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Letter to the Editor (13 Jul 2015 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Do Christians Worship Idols?



By Victor Edwin SJ, New Age Islam

13 July, 2015

Dear Editor,

Assalam u Alaikum

Recently a Muslim friend asked me about the statutes in the Church whether Christians worship statues. In other words: Are Christians idol worshipers?

We had a very helpful religious conversation around the topic. I would like to share with you ... and request if you judge this note useful, kindly publish in your esteemed journal.

Christians are monotheists. They affirm without ambiguity that worship is due to God alone. In his or her worship of God, a Christian adores the one living God. This worship includes three principal acts: namely adoration (or the recognition of God's infinite perfection), prayer or the asking for divine help, and sacrifice or the offering of something precious to God.

Christians also venerate angels and saints. Veneration like adoration has three principal forms. In venerating angels and saints; first, Christians honour the sanctity of the angels and saints; second, they pray to angels and saints to intercede before the divine Majesty; thirdly, Christians imitate saints and angels love for and service of God.

The statues one finds in the churches and chapels are symbolic form of the saints and angles. The purpose of keeping statues in the places of veneration is to recall the person whom the statue represents in order to inspire greater piety.

In history we meet a heresy termed as Iconoclasm (Etym. Greek eikon, image + Klaein, to break) that rejected the use of religious images as superstition. Saints John of Damascene and Theodore were the staunch defenders of sacred images. They emphasized that these images may be lawfully displayed and venerated. They made it clear that the respect shown the sacred images were really given to the person they represent.

I hope it suffices. Thanks for asking this question.

Yours in HIM

Victor Edwin SJ

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/letter-to-the-editor/victor-edwin-sj,-new-age-islam/do-christians-worship-idols?/d/103881





TOTAL COMMENTS:-   13


  • Dear Muslim friends:

    Peace and greetings. Recently in our New Age Islam my little note on adoration and veneration invited many helpful responses. I am grateful to the comments. One or two responses were on whether Christians are monotheists or not. I write this note as a way of ongoing dialogue with my Muslim friends.  

    Like Muslims, Christians too are monotheists.  Christians believe that God is one. They believe (within this frame of reference) that God has revealed Himself as Lord and Savior in and through Jesus Christ.  God has made himself present in Jesus Christ.  Christ does not exhaust the mystery of God. God cannot exhaust God’s self. But Christians believe that God’s design for humanity (Romans 16.25) is revealed in Christ.  God revealed his definitive plan in Christ. That definite plan is to recapitulate everything in Christ (Ephesians 1.9).

    Then, after speaking in many places and varied ways through the prophets, God “last of all in these days has spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1. 1-2). For He sent His Son, the eternal Word, who enlightens all men, so that He might dwell among men and tell them the innermost realities about God (cf. John 1. 1-18). Jesus Christ, therefore, the the Word made flesh, sent as “man to men” (Epistle to Diognetus VII.4), “speaks the words of God” (John 3.34), and completes the work of salvation which His Father gave him to do (cf. John 5.36; 17.4). To see Jesus is to see His Father (John 14.9). for this reason Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through His whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious Resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover, He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed: that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal (Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation: Dei Verbum, 4). 

    When Christians talk of Father – Son relationship between God and Jesus, Muslims think that Christians are speaking of a father and son relationship in a biological sense. The theological explanation of the Trinity through the concepts ‘nature’ (tabîa) and ‘person’ (shakhs, uqnûm) does not greatly help. Of the Arabic equivalents for persons, shakhs conveys the idea of a visible form, while uqnûm (the technical term used in Arabic Christian theological writing) is unfamiliar to contemporary Arabs. Tabîa refers to a created nature (Cf. Christian W Troll, Muslims Ask, Christians Answer (Gujarat Sahitya Prakash: Ananad, 2005), 46).  

    Often, I have been asked the same question. I simply share with them: the apostles in the light of resurrection of Jesus deeply felt that they have encountered God in the human person Jesus. Jesus was nailed on the cross by the Jewish authorities. He died on the cross. But God raised him. They met the Risen Christ. In the light of this unexplainable experience the apostles taught that the saving care and grace of God was given in and through the person of Jesus. As a Christian I do experience the life of God in the healing and reconciling words of Jesus. I encounter God in Christ. I believe that Jesus has revealed his relationship with God as Father. I witness to what I deeply believe. I give account of my faith with humility and joy and listen to the faith witnessing of Muslims with equal joy as I believe we can only apprehend the mystery of God and we could never exhaust the mystery of God.


    By Victor Edwin SJ - 8/15/2015 12:27:30 AM



  • The Catholic Faith was so named 'He Ekklesia Katholika' by St. Ignatius of Antioch, 107 AD on his way to martyrdom.  By that time the books of Sacred Scripture, Christ ordained worship in the Mass as worship, the episcopal model of hierarchy, and foundations of the Creed were established.  The vast majority of anti Catholic sects are in the USA and most have little education.  I admire Islam in that Muslims will come to the defense of one another.
    Veneration is holding as an extension of the sacred.  There are no canonized saints in the Christian sects or miracles.
    If people want to learn about what Christianity actually believes, consult the Catholic Catechism of the Church and not some sectarian movements that are misinformed and divisive.

    By Miriam12 - 7/14/2015 4:11:53 PM



  • Everybody here makes a mountain of a mole. Thus depriving serious student readers from the main and needed discussion and informations.
    I, myself have been asking myself "Do Christians Worship Idol"
    By Shadaab Saaquib - 7/14/2015 4:00:51 AM



  • King  Solomon, the Jewish prophet also had statues in temples though he was a monotheist.The Quran mentions this.In his age, it might have been permissible but not in Abrahamic religions later. The tradition of setting up statues in Churches is a Jewish tradition inserted into Christianity.
    By ahmad - 7/14/2015 1:14:12 AM



  • Let Christians do what they are comfortable with. Let us do what we are comfortable with. Let us not make issues out of  this.

