Make your own free website on Tripod.com

The Ancient Wisdom Web Site

Idolatry in Monotheism

Home
What is the Ancient Wisdom?
Medieval Christianity and the Fall of the Ancient Wisdom
Classification of Religions
Monotheism or Polytheism?
Idolatry in Monotheism
Aboriginal Australia
American Indians
Ancient Arabia
Ancient Babylon
Buddhism
Catholicism
Confucianism
Early Christianity
Genesis
Gnosticism
Hinduism
Islam
Judaism
Nestorian Christianity
Orthodox Christianity
Taoism
Tibetan Religion

Some non-Christians question the Monotheism of traditional Christianity because of the Doctrine of the Trinity.  Christians in general would deny this, for strictly speaking almost all Christian denominations see the Three Persons of the Trinity as One God and that the elevation of other things to a position where they receive worship is idolatory.

 

This in turn leads to a discussion of what we mean by worship - it is acknowledged that true worship should be offered to God Alone, but does worship consist solely in some outward form of respect? If so, then do those who pray to saints worship them by doing so?

 

Some extreme Protestants allege that Roman Catholics have elevate the Virgin Mary to a position of such extreme respect that it amounts to worship and them of idolatory or more specifically of what they call "Mariolatory".

 

However those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, and there are extreme Protestants who regard the written scriptures with such exaggerated respect that they may equally be said to be guilty of what is often called "Biblolatry".

 

Similarly some Moslems, treat the Koran in like manner  and most, although denying the Divinity of Muhammed regard  any insult to his memory as blasphemy, a term which by definition refers to offering an insult to the Deity or claiming Divine authority.

