reality', we are playing with forces that pose spiritual dangers. Better for us to turn back to the One who gives Life, than to glorify what is dead. Wisdom is found in finding a balance. Peace to you all.