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Switch to Forum Live View DO CATHOLICS AND OTHER CHRISTIANS COMMIT IDOLATRY?
4 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2010 - 10:24AM #1
ola
Posts: 23

The Bible says in Deuteronomy  5:8, when Moses was presenting the 10 commandments: "You  shall not make yourself an idol in the form of anything in  heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.   You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I  the Lord your God, am a jeaulous God..."


Jesus said: "I  am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father  except  through me." (John  14:6).


So then, is it correct for Catholic churches and  other churches ot have statutes of saints and Mary in their church?  I  grew up in a Catholic church and it was often that people woud touch the  feet of Mary or do the sign of the cross in front of her statute when  entering the church.  Also, just yesterday I went to St. Patrick's  Cathedral Church in NYC (as i have gone many times) and there you will  see many sections of the statutes of different saints and their story.   That's not a problem but in front of them is a kneeling board and rows  of candles that people light to kneel and pray in front and/or to them.


Not  to mention that Catholics have prayers for saints and the "Hail Mary"  prayer.  Isn't this worshipping 'idols'?  Jesus said that, "no one comes  To the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME."  Why then would we pray kneeling  before a saint or Mary or say a prayer in their name? 


I must  say, I did this yesterday without thinking of it but lately I've been  thinking about what it means to worship idols and then today I was  reading the Bible and it stated that nothing/no one, not even in the  heavens (i.e. angels, saints, Mary) shall be made into an idol,  worshipped (i.e. praying to them) or bowed down to. 

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4 years ago  ::  Oct 14, 2010 - 1:41PM #2
Xapisma
Posts: 155

This is a question which has long been debated among Christians of all kinds. I am fairly certain that if you ask your priest or some other knowledgable person, they will be able to explain that using statues (or Icons) are simply means of focussing your thoughts and prayers as you pray to the Lord.


We human beings are physical animals, and we sometimes find the use of physical means helpful in prayer and worship of God. No one, to my knowledge, worships a statue or icon, but allows the statues or icons to serve as windows into heaven, a way to be attentive through prayer.


But I could be wrong.

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4 years ago  ::  Oct 16, 2010 - 10:55AM #3
Kerygma
Posts: 798

I have to admit, this sort of question becomes tiresome after having had to deal with it for twenty years. I can appreciate the poster's "concern" but there's a part of me that just doesn't want to respond anymore. We've been over and over and over this "issue" until it's just aggravating to see it raised here yet again.


Yes, there are injunctions in the OT against graven images. And yes, the same Lord who gave those injunctions also gave instructions to make images but a few chapters later to adorn the tabernacle and later to adorn Solomon's temple. The key here is not the images per se, since we all have images on our walls and in our wallets (we're not rigid Muslims after all) but rather the response to such: worship.


We do NOT (I repeat... NOT) worship these images (as Charlie correctly pointed out). Worship is reserved for God alone: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Period. End of discussion. We honor, venerate, respect those who have gone before us.. who have run the race and are present with the Lord. I can take out my wife's picture from my wallet and kiss it but that does not translate into my worshiping her.


The original poster seems to believe that we are attempting to"come to the Father" by some other means than the Lord Jesus Christ... sort of running an end pass around Him. I'm afraid you are mistaken. No one that I know (Catholic or Orthodox for that matter) believes this. Oh... I know many mistaken and ignorant evangelicals believe that this is what Orthodox believe in terms of how our salvation is procured: we ask Mary to save us... we ask some saint to save us. Not true. We approach those who have gone before us to intercede (NOT intervene... not mediate...for there is One Mediator between us and the Father) just as we ask those here on earth who share our faith to intercede... to pray for us. You see, we don't believe that six feet of dirt separates us from those who have departed. We believe they form that great cloud of witnesses spoken of in the epistle to the Hebrews. As I can ask my wife to pray for me, I can also approach Mary or some other saint and ask for their prayers. They do not act of their own volition but rather they intercede.


And what exactly is the "hang-up" with the Hail Mary prayer?


"Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Savior of our souls." It's perfectly scriptural. Much of this is directly from the mouth of the archangel Gabriel. Should we condemn the archangel for his words?


