Scripture teaches that all people are religious. We are always worshiping; we are always orienting our hearts either toward the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or towards false gods such as Ba’al. Yet, unlike the people of the Ancient Near East, our idols are not usually shaped in the image of a golden calf. Instead, our idols tend to be metaphorical; we give our love, trust, and obedience to things in this world such as sex, money, power, and the approval of others.
What, then, should we make of the American Ba’al of EI [Expressive Individualism]? We should reject it. We should be guided by Scriptural teaching about God’s desire for an individual’s life and by its view of the individual’s value within broader communities and, specifically, within the community that is the people of God. We are all immersed in an era of EI, affected by it unaware. So, it will be difficult not to worship at its altar, even if only unconsciously.