<DIV><STRONG>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: center" align=center><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="FONT-SIZE: 24pt; mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#000000>Idolatry in Christianity<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" ?><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: center" align=center><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><o:p><FONT face="Times New Roman" color=#000000 size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#000000>To its members, Christianity is a Monotheistic Religion, but to outsiders, such as Moslems, even the Orthodox Christian Doctrine of the Trinity smacks of Polytheism, despite the fact that in the Koran there are many allusions to the Deity usually plural pronouns.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><o:p><FONT face="Times New Roman" color=#000000 size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#000000>In its most Orthodox form, the Doctrine of the Trinity insists that there is only One God, though manifested forth to mankind in Three Aspects &#8211; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. <SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;</SPAN>However some Christian denominations promote variations on the Orthodox form that do effectively introduce the idea of more than one God. For instance, the sect known as Jehovah&#8217;s Witnesses does not believe that the Holy Spirit is a separate Person but they believe that Christ, although &#8220;a God&#8221; is somewhat less than &#8220;The God&#8221;, Whom they call Jehovah. This therefore introduces a form of Dualism, which if not idolatry is certainly not Monotheism<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><o:p><FONT face="Times New Roman" color=#000000 size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#000000>Eastern Christianity has been subjected to considerable persecution over the last millennium and more and in general the further east we go, the less well Christianity has survived. In China and Tibet, where Christianity was strong in the 7<SUP>th</SUP> to 10<SUP>th</SUP> centuries it effectively died out thereafter, in India and Central Asia it survived a little longer. In <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" ?><st1:country-region w:st="on">India</st1:country-region> a small remnant still survives, but the great <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Persian</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Church</st1:PlaceType> which once dominated <st1:country-region w:st="on">Iran</st1:country-region> and <st1:place w:st="on">Central Asia</st1:place> was largely exterminated by Tamurlane in the 14<SUP>th</SUP> century. <o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><o:p><FONT face="Times New Roman" color=#000000 size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#000000>Today there are only a few scattered survivors of this old <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Syriac</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Church</st1:PlaceType> in <st1:country-region w:st="on">Iran</st1:country-region> and <st1:country-region w:st="on">Iraq</st1:country-region>, and there are other Syriac-using Churches in the <st1:place w:st="on">Middle East</st1:place>. These groups all developed from the <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Apostolic</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Church</st1:PlaceType> of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Antioch</st1:place></st1:City> and continue to use Syriac as their ecclesiastical language. This is important, for Syriac is virtually the same as the original Aramaic in which Our Lord Himself spoke, and therefore these far eastern churches retained many of the more delicate nuances of Apostolic Christianity long after they were lost in the Greek and Latin-speaking Churches.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><o:p><FONT face="Times New Roman" color=#000000 size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#000000>Many of the Churches that originally used Greek have now turned to holding services in their own native languages, and in recent centuries have suffered persecution<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>firstly under the Moslems and then under the Communists. These Churches went through a period of prolonged soul-searching in the 7<SUP>th</SUP> to 10<SUP>th</SUP> centuries over the question of Idolatry and at one stage abandoned the use of pictures (Icons) fearing lest respect for such should lead to idolatry. Today most of them do use icons, though unlike the western Church they usually refuse to make three-dimensional images <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">(statues)</I> lest idolatry results. Even so, there are many instances in which Icons are treated with such respect that accusations of idolatry may well be justified.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN><o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><o:p><FONT face="Times New Roman" color=#000000 size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#000000>Western Christianity, by contrast has usually dominated the secular society in which it has evolved and although there have been times of persecution, for the most part, it has suffered more from the temptations of materialism and there are many<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>nominal Christians in the West who have little real belief in the teaching of any Christian denomination, though for the most part they still acknowledge God in some way or other.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><o:p><FONT face="Times New Roman" color=#000000 size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#000000>Most forms of Western Christianity have developed out of the Latin-speaking Medieval Roman Church and fall broadly into two groups. The first of these, the Protestants originated as a revolt against the Apostolic Authority of the Mediaeval Church and in rejecting that living authority have tended to replace it with respect for the written word &#8211; the Bible &#8211; as interpreted by one or more of their leaders. The second, comprising the modern Roman Catholic Church and a number of smaller groups that whilst independent of the Roman Church, still maintain respect for that Apostolic Authority and regard the Bible as a useful guide to life, but not as the sole arbiter of belief.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><o:p><FONT face="Times New Roman" color=#000000 size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#000000>In their more moderate forms both groups include many sincere and devout believers, but in extreme cases bigotry reigns supreme. Among Protestants, respect for the Bible often rises to such a level that they can almost be said to worship it, a form of idolatry that has spawned the unusual-looking word &#8220;Biblolatry&#8221;. Similarly extreme Catholics elevate the authority of the local parish priest and in many cases se the Virgin Mary as the supreme Queen of Heaven, equally a form of idolatry, which in this case goes by the term &#8220;Mariolatry&#8221;.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><o:p><FONT face="Times New Roman" color=#000000 size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#000000>In general, Western Christianity, even among extreme Protestants owes most of its present form to the work of Augustine of Hippo, rather than the Bible. Augustine lived in the last years of the <st1:place w:st="on">Roman Empire</st1:place> in the West <I style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">(Died 430AD)</I> and was initially a devout Manichaean who converted to Christianity largely to further his career as a lawyer. He went on to become a Christian Bishop and it is generally believed, a sincere Christian who is usually hailed as a Saint. Many of his writings, however, carry remnants of Manichaean theology, which though clothed in Christian terminology is radically different from the works of the earlier church fathers such as Ignatius, Irenaeus and Origen.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><o:p><FONT face="Times New Roman" color=#000000 size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#000000>Among his inventions or adaptations, several have featured prominently in western Christianity, though naturally they were less well-known in the east &#8211; in fact the further East one travels the less well-known Augustine becomes. In the west, however, a number of key medieval concepts can be traced to Augustine, including the Doctrine of Original Sin, the Doctrine of Predestination, the Fall of Satan and the belief that after death one could only end up in either Heaven or Hell. This latter had been a key Manichean belief that was radially different from the beliefs of the early Christian Church or the Jews of the time of Christ.<o:p></o:p></FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><o:p><FONT face="Times New Roman" color=#000000 size=3>&nbsp;</FONT></o:p></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#000000>In summary, therefore we must acknowledge that idolatry exists among Christians, but in many forms. Often in fact, the desire to avoid one form of idolatry has led to the adoption of practices which then developed into others.</FONT><FONT color=#ff9900> </FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#ff9900></FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B>&nbsp;</P>

<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify"><B style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><SPAN lang=EN-AU style="mso-ansi-language: EN-AU"><FONT size=3><FONT face="Times New Roman"><FONT color=#ff9900>So what then is the reason for this fear of idolatry &#8211; how does it differ from polytheism, and what exctly is polytheism? These&nbsp;are questions which have been&nbsp;addressed on another web page and those who are interested are directed to the navigation bar - above left.</FONT></FONT></FONT></SPAN></B></P></STRONG></DIV>

Make a Donation

Here we'll talk about how to make a donation, reminding people that charitable contributions are tax deductible.

Write a Letter or Sign a Petition

Here we might list the names of people to write to or suggest signing an online petition.

To Contact
The Ancient Wisdom Web Site
e-mail: wisdom_ancient@yahoo.com.au