1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”
Idolatry is a sin, a much hated sin of God. It the equating or equaling of a human or invented god or anything for that matter with God. Giving His attributes such as omniscience, omnipresence, or omnipotence to any of His creation is called idolatry. The premise of idolatry is the idol. Now some might be confused as to what things would be an idol. Such as then saying “your parents” or “your spouse” is your idol and thus you commit idolatry. Not necessarily. The sin of idolatry needs a component of the idol as I mentioned, the equaling or equating that idol with God or in some cases flat out replacing God with the idol. So if you aren’t equating your spouse for example with the Almighty God, thus you are not committing idolatry.
Idolatry was a common sin among the Jews in the old testament. They would worship other gods, giving these other gods the same power as the Almighty God and thus commit the sin of idolatry.
Where is idolatry most present? Believe it or not, it is a common sin among those who claim they follow Jesus Christ. In many churches for example who will elevate a created being into basically a deity. The Roman Catholic Mary is a prime example. Now Roman Catholics will ask you not to believe your eyes and ears as they commit this sin, but it is in fact idolatry if you study the focus they have around Mary by their various feast days, their many doctrines invoking her name, their prayers, their various shrines and parades for her. Praying to Mary for example is a form of idolatry, because one would have to believe she in omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient in order to bypass God who is in Heaven.
Logic would tell you that atheists do not generally commit this sin of idolatry. Why? Because they don’t believe God exists, they are not equating anything to Him in a religious sense. Now if they claimed to be a “god” in their own right, they would commit the sin of idolatry or if they claimed by superstition a created being was omniscient, or omnipresent, or omnipotent, they too would then commit that sin. So I am not saying they don’t commit this sin, they just don’t do it as often or as prevalent as those in religious communities.
The common perpetrators of idolatry are religious. They have formed idols either by wives tales passed down or by superstition. An example would be kneeling in front of a statue or shrine, they are equating by superstition God’s omnipotence. Another example would be a ritual or gesture they would make to ward off evil for example, this is idolatry because again it presumes the gesture is channeling God’s omnipotence. Anything that would take the place of God Himself encompasses idolatry.
If you find yourself in a religion practicing idolatry, repent of this! God hates this sin!