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Encyclopedia > Idolatry in Christianity
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Christianity

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Idolatry, in Christian theology, is "the worship of a created object" rather than the true God. The term "idol" often refers to conceptual constructs such as fame, money, nationality, ethnicity, and the ritual of attachment related to these is considered idolatry. Because a knowledge of God is supposed to transcend the conceptual, residing instead within people's emotional understanding, the theological concept of idolaty is related to the psychological concept of attachment. The neutrality of this article is disputed. ... Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus of Nazareth, known by Christians as Jesus Christ, as recounted in the New Testament. ... Theology is reasoned discourse concerning God (Greek θεος, theos, God, + λογος, logos, word or reason). It can also refer to the study of other religious topics. ... Worship usually refers to specific acts of religious praise, honour, or devotion, typically directed to a supernatural being such as a god or goddess. ... Michelangelos depiction of God in the painting Creation of the Sun and Moon in the Sistine Chapel This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and derived henotheistic forms. ... The term attachment has multiple meanings: An email attachment Psychological attachment: see Attachment theory Attachment as a vice in Buddhism; see Buddhism This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The neutrality of this article is disputed. ... Theology is reasoned discourse concerning God (Greek θεος, theos, God, + λογος, logos, word or reason). It can also refer to the study of other religious topics. ... Psychology (ancient Greek: psyche = soul or mind, logos/-ology = study of) is an academic and applied field involving the study of the mind and behavior, both human and (less frequently) nonhuman. ...


Some Christians, who may venerate icons, still use the term "idol" to describe any non-Christian three-dimensional representative cult image, with the consistent exception of Greek and Roman sculpture. The Christian view toward what is considered idolatry, and what constitutes an idol, is largely inherited from monotheist Judaism; Islam adopted a similar view as well, albeit with differences. But Christianity brought what is considered a more relaxed view on matters of law than a strict interpretation of Hebrew scripture dictated. This is seen by Christians not as a deviation from Jewish traditions, but an deeper understanding of the law in the context of human life and a "personal relationship" with God. Thus, in the Christian view, the idol and its worship are not so much the cause of sin, as it is a symptom of a deeper deviation from God; one which can 'be reconciled through Christ,' or after which man 'can be redeemed by the Holy Spirit.' The Savior (1410s, by Andrei Rublev) For other senses of this word, see icon (disambiguation). ... In the practice of religion, a cult image is a man-made object that is venerated for the spirit or daemon that it embodies. ... Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus of Nazareth, known by Christians as Jesus Christ, as recounted in the New Testament. ... The neutrality of this article is disputed. ... The neutrality of this article is disputed. ... Monotheism (in Greek μόνος = single and θεός = God), in contrast with polytheism, is the belief in one god, simpy put it is the belief in a single deity. ... Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people with around 14 million followers (as of 2005 [1]). It is one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths and one of the oldest religious traditions still practiced today. ... Islam (Arabic: ; ( (help· info)), submission (to the will of God)) is a monotheistic faith, one of the Abrahamic religions, and the worlds second-largest religion. ... Michelangelos depiction of God in the painting Creation of the Sun and Moon in the Sistine Chapel This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and derived henotheistic forms. ...


Paul of Tarsus would later interpret Jesus' teachings in a culturally inclusive way; one that tends to somewhat overlook the stereotypical earmarks of "idolatry," and defines Christianity as a universalist religion. This led also to the proselytizing and missionary (or conversion) aspect of Christianity, which could often cause a hostile relationship with pagan religions, rather than inclusive one. Christian proselytism would also at times have anti-Judaist aims for converting Jews, under the claim that the apparent Jewish exclusion of salvation, among other things, made a reverence for the written law a kind of idolatry. Islam and Christianity would also quarrel with each other but on a much larger scale, due to their mutual universalism and (often hostile) designs on conversion. An early portrait of the Apostle Paul. ... In comparative religion, a universalist religion is one that holds itself true for all people; it thus allows all to join, regardless of ethnicity. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A missionary is a propagator of religion, often an evangelist or other representative of a religious community who works among those outside of that community. ... In general, conversion is the transformation of one thing into another. ... Paganism (from Latin paganus) and Heathenry are catch-all terms which have come to connote a broad set of spiritual/religious beliefs and practices of a natural religion, as opposed to the Abrahamic religions. ... An example of state-sponsored atheist anti-Judaism. ... Salvation refers to deliverance from an undesirable state or condition. ...

