Katholisch Leben!

The Jesus Brothers

Bilder = Götzendienst?

"Die dem Bild erwiesene Ehrfurcht geht auf das Urbild über, und beide erfahren eine Verehrung, weil beide eine Gestalt haben."

Basilius d. Große (zwischen 329 und 331 bis 379)


Katholiken beten Götzen an und machen geschnitzte Bilder - was in der Bibel verboten ist!

Lesen wir 4 Mos 21,8: "Der Herr antwortete Mose: Mach dir eine Schlange und häng sie an einer Fahnenstange auf! Jeder, der gebissen wird, wird am Leben bleiben, wenn er sie ansieht." (Einheitsübersetzung).

Gott gebietet also Moses, ein Bild (in diesem Fall eine Skulptur) einer Schlange zu machen und es an einer Fahnenstange aufzuhängen, sodass die, die gebissen wurden, am Leben bleiben, wenn sie die Skulptur ansehen. Man stelle sich das mal heute vor - ein Bild oder eine Skulptur, das Menschen heilt, wenn sie es anblicken. So wie Jesus an eine "Stange" (dem Kreuz) geschlagen wurde, sodass Ihn alle sehen konnten, kann auch das ein Bild sein das heilen kann. Denken wir doch einmal an die Statuen, Gemälde oder Bilder bei uns zuhause oder in unseren Kirchen: sie erinnern uns an die, die wir lieben.

Katholiken beten keine Bilder oder Statuen an. Um es mal zu verdeutlichen: Wenn du als Familienvater ein Bild deiner Familie in der Geldbörse hast, das du ab und zu heraus nimmst und leibevoll betrachtet, so ist es ja auch nicht das Bild an sich, das due mit Liebe ansiehst, sondern es erinnert dich an jemand, den du liebst. Nicht anders ist es bei uns Katholiken.

Gehen wir nun zu Exodus 25,18-19: "Mach zwei Kerubim aus getriebenem Gold und arbeite sie an den beiden Enden der Deckplatte heraus! Mach je einen Kerub an dem einen und an dem anderen Ende; auf der Deckplatte macht die Kerubim an den beiden Enden!" (Einheitsübersetzung).

Gott ordnet also die Herstellung von zwei Bildern bzw. Statuen von Engeln an, die auf der Deckplatte der Bundeslade angebracht werden sollten. Die Lade enthielt aber das Heiligste des jüdischen Volkes. Gott hat also keineswegs Bilder und Statuen verboten. Sie anzubeten wie man Gott anbetet aber sehr wohl. Katholiken beten aber keine Bilder oder Statuen an. Die Bilder von Jesus, Maria oder den Heiligen sollen uns zum Nachdenken anregen. Zur Meditation über die, die wir lieben und ehren. Vergleichbar etwa mit dem Bild eines verstorbenen Familienangehörigen.

1 Kön 7,29: "Auf den Querleisten zwischen den Eckleisten waren Bilder von Löwen, Rindern und Kerubim, und ebenso auf den Eckleisten. Über den Löwen und Rindern sowie unter ihnen waren Kranzgewinde eingehämmert." (Einheitsübersetzung).

Gott ordnet hier das Anfertigen von Bildern an - sogar Bilder, die im Heiligen Tempel aufgestellt werden sollen. Wenn also Bilder und Statuen in sich böse wären, warum würde dann Gott darauf bestehen, dass man sie herstellte und in Seinen heiligen Tempel stellte? Was Gott tatsächlich verbietet, ist die Anbetung von Bildern oder Götzen. Als Katholiken benutzen wir aber Statuen und Gemälde, um die zu ehren und uns an die zu erinnern, die wir lieben. Wenn wir also vor einer Jesus-Statue beten, heißt das nicht, dass wir die Statue anbeten. Genauso wenig beten wir die Bibel an, wenn wir mit der Bibel in der Hand beten.

