The ancients worshipped a pantheon of little gods, who in turn provided them with good harvests and entertainment. If they fed the gods properly with their sacrifices, they would get help for themselves, and then they could sit back with full bellies and be entertained by stories of how these powerful beings would fight, betray, and claw their way over each other to the top just so they could use all their advantages to destroy themselves.
Now the temples of those little gods are in ruins, and we no longer retell their stories (except Thor, who was lucky enough to join the Marvel universe). Over time, we’ve advanced as a society, so now we look at screens and watch celebrities who are larger than life fight, betray, and claw their way over each other to the top just so they can use all their advantages to destroy themselves.
Our celebrities aren’t known to provide good harvests like the little gods did for our ancestors, but most of us aren’t farmers, so designer clothing lines and cinema blockbusters will do. If we feed them with wealth, their job is to provide us with entertainment. The public spaces of our ancestors were decorated with the images of their gods; ours are decorated with the well-known faces of our celebrities, in posters and advertisements and—okay, mostly advertisements, because these faces sell products. These faces are loved for what they do, and adored for how perfect they look doing it. They are admired for their talent, and envied for their money and fame. These faces get tons of attention. Isn’t that love?
Maybe it seems like celebrities get more love than they should, but I don’t think they get enough. I think our society would love them more if we stopped treating them like little gods and started treating them like the mortal men and women that they are. Remember that the ancient gods were made in the image of fallen man—proud, selfish, and vindictive—and we have grown to expect the same from our celebrities. But mortal men and women, even celebrities, are made in the image of God, with an inherent dignity and purpose that is not dependent on personal achievements. The God we were made in the image of does not measure out his love for us by our ability or fame or resources to give back to him. He proved on the cross that he loves weak and helpless mortals, mortals who had turned against him in sin, far more than we love our impressive little gods. It is this love, a love with no conditions or transactions, that is truly God-like. It is a love that cannot be achieved by success, it can only be received as a gift from God himself. This is the love we were made for. This is the love celebrities were made for. And this is the love we were made to give each other—with no distinctions made for status and privilege.
If we really want to love our celebrities well, we should treat them like God asks us to treat any other mortal: as the priceless creation that he valued so highly, he was willing to die to bring them back to himself. Isn’t that love?