Contents


Hebrew origins

Idolatry is prohibited by many verses in the Hebrew Bible. There is no one section that clearly defines idolatry; rather there are a number of commandments on this subject spread through the books of the Hebrew Bible, some of which were written in different historical eras, in response to different issues. Taking these verses together, idolatry in the Hebrew Bible is defined as the worship of idols (or images); the worship of polytheistic gods by use of idols (or images) and even the use of idols in the worship of God, the one deity worshipped by the Israelites. 11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum This article discusses usage of the term Hebrew Bible. For the article on the Hebrew Bible itself, see Tanakh. ...


Judaism's animosity towards what they perceived as idolatry was inherited by Christianity, but with the development of Christianity came a differing interpretation and theology regarding idolatry. While the Hebrew Bible considers it a sin to portray even the one Biblical God in any image, the New Testament reveals an image of Jesus, who was seen by the Apostles and subsequent Christians as God incarnate. Indeed, Jesus was visible, and Christians believe that Jesus is God. Furthermore, some Christians believe that the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo ² are actually images that Jesus left at the Resurrection. For Christians, the incarnation of God and the images He may have left behind, provide a basis for images in worship. Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people with around 14 million followers (as of 2005 [1]). It is one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths and one of the oldest religious traditions still practiced today. ... Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus of Nazareth, known by Christians as Jesus Christ, as recounted in the New Testament. ... 11th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible with Targum This article discusses usage of the term Hebrew Bible. For the article on the Hebrew Bible itself, see Tanakh. ... See New Covenant for the concept translated as New Testament in the KJV. The New Testament, sometimes called the Greek Testament or Greek Scriptures, and, in recent times, also New Covenant, is the name given to the part of the Christian Bible that was written in the first centuries of... Jesus (Greek: , IÄ“sous) (8-2 BC/BCE – 29-36 AD/CE),[1] also known as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus the Nazarene, is the central figure of Christianity, in which context he is known as Jesus Christ, where Christ is a Greek title meaning Anointed, corresponding to the Hebrew... The Twelve Apostles (in Koine Greek απόστολος apostolos [1], someone sent forth/sent out, an emissary) were probably Galilean Jewish men (10 names are Aramaic, 4 names are Greek) chosen from among the disciples, who were sent forth by Jesus of Nazareth to preach the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles... The first photo of the Shroud of Turin, taken in 1898, had the surprising feature that the image on the negative was clearer than the positive image. ... The Sudarium of Oviedo is a bloodstained cloth kept in Oviedo, Spain and claimed to be the cloth that was wrapped around the head of Jesus of Nazareth after he died. ... It has been suggested that Resurrection of the dead be merged into this article or section. ...


Idolatry in the New Testament

Jesus, discussing the Ten Commandments in the Sermon on the Mount, does not speak of issues regarding the meaning of the commandment against idolatry, suggesting that he concurred in the current understanding of the Jews of his time. In the Gospel of John, Jesus claimed that because his disciples had seen him, they had seen God the Father (Gospel of John 14:7-9 [1]). Paul of Tarsus referred to Jesus as the "image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15 [2]). The Ten Commandments on a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol This 1768 parchment (612x502 mm) by Jekuthiel Sofer emulated 1675 decalogue at the Esnoga synagogue of Amsterdam The Ten Commandments, or Decalogue, is a list of religious and moral imperatives which, according to the Bible, was... The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch. ... The Gospel according to John is the fourth gospel document in the sequence of the canon of the New Testament, and scholars agree it was the fourth to be written down. ... An early portrait of the Apostle Paul. ...