(Quelle: www.saintjoe.com)

 

Eine Ikone ist ein Fenster

In seinem Buch „Sophia House" (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2005) nennt Michael D. O’Brien Ikonen „Fenster zum Himmel". Fenster, die sich denen oeffnen, die davor warten – und das sind die Armen. „Arm" sind die, die leer sind, die nichts ersehnen und die nichts sein wollen. „Nichts" ist aber nicht nur das Uebel der Ablehnung. Es entspricht vielmehr dem Nichts von Jesus vor Pilatus. Dem Skandal, dass Gott am Kreuz Gewalt angetan wurde. Die, die nichts sein wollen, sind die, die nicht nach weltlichem Erfolg streben, die sich nicht einmal mehr nach „nichts" sehnen, sondern damit zufrieden sind, einfach nur da zu sein und Gott voller Demut zu lieben

Michael vegleicht ein Fenster auch mit einer Art Spiegel. Man kann einfach nur das Spiegelbild anschauen – oder man kann durch dieses reflektierte Bild hindurchsehen, zu dem, was hinter dem in sich verschlossenen eigenen Ich liegt...

 

I was in a religious discussion today and was asked why our commandments are different than the Protestant version. Can you help?

Our 10 Commandments do not differ from the Protestant version in content, there is simply a difference in how they are organized. The Protestants first two commandments are: 1) I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any false gods before me; 2) Thou shalt not make any graven images...you shall not bow down to them or serve them. And, their last commandment is simply: Thou shalt not covet.

The 1st two commandments, Catholic version are: 1) I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any false gods before me; 2) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. And, our last two commandments are: 9) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife; 10) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods. So, the Protestants combine our #9 and #10, into their #10. While we combine the Protestants' #1 and #2, into our #1. Now, some folks say that the Catholics purposely leave out the graven image reference that we find in Protestant Commandment #2 so that we can worship our statues and all that kind of rot. Which is probably what this person you were talking to was getting at; but, you can take anyone to page 496 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and show them that we did not leave out the prohibition on worshiping graven images.

In the left hand column of that page, you will see the whole first commandment written out just like it appears in Exodus 20. You have the long version on the left, the shorter version in the middle, and the traditional version for catechesis on the right. Notice the mention of graven images under Commandment #1?

In essence, we simply don't write the whole thing out, because we know that bowing down to (worshiping) graven images falls under: “Thou shalt not have any false gods before me.” Just so, the Protestants shorten the commandment about coveting. Go to page 497 of the Catechism (or to Exodus 20) and see all the things that are included in the, "Thou shalt not covet," section. The Protestants don't write out all those things, they just say, "Thou shalt not covet."

Does that mean they left out part of the Commandments so that they could indeed covet some things? No. It's understood that “Thou shalt not covet,” covers all of those things. Just like Catholics understand that, “Thou shalt not have any false gods before me,” means that we should not worship idols, or graven images, as false gods.

(Source: Bible Christian Society / John Martignoni. http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/apologetics/two_minute. Used with permission)


I'm Catholic, but I do not understand nor have answers to why we use statues and blessed images in the Catholic church as opposed to God's commandment in Exodus 20.

I'm not against this practice, i just want to understand why, and as well, know how to convince non-Catholics, because the only explanation I've gotten so far and can still remember is "there were statues on the ark of the covenant". I knew nothing about "why" when a friend (Catholic) asked me to constructively explain why and not defensively.

I patiently await your reply. Thank you for your time, and God bless.


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Let's begin by looking very closely at the prohibition in Exodus 20 regarding the making of "graven images" and see if it actually says what many Protestants think it says. Exodus 20:2-5, "I am the Lord your God...You shall have no other gods before Me. You 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; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God..."

This whole passage from Exodus 20 is all about the fact that there is one God we should worship. It begins with, "I am the Lord your God," and ends with "I the Lord your God am (a jealous God)." The operative word is "I." One. There is one God that the Israelites are to worship. Furthermore, the words that seem, to Protestants, to prohibit the making of a graven image or of any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth are proceeded by: "You shall have no other gods before Me," and they are followed by: "...you shall not bow down to them or serve them." Which means, given the context, this is not an absolute prohibition upon the Israelites against the making of graven images or any likeness of things in heaven or on earth, rather they are being prohibited from making such images and then turning around and worshipping them.

In Romans 1:22-28, we see Paul telling the Romans about men who, "Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity...because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshippedand served the creature rather than the Creator...And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct."

Does Paul tell the Romans that God gave these men up in the lusts of their hearts simply because they made graven images or images of things in heaven or on earth? No! He gave them up in the lusts of their hearts because they viewed these images as gods and they worshippedthe images they had made. They forsook worship of the one true God for the worship of idols.

So the prohibition against graven images in Exodus 20 is not an absolute prohibition against making graven images or images of things in heaven or on earth, it is a prohibition against worshipping them as gods. And we know this is true from the Bible itself!

