False god

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Remains of Nergal gate in Nineveh, Iraq

In monotheistic religious denominations, competing entities or objects to which particular importance is attributed are often called false gods, as exampled by 2 Kings 17:30(NLV) which states with reference to false gods, "The men of Babylon made the false god Succoth-benoth. The men of Cuth made the false god Nergal. The men of Hamath made the false god Ashima".

A false god is, in Abrahamic doctrines, a deity or object of worship that is either illegitimate or non-functioning in its professed authority or capability, and further used as a definition of "idol".[1] The term is often used throughout the Bible to compare YHWH, interpreted as the one true God, infinite, body-less, image-less and transcendent as compared to physically anthropomorphic deities of competing religions (often also represented using idols). With the belief of some that "whatever we try to derive our core sense of meaning and worth is our god".[2] Martin Luther King Jr., a Christian, warned about the dangers of "turning one's natural worship drive in to false channels"[3] i.e. the worship of false gods, with the further understanding within Abrahamic religions belief systems that "the worship of false gods arouses intense emotion from God".[4]

For instance, in Judaism, people who adhere to the Noahide code, even though not being Jews, consider themselves as worshipping the only true God[citation needed], since this code is a set of moral imperatives that, according to the Talmud, were given by God[5] as a binding set of laws for the "children of Noah" – that is, all of mankind.[6][7] The claim to worship the only one true God is common among monotheistic religions. The term False God is seen as offensive to many who hold faith in their chosen religion.


  1. ^ [1] Merriam-Webster.com - idol: a false god
  2. ^ [2] Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now - Gregory A. Boyd - Zondervan, Apr 6, 2010
  3. ^ [3] The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Volume VI: Advocate of the Social Gospel, Martin Luther King Jr. - September 1948-March 1963 - University of California Press, Mar 12, 2007 - page 12
  4. ^ [4] Dictionary of Biblical Imagery edited by Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit, Tremper Longman III - InterVarsity Press, Nov 2, 1998 - page 337
  5. ^ According to Encyclopedia Talmudit (Hebrew edition, Israel, 5741/1981, Entry Ben Noah, page 349), most medieval authorities consider that all seven commandments were given to Adam, although Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot M'lakhim 9:1) considers the dietary law to have been given to Noah.
  6. ^ Encyclopedia Talmudit (Hebrew edition, Israel, 5741/1981, entry Ben Noah, introduction) states that after the giving of the Torah, the Jewish people were no longer in the category of the sons of Noah; however, Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot M'lakhim 9:1) indicates that the seven laws are also part of the Torah, and the Talmud (Bavli, Sanhedrin 59a, see also Tosafot ad. loc.) states that Jews are obligated in all things that Gentiles are obligated in, albeit with some differences in the details.
  7. ^ Compare Genesis 9:4–6.

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