A major controversy among early Christians concerned whether it was permissible to eat meat that had been offered in pagan worship. Paul of Tarsus said that it was permitted to do so, provided that scandal was not caused by it; however, he says that the gods worshipped in idolatry are in fact demons, and that any act of direct participation in their worship remained forbidden. (1 Corinthians 10:14-22) [3] Paul's teaching is largely consonant with contemporary Jewish understandings; while he mocked the idols themselves as delusive non-entities, their worship was nonetheless to be regarded a spiritual menace. An early portrait of the Apostle Paul. ... St. ... See also: Second Epistle to the Corinthians and Third Epistle to the Corinthians The First Epistle to the Corinthians is a book of the Bible in the New Testament. ...


When Constantine I ended the persecution of Christians and began to favor Christianity, though, its status as the favoured imperial religion brought in a large influx of pagan converts who remained attached to their former religious practices. Protestant historians believe that over time, this tended to diminish the church's zeal to reject idolatry, and to encourage accommodation to polytheism and the worship or veneration of images and artifacts. Those Christians who reject these developments refer to this process as the Great Apostasy. Catholic and Orthodox historians affirm, on the basis of archeological finds in the Catacombs for instance, that the veneration of icons and relics began well before Constantine ended the state-sponsored persecution of Christians. Many paintings in the Catacombs have extremely early dates. Constantine. ... The Great Apostasy is a term of opprobrium used by some religious groups to allege a general fallen state of traditional Christianity, or especially of Catholicism, reformist Protestantism and (often merely by implication) Eastern Orthodoxy: that it is not representative of the faith founded by Jesus and promulgated through his... The original catacombs were a network a underground burial galleries near San Sebastiano fuori le mura, in Rome. ... (Latin veneratio, Greek δουλια dulia) In traditional Christian churches (for example, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy), veneration, or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a dead person who has been identified as singular in the traditions of the religion, and through them honoring God who made them and... The Savior (1410s, by Andrei Rublev) For other senses of this word, see icon (disambiguation). ... Some of the Roman Catholics relics are two thousand years old A view inside the shrine of Saint Boniface of Dokkum in the hermit-church of Warfhuizen. ... Many Christians have experienced persecution from both non-Christians and from other Christians during the history of Christianity. ...


The oldest surviving Christian Byzantine icons were made in the Byzantine Empire; they date to the 500s. [4] Precursors to Byzantine iconography have been found in Christian catacombs from the 2nd and 3rd centuries, in the form of pictures of Old Testament scenes and of Jesus Christ. There are similar paintings of Old Testament scenes found in Jewish catacombs of the same time frame.[5] The Christian use of relics also dates to the catacombs, when Christians found themselves praying in the presence of the bodies of martyrs, sometimes using their tombs as altars for sharing the Eucharist. Many stories of the earliest martyrs end with an account of how Christians would gather up the martyr's remains, to the extent possible, in order to retain the martyr's relics. Byzantine Empire (Greek: ) is the term conventionally used since the 19th century to describe the Greek-speaking Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople. ... Centuries: 5th century - 6th century - 7th century Decades: 450s - 460s - 470s - 480s - 490s - 500s - 510s - 520s - 530s - 540s - 550s Years: 500 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 Events and Trends: Clovis I, king of the Franks, defeats the Visigoths at the battle of Vouille in 507... The Eucharist or Communion or The Lords Supper, is the rite that Christians perform in fulfillment of Jesus instruction, recorded in the New Testament, to do in memory of him what he did at his Last Supper. ...


The prohibition of idolatry in Christianity

Historically, the permitted scope of the veneration of images and statues has been a controversial one in the history of Christianity. Muslims were the first to criticize the Christian use of images. Because they don't believe that Jesus is God and also believe that there is no other way either to visually represent an invisible God, they condemn the use of any form of representational art in prayer or worship. They were the first iconoclasts (literally "icon smashers"). Some claim that the historical controversy involving iconoclasm in the Byzantine Empire was a response to Muslim critics of the practice. This article outlines the history of Christianity and provides links to relevant topics. ... Islam (Arabic: ; ( (help· info)), submission (to the will of God)) is a monotheistic faith, one of the Abrahamic religions, and the worlds second-largest religion. ... Illustration of the Beeldenstorm during the Dutch reformation Literally, iconoclasm is the destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually for religious or political motives. ... Byzantine Empire (Greek: ) is the term conventionally used since the 19th century to describe the Greek-speaking Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople. ...


