Graven Images of the Human Kind (Part 1)
It is fairly easy for the non-deceived to spot faux religious leaders.
Such are the ones with perfect outer images who have mastered the art of staying in character.
They also dress very well for the part.
“‘Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen.’” [Deuteronomy 27:15] 
I remember hearing a message by a man principally involved in marriage ministry who also pastors a large congregation. This man was talking about how God created men to be wired visually regarding their attraction toward a mate.
He then began talking about how enhanced photography and facial makeup allow some women to look much better than they actually do. When such methods create an image, it is simply not real. He said married men often fall into temptation comparing such pretty faces to their wives, who feel they can’t compete.
Regarding even the best looking professional super models he said, “Don’t be concerned about not looking like that. They don’t look like that…”
Now, it is certainly okay to want to look our best, but some strive to vastly improve on the Creator’s handiwork and attempt to look not just their best but better than the rest, even if it means cosmetically transforming in the extreme their actual, God-given appearance. And the ultra use of cosmetics, plastic surgery, and photographic tricks to assist in that process is no longer necessarily an option for many, though it is a relatively recent innovation.
The first crude camera photograph was created circa 1826-27, going on two centuries ago, and the vast majority of ladies in developed nations never wore makeup until maybe 50-60 years ago. Now, of course, the percentage of women who wear makeup to some degree or another has advanced dramatically, and photography has advanced to ultra high definition video. By comparing the oldest photographs from the 1800s and portrait paintings centuries older, one can see the great advances made both in mechanical media and also culturally accepted (demanded) cosmetics.
Technology has presently improved to the extent that a person’s image can be dramatically changed, and it can generate quite a shock when such people are seen outside their usual doctored images. This often happens with celebrities who spend a lot of time behind a camera, but this is not always the case.
For instance, there is the true story from a few years ago of a longtime pastor who, during the middle of a big Sunday church service while preaching, suddenly ripped off the hairpiece from atop his head.
The entire congregation was blown away. He had been wearing hairpieces for so long most of the people there had never known he was bald. It probably took a while to get used to the “new guy.”
Because there are currently so many false images in the world, and because people become so used to seeing created images, the actual person underneath is often unrecognizable and by comparison obviously inferior.
This has caused two things: (1) Very high artificial self-esteem based on the use of excellent effects to enhance one’s natural appearance, and (2) Very low self-esteem for those who cannot compete for whatever reason.
It is most likely that such a wide divergence of image did not exist in the days when all women wore no makeup, save for a tiny percentage of royals and the wealthy. This provided for a level playing field though some had greater natural beauty than others.
Today, if people choose to transform their image using whatever means, the outer image thus created is obviously different than what their actual natural image would be otherwise.
If some of these people also dress very well, learn how to present themselves very well, say all the right words and phrases, and effect fake smiles and attitudes that appear real, outside observers will certainly be faked out, especially if they’ve never seen such people sans their carefully crafted image.
What’s going on here? Why do people want to engage in such image-making?
It usually boils down to three things: (1) Vanity, (2) Advantage, and (3) Money.
CREATING A PERSONAL BRAND
It is a matter of social acceptance. It is a matter of dispelling any doubts concerning one’s character and motives. It is a matter of putting forth the look of success and proper reputation.
It is also a matter of competition. The better one looks and the more one is accepted, the more one rises in one’s society (gains in popularity) and the better one feels (an ongoing endorphin rush), both of which results in greater pleasure and high self-esteem, though the danger of creating great pride exists based simply on a less than honest outer image. Also, more doors will open. More open doors mean receiving more opportunities, earning more money, and even attracting a better mate (or multiple mates).
Of course, Hollywood figured this out going on a century ago. The creation of “movie stars” was not possible without stage lighting, makeup, superior costumes, camera tricks, and etc. And once such stars were created, the movie-going public attended theaters all over the country in droves which made for an interesting phenomenon regarding people worshipping people.
As the medium grew more sophisticated and color film was invented, image-making went through the roof. Nice looking people became extremely good-looking people. The eventual fake image of these people became the standard image, since so few were seen in the real world under normal conditions. When they were seen for how they really looked, however, the contrast was obvious and often scandalous.
Many mainline Christian denominations preached against makeup and what they might term “unholy clothing” for decades in a vain attempt to keep Hollywood from invading the church. But after World War I, the advent of moving pictures, and the comparatively decadent “Roaring Twenties” when greater wealth and material goods became available, the cat was out of the bag.
It would take another quarter century, another World War (including the immoral influence of other cultures), and television before America became transformed forever into an amoral image-based society.
The Kennedy-Nixon presidential debates, the first televised debates, proved this transformation in 1960. The visual contrast between these two men was stark in that John Kennedy presented a much greater televised image than Richard Nixon, though many who only listened on radio thought Nixon had won.
It was primarily John Kennedy’s carefully crafted superior image that eventually won him the presidency.
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
“Kennedy and his people were the master manipulators of television:”
Posted on January 5, 2015, in Teaching and tagged Christian Pharisees, Deception, Graven Images, Hired Hands, Idolatry, Image-Making, Kennedy-Nixon Debates, Lord Jesus, Television, Unreal Christianity. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.