Idol Worship with Objects and Luck
Forms of Idolatry
Is kneeling in front of statues when praying or praying with inanimate objects considered idolatry? Is carrying items of luck and wearing objects of protection idolatry? Let's see what the Bible has to say. Listed on: Online Directory at Dmegs.
Ye of Little Faith
Prayer with Objects
Prayer cloths, prayer ropes and prayer beads are used by many religions, not excluding Christianity, but that doesn't make it right. Some people have the beads worn around the wrist, or a finger while jogging or even made into jewelry, but that's not what God asked of us.
You may remember the story of the woman at the well. She was praying at the well as her forefathers had, and Jesus said to her "true worshippers will worship the Father with spirit and truth" (John 4:23 and 24). In other words, she didn't need to do this to feel close to God. You do not need eye contact with an inanimate object, but should instead worship God as God wants to be worshipped.
Jesus did not pray to an object or carry an object representing God or heaven or to remind him of God's word, or to remind him of his Father's expectations. So why do you? God would not expect you to do something that He would not also expect of his Son. When pictures of Jesus are used in material it is for illustration purposes only, but should not be used as an icon or object for prayer.
Do you really think praying using a cloth or beads or whatever else will make all your prayers come true. That’s kind of like the Disney childhood song “When You Wish Upon a Star” (your dreams come true). We are grown aren’t we? I mean when you think about it, it sounds like parochialism at best.
Items to Protect and Heal
People also carry or display things or wear things to protect one’s self, heal one's self, or to be saved. There are dolls, amulets, and even magical healing charms called Milagros in some faiths.
A certain Christian religion has eighteen different scapulars approved and with them came special promises and indulgences for those who wore them in devotion. My mother told me to wrap them around the bedpost so that it would protect me. Some scapulars are for the sick, while the popular brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (seen at right) promised salvation for the faithful who wore it piously. Hhmm, I thought scriptures told me that and following God's word did that, NOT scapulars. So now I have to put my trust in these swatches of fabric? If you believe in God and are faithful to his word, why do you need some patch of fabric to protect you? Isn’t his protection enough?
Pastor's Bold Promise to Fight Cancer
Items for God's Grace
Although not an official teaching, some members of Christian faiths believe in the wearing of the "Miraculous Medal" (or known as The Medal of the Immaculate Conception) around their neck or on a charm bracelet. Wearing it with faith and devotion supposedly through the intercession of Mary can bring special graces. So you have to wear this jewelry to get special graces? Isn't God's grace or His Divine grace good enough without all the pretentiousness that comes with that medal? Part of the definition that Wikipedia puts forward is that His grace: influences, regenerates, sanctifies, inspires, and imparts. That sounds a lot like the Holy Spirit, which Jesus already promised, when He said he would send a helper (John 14:16). He didn't say it would be gold jewelry.
Praying with Rosary
The rosary beads for example are not just used for prayer but are said to contain mysteries and yet provide a powerful armor. Does armor need to be mysterious? It's as if the rosary is somehow an invisible force-field to some people. The rosary is also supposed to provide for special graces. I need these beads for grace?
The use of rosary beads are used in which a set of prayers is recited in a particular order with ten "Hail Marys" and a "Glory Be" and then the cycle is repeated until one completes the circle of beads. It takes about 45 minutes in all. This is what the Bible means about vain repetition.
God does not want us to repetitively recite words that are mere memorization. Repeating the same words in a set pattern does not add weight to your prayer. In fact, the Bible cautions against doing so by stating "do not use vain repetitions", or meaningless repetitions (or some Bibles say needless repetitions or babble repetitiously).
Matthew 6:7 tells us "But when praying, do not say the same things over and over again, just as the people of the nations do, for they imagine they will get a hearing for the use of many words." So when you say 10 Hail Marys and a Glory Be isn't that the "use of many words" and isn't that repetitive? There is no mention of the rosary or any prayer beads in the Bible as an acceptable practice. That practice is completely made up by man. I know it's harsh, but the rosary beads themselves and using it during prayer are a form of idolatry.
