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Wicked Idolatry: The Burning Man Festival

"For the idols speak delusion; The diviners envision lies, And tell false dreams; They comfort in vain. Therefore the people wend their way like sheep; They are in trouble because there is no shepherd." -Zechariah 10:2

In 1986 the first Burning Man event took place at the seaside on a beach in San Fransico, California. A man named Larry Harvey had a break-up with a longtime girlfriend. The break-up causes Harvey to have what some would describe as a mid-life crisis. Larry decides to have an evening filled with sinful abandon. He asks some of his friends to join him on the beach. What started as a celebration of freedom from a broken relationship, became the manifestation of an idea that only grew in popularity as time passed. Later that evening on the beach, Larry and his friend Jerry James had the idea to build a wooden man, by hammering together wooden pieces. The two dragged the figurine to nearby Baker Beach, to celebrate the Summer solstice. A crowd gathers to observe the curious event.

The Burning Man festival event has mutated into idol worship of man over the last 37 years. From that year in 1986 up to today and with only a brief pause during the pandemic, Burning Man has been an event that many citizens flock to for respite from the everyday. This event tends to be held in the middle of the desert in Nevada, where people are amidst isolation, so anything goes. People sin relentlessly, utilizing a few or all seven walls of sin to participate in this event. For people who have no faith, no guidance, and no direction, with the need for a sense of community (in sin), events like Burning Man are created to give people the space to be idolatrous and sinful in large gatherings, which is mockery and an abomination to God.

The Burning Man event has formed 11 principles over the years that serve as rules of attendance.

  1. Radical Inclusion: This means that all are welcome, there is no requirement for newcomers to attend, all people joining the event are required to participate in the rituals, and no bystanders are allowed. (Mandatory participation)

  2. Gifting: Acts of giving are encouraged, as this can be food, drink, drugs, and potential sexual sin and fornication. (Gifts of the world to placate desire)

  3. Decommodification: Free trade and bartering take place to remove the participants in a capital-less event, void of exploitation where no one is motivated to make money from or off of one another. (Greed vs. Service)

  4. Radical Self-Reliance: Self-discovery, reliance on inner resources. (Not on God, but on the self)

  5. Radical Self-Expression: This can be in the form of the arts, dance, music, ritual ceremonies, chanting, praying, etc. Self-expression is not prohibited. (self-worship)

  6. Communal Effort: Contribution, communication, participation. (Idol worship)

  7. Civic Responsibility: Public welfare, responsibilities, laws, and policies (law of man)

  8. Leaving No Trace: Cleaning the environment, discarding pollution, and leaving meeting grounds in good condition. (Care of the environment: Earth worship)

  9. Participation: Transformative change. All must work, play, participate, and perform rituals "that open the heart" (Sanada Influence)

  10. Immediacy: Experiencing at the moment, overcoming barriers within the self, participating in society, contact with the natural world, etc. (World worship)

  11. Consent (11th principle): Personal autonomy, personal choice, personal body. Privacy and respect for others. (flesh-focused, not of the spirit).

This year in 2023, The Burning Man festival was completely rained out, causing massive downpours that created a huge pit of clay and mud that prevented the event from taking place. Along with that all of the attendees were stranded, leaving them unable to escape the Burning-less Man event. RV's were trapped in mud, cars could not drive and people were running out of food, medications, and water. The event organizers managed to transport large Wi-Fi towers into range so that some attendees could call out for help, support, and supplies. The reckless abandon that people had when going to the event, actually became clear when they were recklessly abandoned by the weather. In reality, they were recklessly abandoned by their sin and idolatry for worshipping an event that calls for the idolization and burning of a man and other odd creature figurines. The image at the top shows the covenant of God being displayed as a reminder and a warning. The rainbow after the storm shows God's mercy and grace, as He promised to never flood the Earth again, but a Burning Man festival fire was definitively put out by the waters of the Heavens.

Idolatry Cut Off “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and uncleanness. “It shall be in that day,” says the Lord of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered." -

-She Warrior of God

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