American Idol: Should Christians Be Participating In Or Watching This?

With the new season of American Idol underway, fans across the nation are glued to their television screens each week — myself included. As I intently watched the last cuts for the final 20 who will proceed into the heart of the competition, I noticed how several of the contestants were open about their Christian faith. One particular young lady was complimented by the judges on how confidently she commanded the stage. In response, she said before the world that she had prayed for increased confidence and that she owed it to God.  “Prayer really works!” she even candidly proclaimed. Another young lady, actually used to be a back up singer for the Christian music group  New Breed lead by Israel Houghton, and the list of openly Christian contestants continues. Considering the fact that many people have the tendency not to be open about God, I found it to be quite touching. Then it hit me! Should Christians really participate in or watch a show that dubs winners as American Idols?

The Bible refers to idols as being and or representing false gods. Here is a sampling of what the inspired word of God has to say on this matter:

“Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:4 (KJV)

 “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 26:1 (KJV) 

“And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.” Leviticus 26:30 (KJV)

“And they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.” II Chronicles 24:18 (KJV)

Click here to read more scriptural texts addressing idolatry.

 The Bible makes it quite clear that idolatry is wrong. As Christians we proclaim to serve the one and only true and living God — our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ — and follow His word. The question that remains is if indulging in American Idol is participating in idolatry. Many people are probably thinking, “Gosh, I don’t worship the winners or any of the people on that show. I just enjoy the music.” My sentiments are the same. However, it is the principle of the matter that I call to our attention. Whereas we by no means consider those people gods, the ideology behind the title of the show says that winners are idols…that, according to the etymology,  they are to be upheld and esteemed in place of God.

Now, dealing with words can get tricky, too. Human language is quite the amorphous being constantly evolving. Words today do not necessarily what they meant in the past. For example, whereas the word “moron” is now loosely used to refer to people lacking good judgement, it used to be a technical term of the school of psychology meaning someone  having an intelligence quotient of 50 to 69. The same applies to the word “gay.” What once meant jolly is now largely accepted as meaning homosexual. People could argue the same case for the word “idol.” It could be said that “idol” no longer strictly refers to things or people being or representing gods; “idol” now means “a person highly loved” as listed in the 10th edition of Collins English Dictionary. With all of this in mind, the new question then becomes: “What will my faith allow me to be comfortable with?”.

I cannot answer this question for you, and you cannot answer it for me. What we can do, however, is seek the Lord on it.


The founder of Your Black PoetsAyvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and the author of Ephemeral Moments: a collection of poetry and short stories available soon on To receive Ayvaunn’s daily devotionals by email, click here. Click to follow her on Facebook and Twitter. To have your original poetry featured on Your Black Poets, click here.


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