The problem, you see, is something called Romophobia (a term coined by Fr Peter Gillquist some years back). Some Protestants are so fearful of Catholicism (generally through a lack of understanding of what it teaches) that they project their misconceptions onto the Church. They erect a strawman and then conveniently take him apart. The problem is: this is not what Catholicism or Orthodoxy actually teaches. It's a caricature of such.


Oh... and if you want to point accusatory fingers regarding idol worship, you might bear in mind that several of those fingers point directly back at yourself. I'll leave it to someone else to discuss how Protestants can be guilty of idol worship without having statues or icons on their walls.


Of course, it's always possible (and in fact, quite likely) that some Catholics and some Orthodox do, in fact, worship the statue and/or icon. And it's equally true that some evangelicals are trusting not in the Lord but in their works to save them. There's no shortage of ignorance to go around you know.


Don't be too quick to sit in judgment upon that old Sicilian lady who clutches her prayer beads to her bosom in daily mass and prays to the Lord and to His Saints. The Lord knows her heart (just as He knows YOURS and MINE) and the Lord will do what is right in His eyes. He still sits on the throne the last time I checked; not you, nor I. Let's leave the judgment of others to Him.


 


Oct 14, 2010 -- 10:24AM, ola wrote:


The Bible says in Deuteronomy  5:8, when Moses was presenting the 10 commandments: "You  shall not make yourself an idol in the form of anything in  heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.   You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I  the Lord your God, am a jeaulous God..."


Jesus said: "I  am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father  except  through me." (John  14:6).


So then, is it correct for Catholic churches and  other churches ot have statutes of saints and Mary in their church?  I  grew up in a Catholic church and it was often that people woud touch the  feet of Mary or do the sign of the cross in front of her statute when  entering the church.  Also, just yesterday I went to St. Patrick's  Cathedral Church in NYC (as i have gone many times) and there you will  see many sections of the statutes of different saints and their story.   That's not a problem but in front of them is a kneeling board and rows  of candles that people light to kneel and pray in front and/or to them.


Not  to mention that Catholics have prayers for saints and the "Hail Mary"  prayer.  Isn't this worshipping 'idols'?  Jesus said that, "no one comes  To the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME."  Why then would we pray kneeling  before a saint or Mary or say a prayer in their name? 


I must  say, I did this yesterday without thinking of it but lately I've been  thinking about what it means to worship idols and then today I was  reading the Bible and it stated that nothing/no one, not even in the  heavens (i.e. angels, saints, Mary) shall be made into an idol,  worshipped (i.e. praying to them) or bowed down to. 





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4 years ago  ::  Oct 20, 2010 - 1:22PM #4
Prajna
Posts: 1,705

Dang K!  No need to shoot the fish with a shotgun, LOL

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4 years ago  ::  Oct 21, 2010 - 8:27AM #5
Prajna
Posts: 1,705

Ola, please read the excerpt below.  I hope this answers your questions.

Holy Icons


One  of the first things that strikes a non-Orthodox visitor to an Orthodox  church is the prominent place assigned to the Holy Icons. The  Iconostasis (Icon-screen) dividing the Altar from the rest of the church  is covered with them, while others are placed in prominent places  throughout the church building. Sometimes even the walls and ceiling are  covered with them in fresco or mosaic form. The Orthodox faithful  prostrate themselves before them, kiss them, and burn candles before  them. They are censed by the Priest and carried in processions.  Considering the obvious importance of the Holy Icons, then, questions  may certainly be raised concerning them: What do these gestures and actions mean? What is the  significance of these Icons? Are they not idols or the like, prohibited  by the Old Testament?


Some of the answers to these questions can  be found in the writings of St. John of Damascus (f776), who wrote in  the Mid-Eighth Century at the height of the iconoclast (anti-icon)  controversies in the Church, controversies which were resolved only by  the 7th Ecumenical Council (787), which borrowed heavily from these  writings.


As St. John points out, in ancient times God, being  incorporeal and uncircumscribed, was never depicted, since it is  impossible to represent that which is immaterial, has no shape,  is indescribable and is unencompassable. Holy Scripture states  categorically: No one has ever seen God (John 1:18) and You cannot see  My [God's] face, for man shall not see Me and live (Ex. 33:20). The Lord  forbade the Hebrews to fashion any likeness of the Godhead, saying:  I7ou shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of  anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or  that is in the water under the earth (Ex. 20:4). Consequently, the Holy Apostle Paul also  asserts: Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the  Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and  imagination of man (Acts 17:29).