     


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 7/14/2015 12:21:51 AM



  • any work of liberal if it coincides with the Quran is welcomed by Muslim.
    but nobody wants to answer why Allah promised to keep his word the Quran protected but not early world.
    it is only possible if the God predestined the matters before the creation.
    Allah wanted his early words be corrupted so they are corrupt. because Allah decided the Quran be protected, it is protected.
    this is the belief of Muslims.
    Did man evolved so much in 600 years that God sent its last word? has not man evolved much more in 1400 years?
    it is all about the moods of God which keeps changing. 
    Centuries passed but God remained silent. but he sent last word just after 600 years. 

    By rational - 7/13/2015 10:54:55 PM



  • any work of liberal if it coincides with the Quran is welcomed by Muslim.
    but nobody wants to answer why Allah promised to keep his word the Quran protected but not early world.
    it is only possible if the God predestined the matters before the creation.
    Allah wanted his early words be corrupted so they are corrupt. because Allah decided the Quran be protected, it is protected.
    this is the belief of Muslims.
    Did man evolved so much in 600 years that God sent its last word? has not man evolved much more in 1400 years?
    it is all about the moods of God which keeps changing. 
    Centuries passed but God remained silent. but he sent last word just after 600 years. 

    By rational - 7/13/2015 10:51:33 PM



  • It is important to note here that the Christian understanding of God is different in a very fundamental way from the Islamic (and also Jewish) understanding.

    The Christians have developed a belief in the “Trinity”, and so their understanding of God is very different. Many Christian and former Christian scholars themselves have pointed out that the ‘Trinity” is a later invention and that it was not taught by Jesus. Some of the things they are saying about the inventions of false doctrines about Jesus by those who call themselves Christians are precisely what the Quran revealed many centuries ago.

     

    These days, I am reading an amazing book on this and related issues, called Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don’t Know About Them)”, by a leading American scholar on Christianity, Bart Ehrman, who is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (USA), and a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus.

     

    Ehrman studied in a Christian seminary, but later realized that what the Church teaches about Jesus is to great extent concoctions that developed after Jesus [and this includes the notion of the ‘Trinity’]. He says that many Christian scholars who have studied in liberal seminaries in the West know this very well but remain silent on this in front of their congregations.

    You can download several books by Bart Ehrman on these and related issues from the Internet free of cost [just type in “Bart Ehrman pdf” and the name of the book as key words]. I downloaded the following books by him:

    1.      Lost Christianities: Christian Scriptures and the Battles Over Authentication

    2.      Forged: Writing in the Name of God—Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

    3.      Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

     (This is a New York Times Bestseller)

    4.      “Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the

    Bible (and Why We Don’t Know About Them).

     

    Ehrman has written several more such books, including one titled  How Jesus Became God, whose title indicates how Jesus, who never claimed to be God, was later deified by people who claimed to follow him.

     


    By Fazl - 7/13/2015 9:49:32 PM



  • webmaster
    thanks for your worry.the comment is getting uploaded almost immediately. but after posting the comment. the captcha remains same.
    it may be something wrong on my side though i am usung latest Firefox browser.
    it was working well. suddenlt it changed the behavior.
    i am unable to do it right.

    By rational - 7/13/2015 8:24:16 PM



  • Dear Rational Saheb, could you please tell me, what exactly happens when your comment gets posted twice or thrice.

     I tried to do it without putting in another captcha text in an old article, it didn't work, the comment did not get posted twice. Now we can see the message immediately after posting, if the comment has been posted or the captcha text was wrong and has to be put in again

     I would be grateful if you can recall how and why it happens.


    By Webmaster - 7/13/2015 12:26:23 PM



  • no matter how much shirk is condemned in Christianity or Islam both do it with great interest.
    same reasons from Hindus are not accepted by these monotheists. they consider them idol-worshipers though in every religion something is equal to shirk.


    By rational - 7/13/2015 9:15:28 AM



  • no matter how much shirk is condemned in Christianity or Islam both do it with great interest.
    same reasons from Hindus are not accepted by these monotheists. they consider them idol-worshipers though in every religion something is equal to shirk.


    By rational - 7/13/2015 8:44:13 AM



  • Mr. Edwin's letter or article very clearly shows how far Christians have departed from the teachings of Jesus. There is no evidence to suggest that Jesus venerated the ‘saints’ and that he called upon his followers to do so.

    The Christians’ ‘veneration’ and ‘adoration’ angels and ‘saints’, Mr. Edwin says, includes “pray[ing] to angels and saints to intercede before the divine Majesty.”  

    Praying to anyone other than God is against monotheism. So, in which way can Mr. Edwin claim, as he does in the beginning of his letter, claim that Christians are monotheists? Further, there is no evidence, even in the books that Christians take to be sacred, that Jesus ever asked his followers to “pray to angels and saints to intercede before the divine Majesty.”  

    Mr. Edwin seeks to legitimize the purpose in Christians keeping statues in places of veneration. Again, clearly this is not something that Jesus ever taught. It is a later innovation, again showing how far those who call themselves Christians have deviated from Jesus’ teachings.

    Another point: Mr. Edwin mentions about Christians venerating saints and venerating ‘sacred’ images. It needs to be pointed out that it is the Catholics who do so, and not all Christians, as far as I know. The Protestant churches, as far as I know, don’t have statues and the Protestants do not believe in the cult of the ‘saints’.


    By Run - 7/13/2015 7:28:15 AM



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