Monday, November 25, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Make Unto Thee Any Graven Image

Idolatry in the ancient Torah was squarely aimed at reminding early Jews to not stray into worshipping other deities.  As with the commandment about not putting another deity before Yahweh, theologians view this commandment as originally focusing on forbidding the worship of images of other gods and goddesses.

Theologians since the time of St. Augustine, however, have grappled with what this commandment means to modern Jews and Christians.  Many theologians argue that idolatry today means putting anything ahead of respect for God.

So just how does one quantify this for a blog post?

I decided I'd turn to Google.  Most of the world's major religious and spiritual philosophies started in just four regions now in the countries of India (Hinduism and Buddhism), Israel (Judaism and Christianity), China (Daoism and Confucianism), and Saudi Arabia (Islam).  So, in these four countries -plus the United States- how often do people use Google to search for the term "God"?

It turns out there is quite some variation.  Americans search for this term considerably more than people in the other four countries.  India comes a close second with occasional spikes in searches for this term.  At one point around 10% of Indian Google searches were for "God".

I also looked into what terms are the most searched for terms in these countries on Google.  In all of these countries except China, the most common search term is "Facebook".  In China the most common Google search term is "Shanghai".

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