Protestant views of idolatry

Many Protestants, especially those of evangelical or fundamentalist sects, believe that in attributing holiness or power to human artifacts, they foster disbelief in God's omnipotence, and his independent and sovereign will, and suggest instead to human fallibility that God can be manipulated. To them, this is the essence of idolatry considered as a sin. They also consider the Roman Catholic cult of relics to be idolatry, as is the practice of pilgrimage to distant shrines; they hold instead that God is no less accessible here and now than he is in a distant holy place. Especially suspect in Protestant eyes is the belief that articles such as Lourdes water, holy water, blessed handkerchiefs, and so forth possess supernatural powers, such as for healing. To the Protestant mind, this seems akin to the forbidden practice of magic. For these believers, idolatry can be viewed as a sort of fetishism. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23) Jesus spoke these words to a Samaritan woman who wished to discuss sectarian divisions about the right shrine to worship at; many Protestants read Jesus' response as dismissing the importance of such divisions. Instead, they interpret this passage to mean that true worship is a matter of the spirit, the mind and the heart — in other words, it is highly abstract. Sacred places, shrines, and ritual tools and forms are, at the very least, not of the essence of the faith. Worse, if a special sanctity is thought to abide in some object, it represents a spiritual danger. Protestantism is a movement within Christianity, representing the splitting away from the Roman Catholic Church during the mid-to-late Renaissance in Europe—a period known as the Protestant Reformation. ... A cultural artifact is an man-made object which gives information about the culture of its creator and users. ... Omnipotence (literally, all power) is power with no limits or inexhaustible, in other words, unlimited power. ... Some of the Roman Catholics relics are two thousand years old A view inside the shrine of Saint Boniface of Dokkum in the hermit-church of Warfhuizen. ... Pilgrim at Mecca For other uses of the word pilgrimage, see Pilgrimage (disambiguation). ... Eastern Orthodox shrine Buddhist shrine just outside Wat Phnom. ... Statue of the Blessed Virgin of Lourdes Our Lady of Lourdes Basilica Lourdes (Lorda in Occitan) is a town in the Hautes-Pyrénées département in France. ... The baptismal font at St. ... Magic or sorcery are terms referring to the alleged influencing of events and physical phenomena by supernatural, mystical, or paranormal means. ... A fetish (from French fétiche; from Portuguese feitiço; from Latin facticius, artificial and facere, to make) is a natural object believed to have supernatural powers, or in particular a man-made object that has power over others. ... The Gospel according to John is the fourth gospel document in the sequence of the canon of the New Testament, and scholars agree it was the fourth to be written down. ... Samaritans are both a religious and an ethnic group. ... Eastern Orthodox shrine Buddhist shrine just outside Wat Phnom. ...


Almost all Protestants (as well as most Jews and most leading Muslims) hold that veneration and worship are for all practical purposes identical. Protestants who hold this position also believe that sacrificial worship (which Roman Catholics and the Orthodox call latria, see below) no longer holds a place in Christian worship; Christ's sacrifice on the Cross is unique, unrepeatable, and complete for all time, so that no human act can add or subtract from its power, or lay claim to its saving efficacy. Sacrifice (from a Middle English verb meaning to make sacred, from Old Marcus Aurelius and members of the Imperial family offer sacrifice in gratitude for success against Germanic tribes: contemporary bas-relief, Capitoline Museum, Rome French, from Latin sacrificium : sacer, sacred; sacred + facere, to make) is commonly known as the...