Nonetheless, we know that Icons  have been used for prayer from the first centuries of Christianity.  Church Tradition tells us, for example, of the existence of an Icon of  the Savior during His lifetime (the Icon-Made-Without-Hands) and of  Icons of the Most-Holy Theotokos immediately after Him. Tradition  witnesses that the Orthodox Church had a clear understanding of the  importance of Icons right from the beginning; and this understanding  never changed, for it is derived from the teachings concerning the  Incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity Our Lord and Savior  Jesus Christ. The use of Icons is grounded in the very essence of  Christianity, since Christianity is the revelation by the God-Man not  only of the Word of God, but also of the Image of God; for, as St. John  the Evangelist tells us, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John  1:14).


No one has ever seen God; the only Son, Who is in the bosom  of the Father, He has made Him known (John 1:18), the Evangelist  proclaims. That is, He has revealed the Image or Icon of God. For being  the brightness of [God's] glory, and the express image of [God's] person  (Heb. 1:3), the Word of God in the Incarnation revealed to the world,  in His own Divinity, the Image of the Father. When St. Philip asks  Jesus, Lord, show us the Father, He answered him: Have I been with you  so long, and yet you do not know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen  the Father (John 14:8, 9). Thus as the Son is in the bosom of the  Father, likewise after the Incarnation He is consubstantial with the  Father, according to His divinity being the Father's Image, equal in  honor to Him.


The truth expressed above, which is revealed in  Christianity, thus forms the foundations of Christian pictorial art. The  Image (or Icon) not only does not contradict the essence of  Christianity, but is unfailingly connected with it; and this is the  foundation of the tradition that from the very beginning the Good News  was brought to the world by the Church both in word and in image. This  truth was so self-evident, that Icons found their natural place in the  Church, despite the Old Testament prohibition against them and a certain  amount of contemporary opposition.


St. John Damascene further  tells us that because the Word became flesh (John 1:14), we are no  longer in our infancy; we have grown up, we have been given by God the  power of discrimination and we know what can be depicted and what is  indescribable. Since He Who was incorporeal, without form, quantity and  magnitude, Who was incomparable owing to the superiority of His nature,  Who existed in the image of God assumed the form of a servant and  appeared to us in the flesh, we can portray Him and reproduce for  contemplation Him Who has condescended to be seen.


We can portray  His ineffable descent, His Nativity from the Blessed Virgin, His Baptism  in the Jordan, His Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor, His sufferings, death  and miracles. We can depict the Cross of Salvation, the Sepulcher, the  Resurrection and the Ascension, both in words and in colors. We can  confidently represent God the Invisible not as an invisible being, but  as one Who has made Himself visible for our sake by sharing in our flesh  and blood.


As the Holy Apostle Paul says: Ever since the creation  of the world [God's] invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and  deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made  (Rom. 1:20). Thus, in all creatures we see images that give us a dim  insight into Divine Revelation when, for instance, we say that the Holy  Trinity Without Beginning can be represented by the sun, light and the  ray, or by the mind, the word and the spirit that is within us, or by  the plant, the flower and the scent of the rose.


Thus, what had  only been a shadow in the Old Testament is now clearly seen. The Council  in Trullo (691-2), in its 82nd Rule, stated:


Certain holy icons  have the image of a lamb, at which is pointing the finger of the  Forerunner. This lamb is taken as the image of grace, representing the  True Lamb, Christ our God, Whom the law foreshadowed. Thus accepting  with love the ancient images and shadows as prefigurations and symbols  of truth transmitted to the Church, we prefer grace and truth, receiving  it as the fulfillment of the law. Thus, in order to make plain this  fulfillment for all eyes to see, if only by means of pictures, we ordain  that from henceforth icons should represent, instead of the lamb of  old, the human image of the Lamb, Who has taken upon Himself the sins of  the world, Christ our God, so that through this we may perceive the  height of the abasement of God the Word and be led to remember His life  in the flesh, His Passion and death for our salvation and the ensuing  redemption of the world.


