Friday, September 5, 2008

Why do you Catholics worship statues?

We don’t. Many people ask why Catholics use icons. Icons are things like crucifixes, relics, statues, stained glass windows, and all of those physical images that we have in our churches. I have had the Bible quoted to me as saying “make no graven image of things in Heaven or on Earth” to “prove” that this practice is wrong.

First, why do we have icons? I’ll talk about the history of the Bible at another time, but suffice to say there was no Bible for the first 400 years after Jesus’ death. There were writings but nine out of ten people were illiterate. Icons allowed those who didn’t have access to the writings of the Bible to follow along and learn about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection through images instead of words. That’s the core reason for icons.

The Bible does say make no graven image; but doesn’t God himself tell David to make images of four angels on the Arc of the Covenant? What about the image of the serpent God instructs Aaron to make and use? What about a Protestant children’s Bible with pictures of Jesus and the holy family n it? Is this a contradiction or is it one of those “context” things I keep hearing about?

When the Bible says make no graven image, it’s warning against creating idols to be worshipped as if they were gods. Catholics don’t worship their icons; so they’re no different than a child’s picture Bible.

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