Most typically, non-Catholic Christians are not offended by religious art, or pictorial representations of Christ, especially as he is depicted in biblical or historical settings. However, some consider it necessary to avoid religious use of these objects, especially as the focus of communal worship. In order to avoid praying before them, lighting candles to them, and other acts that make it appear as if the image itself is holy or an object of devotion, many Protestants avoid locating any representational art in front of the congregation, although exceptions may be made for the Christian cross. In most cases, it is the devotional use, especially, that is avoided. The traditional form of the Christian cross, known as the Latin cross. ...


In some cases, it is not only the veneration of images, but also the making of an image that is avoided. Any visual representations of Jesus of Nazareth, including drawings, paintings, stained glass windows, sculpture, and other forms of representational art, are considered a violation of the commandment of God prohibiting the pretended depiction of deity by images. Calvinist theologian J. I. Packer, in chapter 3 of his book Knowing God, asserted that even to imagine Jesus Christ as having a specific physical appearance would be a form of idol worship. A typical Christian argument for this position might be that, God was incarnate as a human being, not as an object of wood, stone or canvas; and, therefore the only God-directed service of images permitted, is the service of other people. J. I. Packer James Innell Packer (born July 22, 1926 in Gloucester, England) is a British-born Canadian Christian theologian in the Reformational Anglican tradition. ...


Others go even farther to eliminate, if it were possible, any kind of religiously symbolic art of any kind, in addition to any representational art. The use of a cross, censer, candles, or vestments in a place of worship, is considered idolatrous by some. By using tools and items of furniture or clothing only in the context of religious ritual, these implements seem set apart as holy; they would be profaned by ordinary use. This too is believed to pose a danger that these objects are being worshipped or are becoming talismans. During the period of Archbishop William Laud's conflicts with Puritans within the Church of England, the use of ritual implements prescribed by the Book of Common Prayer was a frequent cause of conflict. (See vestments controversy) For other uses, see Cross (disambiguation). ... A censer is a vessel for burning incense. ... A lit candle. ... Vestments are liturgical garments and articles associated primarily with the Christian religions, especially the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican Churches. ... A modern hammer is directly descended from ancient hand tools A tool is a device that (most commonly) provides a mechanical advantage in accomplishing a physical task. ... Furniture is the collective term for the movable objects which support the human body (seating furniture and beds), provide storage, and hold objects on horizontal surfaces above the ground. ... Men and women wearing suits, an example of one of the many modern forms of clothing (from the 1937 Chicago Woolen Mills catalog) Clothing is defined, in its broadest sense, as coverings for the torso and limbs as well as coverings for the hands (gloves), feet (socks, shoes, sandals, boots... Talisman can refer to: An amulet sometimes believed to have mystical, and amazing powers The Talisman board game from Games Workshop Talisman - Sacred Cities, Secret Faith by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval Talisman (band) - a hard rock band. ... William Laud (October 7, 1573 – January 10, 1645) was Archbishop of Canterbury and a fervent supporter of Charles I of England whom he encouraged to believe in the Divine Right of Kings. ... The Puritans were members of a group of English Protestants seeking further reforms or even separation from the established church during the Reformation. ... The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England, and acts as the mother and senior branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, as well as a founding member of the Porvoo Communion. ... 1979 ECUSABCP The Book of Common Prayer is the prayer book of the Church of England and also the name for similar books used in other churches in the Anglican Communion. ... The vestments controversy arose in the English Reformation, ostensibly concerning vestments, but more fundamentally concerned with English Protestant identity, doctrine, and various church practices. ...


Some Protestant groups have criticized the use of stained-glass windows by many other denominations, while Jehovah's Witnesses criticize the use of windows, statuary, as well as the wearing of a cross. The Amish are the only Christian group that forbids the use of images in secular life. In their critiques, these groups argue that such practices are in effect little different from idolatry, and that they localize and particularize God, whom they argue is beyond human depiction. Amish couple in a horse-drawn buggy in rural Holmes County, Ohio, the site of one of the largest concentrations of Amish in the United States The Amish are a denomination of Anabaptists, found primarily in the United States and Canada, noted for their restrictions on the use of modern... Michelangelos depiction of God in the painting Creation of the Sun and Moon in the Sistine Chapel This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and derived henotheistic forms. ...