The Orthodox Church, then, created a new  art, new in form and content, which uses images and forms drawn from the  material world to transmit the revelation of the divine world, making  the divine accessible to human understanding and contemplation. This art  developed side by side with the Divine Services and, like the Services,  expresses the teaching of the Church in conformity with the word of  Holy Scripture. Following the teachings of the 7th Ecumenical Council,  the Icon is seen not as simple art, but that there is a complete  correspondence of the Icon to Holy Scripture, for if the [Icon] is shown  by [Holy Scripture], [Holy Scripture] is made incontestably clear by  the [Icon] [Acts of the 7th Ecumenical Council, 6].


As the word of  Holy Scripture is an image, so the image is also a word, for, according  to St. Basil the Great (f379), what the word transmits through the ear,  that painting silently shows through the image [Discourse 19, On the 40  Martyrs]. In other words, the Icon contains and professes the same  truth as the Gospels and therefore, like the Gospels, is based on exact  data, and is not a human invention, for if it were otherwise, Icons  could not explain the Gospels nor correspond to them.


By depicting  the divine, we are not making ourselves similar to idolaters; for it is  not the material symbol that we are worshipping, but the Creator, Who  became corporeal for our sake and assumed our body in order that through  it He might save mankind. We also venerate the material objects through  which our salvation is effected the blessed wood of the Cross, the Holy  Gospel, and, above all, the Most-Pure Body and Precious Blood of  Christ, which have grace-bestowing properties and Divine Power.


As  St. John Damascene asserts: I do not worship matter but I worship the  Creator of matter, Who for my sake became material and deigned to dwell  in matter, Who through matter effected my salvation. I will not cease  from worshipping the matter through which my salvation has been effected  [On Icons, 1,16]. Following his teachings, we, as Orthodox Christians,  do not venerate an Icon of Christ because of the nature of the wood or  the paint, but rather we venerate the inanimate image of Christ with the  intention of worshipping Christ Himself as God Incarnate through it.


We  kiss an Icon of the Blessed Virgin as the Mother of the Son of God,  just as we kiss the Icons of the Saints as God's friends who fought  against sin, imitated Christ by shedding their blood for Him and  followed in His footsteps. Saints are venerated as those who were  glorified by God and who became, with God's help, terrible to the Enemy,  and benefactors to those advancing in the faith but not as gods and  benefactors themselves; rather they were the slaves and servants of God  who were given boldness of spirit in return for their love of Him. We  gaze on the depiction of their exploits and sufferings so as to sanctify  ourselves through them and to spur ourselves on to zealous emulation.


The  Icons of the Saints act as a meeting point between the living members  of the Church [Militant] on earth and the Saints who have passed on to  the Church [Triumphant] in Heaven. The Saints depicted on the Icons are  not remote, legendary figures from the past, but contemporary, personal  friends. As meeting points between Heaven and earth, the Icons of  Christ, His Mother, the Angels and Saints constantly remind the faithful  of the invisible presence of the whole company of Heaven; they visibly  express the idea of Heaven on earth.


In venerating the Icons,  then, the Orthodox are championing the basis of Christian faith the  Incarnation of God and, consequently, salvation and the very meaning of  the Church's existence on earth, since the creation of the Holy Icons  goes back to the very origins of Christianity and is an inalienable part  of the truth revealed by God, founded as it is on the person of the  God-Man Jesus Christ Himself. Holy Images are part of the nature of  Christianity and without the Icon Christianity would cease to be  Christianity. The Holy Gospel summons us to live in Christ, but it is  the Icon that shows us this life.


If God became man in order that  man might be like God, the Icon, in full accord with divine worship and  theology, bears witness to the fruits of the Incarnation and to the  sanctity and deification of man. It shows him in the fullness of his  earthly nature, purified of sin and partaking of the life of God,  testifies to the sanctification of the human body and displays to the  world the image of man who is similar to God by grace. The Icon  outwardly expresses the sanctity of the depicted Saint, and this  sanctity is apparent to bodily vision.


Thus, according to St. John  Damascene, those who refuse to venerate an Icon also refuse to worship  God's Son, Who is the living image and unchanging reflection of God the  Invisible. Be it known, he says, that anyone who seeks to destroy the  Icons of Christ or His Mother, the Blessed Theotokos, or any of the  Saints, is the enemy of Christ, the Holy Mother of God, and the Saints,  and is the defender of the Devil and his demons.