Statues and Icons Praying
Shrines, pillars, altars, and statues
The Bible addresses statues, shrines, pillars, and altars as showpieces and idols and the false worship of such is idolatrous. Look at that rude little doll to the right representing the infant Jesus, which looks nothing like him. Jesus didn't have a crown, an elaborate robe, carry an orb, wear jewelry, and have all that glitter and gold, because Jesus was a simple carpenter. I'm sorry, but that is just offensive. Don't get me wrong because I understand this religion and a novena (a 9 day prayer), and my mother even has one of these dolls. I love my mother, NOT the doll.
Isaiah 44: 9 & 10 says "The formers of the carved image are all of them an unreality, and their darlings themselves will be of no benefit; and as their witnesses they see nothing and know nothing, in order that they may be ashamed. Who has formed a god or cast a mere molten image? Of no benefit at all has it been." Verses 11-17 goes further to discuss the maker of images and ends with "prostrates himself to it."
Exodus 20:4 and beginning of verse 5 tells us "You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or that is on the earth underneath or that is in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them nor be induced to serve them, because I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion."
Leviticus 26:1 & 2 reads "You must not make valueless gods for yourselves, and you must not set up a carved image or a sacred pillar for yourselves, and you must not put a stone as a showpiece in your land in order to bow down toward it; for I am Jehovah your God. You should keep my sabbaths and stand in awe of my sanctuary. I am Jehovah." Operative word is MY sanctuary not anyone else's sanctuary or shrine and certainly no statues of saints and Biblical figures.
In the latter part of 45:20 of Isaiah the Bible reads "Those carrying the wood of their carved image have not come to any knowledge, neither have those praying to a god that cannot save." While we are in Isaiah, turn to 46:1 and read through 7. I will quote 7 which is "They carry it upon the shoulder, they bear it and deposit it in its place that it may stand still. From its standing place it does not move away. One even cries out to it, but it does not answer; out of one's distress it does not save one."
1st Kings 18:21-39 tells the story of Baal, a false god and it's too long to quote but you can look it up and read it. After reading ask yourself for what does God have in common with Baal? If setting up alters and praying to a false god (Baal) is abhorrent then why would anyone pray to anything else or anyone else other than the one true God?
Some may say, . . . I don't pray to the statue I just pray in front of it and kneel and bow my head or use a saint's name. Do I need to repeat Leviticus, Exodus and Isaiah again? Any type of veneration or respect to those objects is considered idolatry. I hear over and over from people that they do it to feel closer to God, but actually you are driving a wedge.
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Luck Objects are Idols
People also carry things for good luck, like (four) 4 leaf clovers or a rabbit’s foot or hang a horseshoe over a door, but even then it has to be hung the right way, so they say, or otherwise you will not have good luck. Yet the Bible warns us about the god of luck (worded as god of destiny or sometimes as god of fate) as quoted in Isaiah 65:11. We are commanded to not have other gods, so why would anyone need to wish for luck, (which invokes Satan)? Yes Satan is a god, (lowercase “g”) for the Bible says he is the god of this system says 2nd Cor 4:4. He is not the One true God, but a god nonetheless, just like the god of destiny or luck. Speaking of luck, a black cat crossing your path thereby bringing bad luck is a superstitious concept with no teeth to support it, unless you want to induce Satan’s support. It’s as if non-believers of God that hold steadfast to their omens are implying that black cats are evil but cats of other color are not.
This is much like Greek, Norse or Egyptian mythology, which is exactly that – mythology. Some may or may not believe in prayer in school, and this article is not about that, but seriously why do high schools offer a class in mythology at all? If they spent more time teaching truth than myth, think about where we’d be as a human society. Just some food for thought.
The same can be said for chain letters, which I ignore completely. People also put faith into forwarding letters and e: mail, as if bad luck will befall them if they don’t participate in letter shuffling. Really? Well then, you might as well say you are a non-believer because you put more faith into the passing on of paper than the passing on of truth.
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Photo Credits and Attribution: Rabbit Foot by SaltyPirate; 4 Leaf Clover LaurelBlackman; Horsehoe boondock_boy all on Photobucket
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