Idolaters and How They Get That Way.
If the second commandment is to not worship graven images -- idols -- then the second commandment of nihilism must be to do the opposite: to venerate and bow down before things that are less than God.
One of the unblogged books on my spindle goes to this question, God and the Ways of Knowing. I see that it is heavily highlighted, so it must have had some good points.
First of all, until the arrival of modern man, there were no men who didn't know God; or, more accurately, who didn't know religion. What or who they worshipped was a different matter.
Thus, Danielou's first chapter is called The God of the Religions, for "An aptitude for religion is a human datum." In other words, religiosity is a fact about man. For secularists it is only a fact about man, but they strain to come up with plausible reasons for why man has this instinct for transcendence.
Does man have any other evolved instincts that do not correspond to any external object? For example, eyes are adapted to light, ears to sound, the sex drive to the complementary sex object.
As such, it seems to me that denial of the object-of-worship is the alpha and omega of deconstruction. For example, is it any coincidence that the same people who deny God also deny that sexuality has any proper object? Or that they sever knowledge from the known, thus abolishing truth? Or morals from morality, thus effacing virtue?
Indeed, "God reveals himself not only through the voice of the visible world, but also through that of the moral conscience." We could say that the commandments aren't just commandments but reminders, i.e., that "the divine will is also graven upon the table of the heart by the finger of God, which is the Spirit." If this weren't the case, the commandments would make no sense to us, nor could they be so readily inverted by nihilists.
"If He is always unknown, He is also, paradoxically well-known." There are no atheists, "only men who believe in God, without knowing exactly what they believe."
If man is always intuiting God, then God must always be communicating himself. Thus, "pagan religions are like rays of cosmic revelation, refracted through a humanity spoiled by sin and not yet enlightened by positive revelation." As such "error is always mingled with truth" -- or, for our purposes, idolatry with religion proper.
This, by the way, is why God has to first form a relationship with a people. To have started with a person before there existed a people to nurture and receive him would have made no sense.
Here is one of the weirder attempts I've seen recently of idolaters trying to save their idol, Scientists Say Religion Makes Children More Selfish. First of all, SCIENTISTS SAY is a transparent appeal to idolatry. The whole study is so tendentious. If they were honest, they'd just make the obvious point that being genuinely religious makes one less susceptible to idolatrous substitutes such as liberalism (and science).
"Two thousand years were needed to plant the roots of monotheism deep in a humanity" which is only too prone to raising self-reflecting altars. Note that such a worshipper still sees an "image of God," only it is his own reflected image. "And how difficult it was to uproot this element from human souls!"
The task never ends, for man's development is always on a continuum that preserves the earlier stages. For example, our minds contain recollections of childhood and even infancy that continue to shape and influence us through life. That being the case, somewhere deep down we must all be polytheistic pagans.
Which is why there is always a fertile soil for it under various modern guises -- e.g., the cult of global warming -- and why the second commandment goes to this ubiquitous temptation.
God... speaks to every human soul through the cosmos, the conscience, and the spirit. But, in its quest for God, the pagan soul falls by the wayside. Lacking the support of a positive revelation, it expresses clumsily what it sees; it falters and is deceived.... [This] explains its profound appeal as it rises from the depths of religious manhood towards that light which it will only find in the fullness of Jesus Christ. --Jean Danielou