The Cult of Celebrity


The term "cult" usually refers to a heretical religious group. In the mainstream context, cult has also come to mean "small and marginalized." But apologetics sites such as Contender Ministries provide Scripture-based evidence to suggest that latter definition is not entirely adequate.

There exists in today's society a cult that is neither small nor marginalized. It is commonly referred to as the cult of celebrity.

With the advent of worldwide communication in the past 100 years — specifically in the media of film, television, popular music, and most recently the internet — celebrity has become a far-reaching phenomenon.

Isaiah Chapter Two:

8 Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made.
The cult of celebrity does not exist in a vacuum. It cannot be dismissed as without harm. Today's men and women consciously feed the celebrity machine, not only by what they consume, but by what they believe. Modern identities are formed less and less by worshipping God and more and more by worshipping men and women.

A keen observer will argue that no intelligent, free-thinking, self-possessed individual would ever willfully worship another human being. But man is not equipped with a plenary free will. From an early age, men and women's identities are formed. The pervasive nature of today's popular culture inculcates in children the need to identify with the celebrity. Their focus is not on God but on man, and these patterns can remain uninterrupted through adulthood.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians Chapter Ten:
12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
The cult of celebrity not only leads men and women to worship others but to worship themselves. In modern society, people have come to expect their time in the spotlight or "15 minutes." The current popularity of so-called "reality" programming is a testament to today's obsession with celebrity.

It is not unusual to find that modern man, pop culture savvy and literate, has a more intimate relationship with his favorite celebrity than with the Living God. So ingrained is the cult of celebrity that the average individual can recite to you the details of the celebrity's personal and public lives, simply as a matter of course.

The issue is not fame or success or even the existence of celebrity; the issue is the worship of those things. Worship does not occur only within the confines of hallowed walls. Worship is a state of being.

Jesus said in John Chapter 14:
6 I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.