In Numbers, 21:8-9, God commandsMoses to make a graven image: "And the Lord said to Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.' So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live." So, not only are graven images not forbidden to be made, but God Himself commands the making of one! And, this graven image is used, by God, in a religious context, to heal those who had been bitten by serpents after they had grumbled against God. And, in the New Testament, this graven image is even seen as an Old Testament type of Christ: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life," (John 3:14-15). The graven image of the serpent had a religious purpose!

Imagine that, a graven image, commanded by God to be made; used by God in the physical healing of the Israelites; and seen by the Word of God as a symbol for the spiritual healing of all people by Jesus Christ! I don't understand how any Protestant who is in any way familiar with Scripture could read Exodus 20 as an absolute prohibition against the making of graven or any other type of image.

So, was the making of this graven image a bad thing? Obviously not. However, what happened to that same bronze serpent several hundred years later? 2 Kings 18:4 tells us that King Hezekiah destroyed the bronze serpent. Why? Because the people at that time had begun worshipping it as a god. So, as a graven image, there was no problem with it. As a graven image that the people were bowing down to and serving, there was a big problem. The scriptural principle we can take away from this is that graven images, or images of things in heaven or on earth are not, in and of themselves, bad things - even if they are used for religious purposes. It is when they are worshipped as gods that there is a problem.

That graven images are not necessarily a problem is confirmed by other passages of Scripture. There are a number of other places in Scripture where God commands the making of graven images, and it is always within a religious context. In Exodus 25:18-19, God commands the making of the two cherubim of gold that are on either side of the mercy seat that sits atop the Ark of the Covenant. Think about that. God commands graven images to be placed on top of the Ark of the Covenant - the holiest religious artifact in all of Israel! There are graven images of flowers on the lampstands of the Tent of Meeting (Numbers 8:4). Then, when it came to the building of the Temple of Solomon, God commanded the making of all sorts of graven images for use in the Temple. We see this in 1 Kings 6:18, 23, 27-29, 32, 35; 7:18, 20, 25, 29, 36. Graven images in the Temple of Solomon! In the vision of Ezekiel given to him by God, there is a temple and in the temple are graven images (Ezek 41:17-20).

Also, in the New Testament, there is a passage in Galatians that is very interesting in regard to this topic. Galatains 3:1, "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? The Galatians had seen an image of Christ crucified. They had seen a crucifix! Now, was it a live representation of Christ crucified, or was it a carved image - a graven image - of Christ crucified? We can't really be sure, but one thing is for sure, they were looking at an imageof Christ on the cross - a crucifix.

Finally, you find graven images and images of things in heaven and on earth all in and through most Protestant homes and churches. You find them in the children's books that have drawings of Jesus and of angels and of man and beast. Not to mention the drawings of the Holy Spirit as a dove. You find them in the nativity scenes that many Protestant churches and homes have. I've heard of Protestants who wear pins in the shape of a dove to represent the Holy Spirit. And what about the pictures they have of family members and friends at home and the office? I mean, all of those things, if you take an absolutist view of Exodus 20:4, are under the ban. They are all prohibited.

"Wait a minute," someone might say, "we don't worship those images and don't use them in our worship ceremonies like Catholics do." In other words, when they are called on it, most Protestants, if not all, will agree that the making of graven images, of images of things in heaven and on earth, are not prohibited by Exodus 20:4. It is when they are worshipped as gods that there is a problem. Which is exactly what I have been saying here.

Folks, Catholics do not worship any of the statues or paintings or crucifixes or any other such images that are in our churches. "But," someone may protest, "I have seen Catholics kiss their statues and kneel before them." So? I have seen Protestants kiss pictures of their wife and children - does that mean they worship them? I kneel before my bed to say my prayers every morning - does that mean I worship my bed? I have seen Protestants kneel before Bibles to pray - does that mean they worship a book made of paper and ink? Not at all. If anyone who calls himself Catholic actually worships a statue, then he really is not Catholic and has absolutely no understanding of Catholic teaching and practice.

All of which is to say, that the Protestant argument regarding Catholics violating the Commandment by making images of things in heaven and on earth, is null and void. It makes no scriptural sense. It makes no logical sense. It makes no common sense. It is a false accusation against Catholics that people who call themselves "children of God" should be ashamed to make.

(John Martignoni)

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