For Protestants, all religious images and all conceptions of the Deity that can be apprehended by human senses are problematic. The problem was captured in verse by C. S. Lewis, who wrote a poem he called A Footnote to All Prayer: C.S. Lewis Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898–22 November 1963), commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis was an Irish author and scholar, of mixed Irish, English, and Welsh ancestry. ...

He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou,
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing Thou art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
Worshiping with frail images a folk-lore dream,
And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address
The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
Thou in magnetic mercy to Thyself divert
Our arrows, aimed unskillfully, beyond desert;
And all men are idolaters, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if Thou take them at their word.
Take not, O Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in thy great
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.

Every sensory or mental image we have of the Deity is a figment of human imagination that falls short of the truth. For Protestants, the prohibition of the worship of graven images is the beginning of the acknowledgment of this limitation on the human mind and imagination. Phidias (or Pheidias) son of Charmides, (circa 490 BC - circa 430 BC) was an ancient Greek sculptor, universally regarded as the greatest of Greek sculptors. ... Folklore is the body of verbal expressive culture, including tales, legends, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs current among a particular population, comprising the oral tradition of that culture, subculture, or group. ...


Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox understanding of the use of images

Anglican Christians, Catholic Christians, Orthodox Christians consider the previous examples as that of iconoclasm, which was officially condemned by Catholics and Orthodox at the Second Council of Nicaea (787), in which process St. John of Damascus was pivotal. The Protestant Reformation also involved the removal and destruction of many shrines, images, and relics from churches converted to Protestant worship in the 16th century. This was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church in the Council of Trent. The Second Council of Nicaea was the seventh ecumenical council of Christianity; it met in 787 AD in Nicaea (site of the First Council of Nicaea) to restore the honoring of icons (or, holy images), which had been suppressed by imperial edict inside the Byzantine Empire during the reign of... This article is about the year 787. ... John of Damascus (Latin: Iohannes Damascenus or Johannes Damascenus also known as John Damascene, Chrysorrhoas, streaming with gold—i. ... The Protestant Reformation was a movement which emerged in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe. ... Some of the Roman Catholics relics are two thousand years old A view inside the shrine of Saint Boniface of Dokkum in the hermit-church of Warfhuizen. ... The Council of Trent is reckoned by the Roman Catholic Church to be the Nineteenth Ecumenical Council of the universal church. ...


Use of images in religious life, e.g. the honouring of the cross, and pray using depictions of deceased holy figures, known as saints. They also venerate images and symbolic liturgical objects with actions such as kissing, bowing, and making the sign of the cross. They point to the Old Testament patterns of worship followed by the Hebrew people as examples of how certain places and things used in worship may be treated with reverence or venerated, without worshipping them. The Ark of the Covenant was treated with great reverence and included images of cherubim on top of it, and certain miracles were associated with it, yet this was not condemned. Similarly, they see the staff with golden serpents (which God commanded Moses to make and lift high so as to cure any Israelites who looked at it of a plague that was sweeping through the people at the time) as image and an archetype (or foreshadowing) of Jesus Christ being lifted up on the Cross (Jesus referred to the serpent-staff himself once in the Gospels, when foretelling his death). King Hezekiah destroyed this staff which the Hebrew people had been burning incense to (2 Kings 18:4 [6]); 2 Kings 17 indicates that they had previously turned from the Lord and lost favor, i.e. were due for punishment for serving Baal. The traditional form of the Christian cross, known as the Latin cross. ... In general, the term Saint refers to someone who is exceptionally virtuous and holy. ... (Latin veneratio, Greek δουλια dulia) In traditional Christian churches (for example, Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy), veneration, or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a dead person who has been identified as singular in the traditions of the religion, and through them honoring God who made them and... The Sign of the Cross is a ritual performed mainly within Latin-Rite Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and the Oriental Orthodox, as well as Eastern-Rite Catholicism, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism. ... Note: Judaism commonly uses the term Tanakh, but not Old Testament, because it does not recognize the concept of a New Testament. ... A late 19th-century artists conception of the Ark of the Covenant, employing a Renaissance cassone for the Ark and cherubim as latter-day Christian angels The Ark of the Covenant (ארון הברית in Hebrew: aron habrit) is described in the Hebrew Bible as a sacred container built at the command... Nehushtan was a staff of copper and brass. ... Hezekiah (Hebrew: חזקיה or חזקיהו, whom God has strengthened) was king of Judah, the son of Ahaz and Abi (2 Kings 18:1-2) or Abijah (2 Chronicles 29:1). ... The Books of Kings (also known as [The Book of] Kings in Hebrew: Sefer Melachim מלכים) is a part of Judaisms Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. ... Baal is a Semitic title and honorific meaning lord that is used for various gods, spirits and demons particularly of the Levant. ...


