False Gods

A false god is anything that you worship in place of God, for example, the body, money, power, the adulation of others, food, drink, drugs, and other pleasures of the world, etc. False gods are sins and many are also vices.

Edna Lister on False Gods

When you tear down false gods, those who worhip them turn on you.—Edna Lister, This One Thing I Do, February 12, 1933.

People are the most egotistical when they are doubting, setting up their own opinions as false gods and worshiping them.—Edna Lister, Faith, October 3, 1934.

If you choose to worship false gods, you live under the law of sin, death and crystallization.—Edna Lister, Learning to Live at Peace, November 11, 1934.

Cleanse your imagination of all vain images. Pay no more tribute of fear, doubt or worry to the world’s false gods.—Edna Lister, October 12, 1938.

Do others annoy you? Where are your eyes and ears? Do you follow their weaknesses instead of God’s strength? Do you contemplate your little self and worship it? Do you pander to it by wanting everyone else to be perfect? Operate on yourself now until you can no longer be bothered by anything but the Light.—Edna Lister, February 13, 1941.

God has given the soul the full power of a creator. Hourly we create graven images that we worship for a time, and only under despair do we turn to the Light from this image we have created from our distorted opinions and prejudices to our undoing. Surrender to love. Sacrifice petty self-worship, lest by your use of that creative power with which God endowed you in the beginning, you still have self-opinions and prejudices underneath the surface of your conscious mind that still create falsely, without your conscious consent.—Edna Lister, October 12, 1945.

Worship of self leads to old age, old glands and muscles. Worship of God leads to the glories of Light.—Edna Lister, December 13, 1947.

You can trace all of life’s difficult problems directly to desire’s blind following of strange ideas and false gods. Since self-gratification is the greatest of all false gods, it follows that self-satisfaction must become the breeding ground for the four outstanding enemies of soul growth—indifference, lukewarmness, doubt and fear, lower self termites boring into the soul’s original God-inherited strength until you collapse under the many strains of world pressures.—Edna Lister, Faith, the Challenger, 1953.

Let the little self of appetites and impulses die daily to its false god of intellect or you, the rational soul in you that worships God will die daily in bondage to the little self, unless you lift it!—Edna Lister, Your Life Plan, May 16, 1954.

You have no time to blame self, to erect false gods and graven images that you must tear down later. Every idle word sets up a false god. Idle words such as I’ll try makes a false god of procrastination in the subconscious mind.—Edna Lister, September 30, 1957.

When you pamper yourself, you worship the false god of self.—Edna Lister, September 30, 1957.

You are the creator of your life, unless you turn to devil worship, which is the belief that some devil other than self has made the place you occupy.—Edna Lister, November 19, 1958.

False gods can include opinions, prejudices and the self’s treasures of darkness you hold dear, land, houses, possessions, anything on the outer.—Edna Lister, Tomorrow Is Yours, December 13, 1959.

A hedonist worships his physical equipment.—Edna Lister, February 23, 1960.

Do not give your subconscious an identity. You can make it a false god that can stand as though it had power all by itself.—Edna Lister, How Can I Apply Law to My Life? June 7, 1960.

The law of repulsion, misused as repudiation, is the greatest of false gods.—Edna Lister, Is Praise Necessary? July 5, 1960.

Keep your mind stayed on perfection. Do not search after false gods but know they exist, or you will not recognize them when you meet them.—Edna Lister, December 15, 1960.

If the whole world talked about God, we could have no false gods.—Edna Lister, The Ladder of Faith, December 18, 1960.

Each element of life has its place, and none should replace worship. For instance, some develop a food/rest fetish about Neophyte vows, but to place any of these first is to worship it. When food takes first place, as a gourmet or a diet fetish, it is your worship.—Edna Lister, January 15, 1961.

Toying with darkness intellectually is worshiping false gods.—Edna Lister, The Seven-Branched Candle Stand, October 17, 1961.

If you can criticize another’s darkness, you worship the darkness in that person.—Edna Lister, April 1, 1962.

When you allow yourself to fear, to dread what might or is coming from the world, when you blame something from the outside, circumstance or individuals, you give power to false gods, and the self blocks healing.—Edna Lister, June 4, 1963.

Dig out your false gods.—Edna Lister, March 24, 1965.

Whom do you worship, God or a doctor? It is your choice.—Edna Lister, March 13, 1966.

When man’s quest is intellectual, filled with opinions and prejudices, he finds and creates false gods.—Edna Lister, The Supremacy of Religion, October 15, 1967.

If you allow lack and fear to overwhelm you, you worship false gods.—Edna Lister, May 31, 1969.

