“to connect it to the topic, that statue and those icons are reminders that “we’re in the matrix” to honor Doug and these are tools to access the absolute. does that make any sense?” (Luke)
Now you got me going – what is idolatry Luke and would you know in this generation if you legitmately saw it?
What you say are windows to the next world – I also say may be misrepresentations of the next – yet with an idol we are given some solidarity…and that’s all some people want – the mystery unveiled and removed.
The first commandment in the decalogue is quite simple – no idolatry:
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. (Exodus 20:4)”
What does this actually prove? Well, for starters God has no image and no image we can find will make that any clearer. So avoid it – lest we also find the image becomes a ‘piece’ of our God (our definition of God is part and partial with figurine/painting/icon/etc) and unremoveable.
You also play down the role of superstition in this whole thing – as to what icons can and possibly help build up. Superstition is directly related to iconagraphy in religion – and superstition is a sort of ‘control’ over God (if we do this around this icon we can make God do said thing).
I have seen a plethora of times in Greece and in general in the West. That type of thinking comes from iconagraphy and if you refuse to believe that – watch people when they do some of this superstitious stuff they do to religious icons – it’s actually quite revealing. Sometimes they feel as if they don’t do it – God might be ‘mad’ or they won’t be ‘blessed’. As if this crossing of the chest or certain amount of the same prayer will do that.
Top that of, here is God’s name:
“God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.‘” (Exodus 3:14)
There is no name given. Moses, maybe thinking he could get the name, gets none. God just is.
Yet Christianity taps on the end of prayer’s ‘in Jesus’ name’ as if it were some magical formula for the rest of the prayer. Jesus doesn’t even give God a name – but only a placement – Our Father.
So we have no name and no image. Then comes along human ingenuity to fill in both so as to make ourselves more comfortable and assured. We seek to remove the mystery, not for God’s sake, but for our own.
But what can I say – this is the inevitable outcome when we place a human as God. Thus your gma’s game with the icon…you call it a reminder – I call it shaping and adding a form to God – complete with a name and everything. Now maybe she doesn’t worship that statue (I agree) – but she needs that for some reason…you say as a reminder – of what exactly? That God cannot be seen or imaged or has no Name (just IS)? How the hell can a reminder be built from that is the real question? (Sorry if this seems harsh – your gma is likely a wonderful lady).
But we are dealing with something that is a non-issue to the majority of the Christian world – and they don’t really take that 1st commandment serious anyways. I mean how can they – their God has a name, a place of birth, a death, and iconagraphy out the wazoo. So concern for the 1st commandment is a non-consideration in Christian circles…yet I think the slip into idolatry is quite present.
Now don’t get me wrong – we want pictures (or art) about our spiritual experiences as things to think about it is just A OK – but I get skeptical when those become images for God that people cannot let go of for fear of losing their own spiritual connection. Then we cross paths with idolatry.
***Comment taken from Luke’s ‘Absolute Truth’ Blog