Christianity, then, holds that the essential element of the commandment not to make "any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above" is to not "bow down and worship" the image itself nor a false god through the image. Christian theology offers the following explanations of liturgical practice that features images, icons, statues, and the like:

  1. Catholic theology expressly affirms that the image of Christ receives the same latria or worship that is due to God; see St. Thomas, Summa, III, 25, 3. In the case of an image of a saint, the worship would not be latria but rather dulia, while the Blessed Virgin Mary receives hyperdulia. The worship of whatever type, latria, hyperdulia, or dulia, can be considered to go through the icon, image, or statue: "The honor given to an image reaches to the prototype" (St. John Damascene in Summa ³).
  2. Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that the incarnation of Jesus makes it permissible to venerate icons, and even necessary to do so in order to preserve the truth of the Incarnation. Indeed, following from the Summa reference supra, the veneration of icons is mandatory; to not venerate icons would imply that Jesus was not also fully God, or to deny that Jesus had a real physical body. Both of these alternatives are incompatible with the christology defined at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 and summarized in the Chalcedonian Creed.
  3. Both the literal worship of an inanimate object, and latria or sacrificial worship to something or someone that is not God, are forbidden; yet such are not the basis for Christian worship. The Catholic knows "that in images there is no divinity or virtue on account of which they are to be worshipped, that no petitions can be addressed to them, and that no trust is to be placed in them. . . that the honour which is given to them is referred to the objects (prototypa) which they represent, so that through the images which we kiss, and before which we uncover our heads and kneel, we adore Christ and venerate the Saints whose likenesses they are" (Conc. find., Sess. XXV, de invocatione Sanctorum).
  4. The vast majority of Christian denominations hold that God particularized himself when he took on flesh and was born as Jesus; through this act God is said to have blessed material things and made them good again. By rising physically from the dead, ascending bodily into Heaven, and promising Christians a physical resurrection, God thus indicates that it is not wrong to be "attached" to physical things, and that matter is not inherently evil, unlike the ancient teachings of Gnosticism.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Idolatry - LoveToKnow 1911 (743 words)
In an age when the study of religion was practically confined to Judaism and Christianity, idolatry was regarded as a degeneration from an uncorrupt primeval faith, but the comparative and historical investigation of religion has shown it to be rather a stage of an upward movement, and that by no means the earliest.
To give concreteness to the vague ideas thus worshipped the idol, at first rough and crude, comes to the help of the savage, and in course of time through inability to distinguish subjective and objective, comes to be identified with the idea it originally symbolized.
Idolatry was made a crime against the state by the laws of Constantius (Cod.
Christianity - Crystalinks (2595 words)
Christianity is thus both a living tradition of faith and the culture that the faith leaves behind as a kind of deposit.
Christianity is based on a particular experience or scheme directed to the act of saving--that is, of bringing or "buying back," which is part of what redemption means, these creatures of God to their source in God.
Christians, it might be said, used the vocabulary and repertory of options then available to them in speaking of the all-encompassing and the ineffable and grafted these onto the witness to God that was essential to their faith.
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