Excerpt  taken from "These Truths We Hold - The Holy Orthodox Church: Her Life  and Teachings".  Compiled and Edited by A Monk of St. Tikhon's  Monastery.  Copyright 1986 by the St. Tikhon's Seminary Press, South  Canaan, Pennsylvania 18459.



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3 years ago  ::  Oct 24, 2010 - 11:41PM #6
Kerygma
Posts: 798

I'm wondering why the OP didn't stick around for any answers and discussion. She made a statement, asked some questions and then promptly vanished without giving us an opportunity to address her concerns and/or questions. This is why I mentioned in my earlier post that I find myself growing weary when these same points are raised time and time again by individuals who appear to already have a closed mind on the subject.

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3 years ago  ::  Oct 27, 2010 - 9:18PM #7
Prajna
Posts: 1,705

Perhaps they are not ready to receive the Truth that is the Church.  


Let us always pray the return of all heterodox to the Holy Orthodox Church

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3 years ago  ::  Oct 27, 2010 - 9:59PM #8
Kerygma
Posts: 798

No... it's more than that, Praj. This individual (if you trace her steps) spammed several boards with the same message and had her other posts locked as a result. It would appear that she was simply trolling.

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3 years ago  ::  Nov 01, 2010 - 7:40AM #9
Prajna
Posts: 1,705

Oh, I didn't know that.  Yes, that it very annoying.  To bad we can't have an auto-reply for stuff like this Laughing

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3 years ago  ::  Nov 06, 2010 - 5:58PM #10
ola
Posts: 23

oh boy......why must we always think the worst? my goodness.  Thanks Kerygma for the hateful private email message that you sent me. (so Christian of you)


FIRST, i posted in various forumns so i could get complete responses from various Christians.  I didn't only want to hear the Catholic reponse or the Orthodox or non-denominatinal response.  I wanted to hear what all Christians think.  I did not know that posting in various forumn was not allowed


SECOND: Actually, I will post my reply to your email message here below:


Wow.  I'm so sorry Kerygma.  I meant no offense whatsoever.   I didn't  even know there were responses.  I had my system set up to receive  emails when ppl responded and I didn't get ant emails.  I checked back a  few times and didn't see any immediate responses and forgot about it  there since I posed the question elsewhere where i received some  answers.  besides that i don't even check this email and just happen to  see your email right now.


Now on to your message:  again, wow! wow.  I can't help but to be taken  aback by your angered message where no anger is needed.  The responses I  got on other sites were detailed and sensible explaining to me the  answer to my question.  I'm sorry that you feel that I wrote the  question in spite when in fact I was honestly asking a very serious  question that i did not know the answer to and wanted to hear the answer  from other Christians, esp Christians who have statues.  A lot of them  (in other sites) kindly and sensibly, as mature and true Christians do,  answered my questions and showed me where I may have misinterpreted or  misunderstood, etc. etc.  You on the other hand ASSUMED the worst of me  and decided to send me an angered message.  You are the type of  Christians that we want non-believers to never hear about.  I think  Jesus said that we should be slow to anger but I guess you haven't read  that part of the Bible yet.  anyway, I will go back into your group and  read and answer the responses.  good day.


p.s. oh and i put all my titles in bold. don't take it personally.   sheesh!


oh by the way, here's a link to the Catholic forumn on here where  someone responded to my question and i answered back.  Notice how they  maturely and sensibly answered my question and notice my response.  Also  notice that that was a CATHOLIC forumn and if there was any group of  Christians to be pissed it woud be them since I named them in my title.   thank you:


community.beliefnet.com/go/thread/view/4...


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


So there you go.  No need to suspect I am a troll or am mean or whatever.  I had honest answers and have questioned things that I myself do or want to do (hypnosis, the law of attraction) and have questioned if I was doing the right things b/c it may be a way of worshipping something else instead of just praying.  A Christian has a right to question how to become a better Christian and wonder what is and is not truly wrong.  I was hoping that my Christian brothers and sisters could and can help me answer these questions since that it was these forumns are for.  I was happy to receive kind and detailed responses from other Christians.  Unfortunately I did not receive that here.  Good day.

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