Every idle word is a false god.—Edna Lister, August 7, 1969.

Your weaknesses reveal your false gods.—Edna Lister, August 7, 1969.

When you pamper yourself, you worship a false god.—Edna Lister, The Fiery Furnace, December 7, 1969.

The heaviest false gods are guilt and self blame. Worship them not! Edna Lister, June 17, 1970.

Pay no attention to the false gods of earth.—Edna Lister, The Flaming Sword, June 28, 1970.

Virulent forms of cancer are rooted in worshiping the golden calf and blaspheming or scoffing at God.—Edna Lister, May 27, 1971.

Top ↑

Stories That Illustrate False Gods

The Golden Calf: And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables. And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.

And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin — and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.—Exodus 32.

Render Unto Caesar: Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.—Matthew 22:15-21.

Spiritual Arrogance: Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.—Matthew 23:1-13.

Top ↑

New Testament on False Gods

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.—Matthew 6:21.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?—Matthew 6:24-25.

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.—Mark 12:28-31.

And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.—Mark 12:38-40.

Top ↑

I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.—Exodus 20:2-6.

Your eyes have seen what the Lord did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you. But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.—Deuteronomy 4:3

So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel. The Lord said to Moses, Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the Lord, so that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel. So Moses said to the judges of Israel, Each of you slay his men who have joined themselves to Baal of Peor.—Numbers 25:3-5

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger. And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.- And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies.—Judges 2:11-14

The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.—Judges 3:7

Joash said to all who stood against him, Will you contend for Baal, or will you deliver him? Whoever will plead for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has torn down his altar. Therefore on that day he named him Jerubbaal, that is to say, Let Baal contend against him, because he had torn down his altar.—Judges 6:31-32

Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god.—Judges 8:33

Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him.—Judges 10:6

So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the Lord alone.—1 Samuel 7:4

They cried out to the Lord and said, We have sinned because we have forsaken the Lord and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.—1 Samuel 12:10

Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all who were before him. It came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and we

nt to serve Baal and worshiped him. So he erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal which he built in Samaria. read more.—1 Kings 16:30-33 He said, I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and you have followed the Baals. Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.—1 Kings 18:18-19

So he served Baal and worshiped him and provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger, according to all that his father had done.—1 Kings 22:53

Then Jehu gathered all the people and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much. Now, summon all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers and all his priests; let no one be missing, for I have a great sacrifice for Baal; whoever is missing shall not live.” But Jehu did it in cunning, so that he might destroy the worshipers of Baal. And Jehu said, “Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal.” And they proclaimed it.read more.—2 Kings 10:18-29

Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord and the king and the people, that they would be the Lord’s people, also between the king and the people. All the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and tore it down; his altars and his images they broke in pieces thoroughly, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the Lord.—2 Kings 11:17-18

They joined themselves also to Baal-peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead.—Psalm 106:28

They kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols.—Hosea 11:2

When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling. He exalted himself in Israel, but through Baal he did wrong and died.—Hosea 13:1

Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and he did not do right in the sight of the Lord as David his father had done. But he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel; he also made molten images for the Baals.—2 Chronicles 28:1-2

The priests did not say, Where is the Lord? And those who handle the law did not know Me; the rulers also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal and walked after things that did not profit.—Jeremiah 2:8

Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known.—Jeremiah 7:9

Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals, and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the Lord to anger. So they forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtaroth.—Judges 2:11-14

When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar which had been built. They said to one another, Who did this thing? And when they searched about and inquired, they said, Gideon the son of Joash did this thing. Then the men of the city said to Joash, Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it.—Judges 6:28-32

For your gods are as many as your cities, O Judah; and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful thing, altars to burn incense to Baal.—Jeremiah 11:13 Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind; therefore, behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather the valley of Slaughter.—Jeremiah 19:4-6

Top ↑

False Gods in Other Sacred Writings

The worshiping of idols not to be named is the beginning, the cause, and the end, of all evil.—Wisdom of Solomon 14:27.

Man made false gods, and borrowed his own spirit to fashion them: but no man can make a god like unto himself, for being mortal, he works a dead thing with wicked hands: for he himself is better than the things which he worships: for he lived once, but they never.—Wisdom of Solomon 15:16-17.

Christ said, "Where there are three gods, they are gods. Where there are two or one, I am with him."—Gospel of Thomas, Codex II, 2.

Top ↑

Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Worshiping a false god is a sin.

Worshiping the senses is a vice.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 2024

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, ed. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988.

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Webster, Noah. Webster’s American Dictionary. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

Related Topic

Ten Plagues on Egypt