Why Worship?

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A professor once told me that worshiping violates something about the moral dignity of a human being. Worship involves, at a minimum, recognizing another being as supremely worthy and as greater than oneself.

At the time I was puzzled as to why rendering worship to God, should be thought to diminish human dignity. Why are we less because God is more? As I reflect now, I realize that many Christians share the concern that worshiping something else degrades humans beings. We do believe that idolatry, that is the worship of anything but God, is not only an affront to God but also to our humanity. We also commonly believe that humans must functionally worship something. It is only a question of worshiping God versus idolatry. Worshiping God completes our humanity and our moral dignity as persons. Worshiping anything else undercuts our humanity and our moral dignity as persons.

As I am sympathetic to the above claims, I suspect that I partly agree with my professors claims about worship being unworthy of humans, but only certain worship. At the same time, I completely believe that worship is essential. A human being must be related to God appropriately to flourish. The thought that we can do just fine without worshiping anything is an illusion.

All of this leaves me hungry for an account of what worship is, and there is much of that account I do not have. I hope to explore that in the future, for my own sake and for the sake of those who think worship unnecessary.

Ideas? Leave a comment below.

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