Ralph Waldo Emerson sez:
A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will come out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping, we are becoming.
I thought of this quote in the context of the famous C.S. Lewis “Liar, Lunatic, or Lord” argument, quoted in The Believing Brain:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with a man who says He is a poached egg — or else He would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.
The language of this quote has always struck me as way over the top (without even getting into its dubious logic — are those the only possibilities on offer?). It seems to me that not everyone is a worshipper, no matter what Emerson says. But apparently there are lots of folks who must worship someone or something. Francis Collins seems to be one of them; Lewis had a profound impact on his conversion.