An idol is that image, representation or person who is worshiped as if treated as a deity . Therefore, the concept of idolatry can be understood in the context of religion or even outside of it.
in its religious sense
In the Bible there are many references to this concept and it usually has a negative connotation . In sacred texts, idolatry is understood as the veneration of false idols. Thus, when men turn away from the true God and honor any other figure, Christianity understands it as a deviation from the authentic love of God. In the Bible it is stated that one cannot worship another figure other than God.
The story of another’s calf during the exodus of the Israelite people exemplifies the condemnation of any other form of worship that is not intended for God.
In addition to the religious context
Although idolatry had its origins in the Abrahamic religions , this concept was transferred to other non-religious dimensions. In the political field, certain leaders have become authentic mass idols or saviors of the homeland .
This phenomenon fits with figures such as Perón, Napoleon, Mao, Stalin, among others. With these characters, there was a clear phenomenon of idolatry: they were followed by large masses as if they weren’t any human being, in addition, unusual qualities and gifts were attributed. In the artistic or cultural context, the same pattern is also repeated, since great artists or sportsmen became idols of the masses and were revered for their extraordinary qualities.
In non-religious language, idolatry is called mythomania and it also has a negative connotation, as it makes the person like one more of the herd to follow the idolized character.
Idolatry from the point of view of psychology
A sacred animal , a venerated image or an admired character have the same mental mechanism: the human being needs a superior being to guide his actions and project his aspirations, in this way he finds shelter in gods, people or animals, projecting an ideal of perfection to be your vital guide or reference.