Talk:Idolatry

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The Intro[edit]

Just stumbled upon this article; I don't have the time to cite my sources (which are academic in nature), but I must confess I cannot agree with the impression that the first sentence gives to the reader, albeit cites Miriam Webster! Idolatry is far more complex than simply worshiping a physical object; rather, the images are not exactly "inanimate object", because they are the vessels of the deities in which their "essence" is housed when they come to Earth for their worshipers. An analogy might be that an idol is akin to a physical body for a soul. In fact, in nearly every western/ Indo-European and Middle-easter religion there are rituals for quickening the image and instilling it with the god, itself. To the Egyptians this involved the mouth, while to the Greeks and the Buddhists, the eyes seem to have been important for establishing a god within it's image. Anyway, I thought that this might be something worth reflecting on, and discussing for this article. At the very least, the opening sentence shows a rather gross misunderstanding of idolatry as it was and is practiced throughout the world. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.39.20.68 (talk) 23:01, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Idolatry of The Cross[edit]

I've removed the statement, «Ironically enough, the usage and repetitive appearance of the Cross in modern culture bears perfect example of a graven image.» Principally because it was in the 'etymology' section and was apparently slapped onto the article in order to create an argument. Nevertheless, one can place this back into the article after a legitimate discussion, thinking before placing it in the etymology section, etc. -- Ambrosiaster (talk) 16:37, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Some corrections on Vedic perspectives[edit]

A text in the Shukla Yajur-veda (32.3) reads, “Of Him there is no likeness (pratima), whose glory is infinite”. The Upanishads, which form the philosophical ‘conclusions’ (vedAnta) of the Vedas, repeatedly stress the formlessness (nirākāra, no material form) and unimaginable nature of God, and advise the aspirant to realise the divine presence inwardly. Bhagavata Purana recommends meditation on and worship of pratima (murti) with the understanding that it is not an ordinary material object.Bh.P. 10.12.39, 11.27.12,15


A quote from the Hinduism section of artcile is given above for your reference. However I would like to correct some errors in the article.

1. A text in the Shukla Yajur-veda (32.3) reads, “Of Him there is no likeness (pratima), whose glory is infinite”.

The above verse is taken from Madhyandina Shaka of Shukla yajut Veda. It is used to explain that Vedas were against idolatry by Arya Samajis (a 19th centiru Hindu movement). Some use this verse to prove Vedas speak of formless God. However this view cannot be supported by at the least one another Vedic statement which I quote below.

pusannekarse yama surya prajapatya vyuha rasmin | samuha tejah yat te rupam kalyanatamam tat te pasyami (16) (Shukla Yajur Veda, Kanwa Shaka, 40-16)

O Pusan the Omniscient, Ekarsi the Supreme Knowable, Yama the controller of all, Surya the effulgent and a destination for even the deities, Prajapatya a special destination for Brahma; extend the knowledge that is of my true nature, and also knowledge extrinsic to me, so that I may perceive that most auspicious (kalyanatamam) form (rupam) of yours.

The above verse is taken from Kanwa recension of Shukla Yajur Veda Samhita. The same recension also contains the verse 32:3 cited above, although I do not remember the chapter and verse number from this recension.

Consequently the word "pratima" in verse 32:3 has to be interpreted correctly as "copy" or "imitator" and NOT "FORM" or "idol".

2. The Upanishads, which form the philosophical ‘conclusions’ (vedAnta) of the Vedas, repeatedly stress the formlessness (nirākāra, no material form) and unimaginable nature of God, and advise the aspirant to realise the divine presence inwardly.

This statement is also factually wrong say the least. I have given word for word translation for one of the references from Upanishads which show that God has infinite spiritual Forms.

eko vaśī sarvabʰūtāntarātmā ekaṃ rūpaṃ bahudʰā yaḥ karoti tam ātmastʰaṃ ye ʼnupaśyanti dʰīrāḥ teṣāṃ sukʰaṃ śāśvataṃ netareṣām ( Katha Upanishad 2.2.9)

sarvabʰūtāntarātmā eko = The immanent God of all living beings is only ONE or only independent being, because HE is the ruler of all.

vaśī = Everything is under HIS control

ekaṃ rūpaṃ bahudʰā yaḥ karoti = HIS ONE Form (rūpaṃ), HE (yaḥ) makes into infinitely many (bahudʰā), i.e. these are Forms of paramAtmA as Antaryamin, immanent Form of BhagavAn).

tam ātmastʰaṃ = That paramAtmA or God (who is in the heart)

ye ʼnupaśyanti dʰīrāḥ = Those wise men who see such paramAtmA

teṣāṃ = for them only

sukʰaṃ śāśvataṃ = there will be permanent happiness

netareṣām = not for others.


The following verse again uses the word "rūpaṃ" whic has the meaning "Form" and nothing else.

http://www.shaivam.org/ssushvetashvatara.htm

na sa.ndR^ishe tishhThati ruupamasya na chaxushhaa pashyati kashchanainam.h . hR^idaa hR^idisthaM manasaa ya ena\- meva.n viduramR^itaaste bhavanti .. Shvetasvatara Upanishad 4:20..


His form is not an object of vision; no one beholds Him with the eyes. They who, through pure intellect and the Knowledge of Unity based upon reflection, realize Him as abiding in the heart become immortal.


3. Bhagavata Purana recommends meditation on and worship of pratima (murti) with the understanding that it is not an ordinary material object.Bh.P. 10.12.39, 11.27.12,15

This statement is ambiguous. What does the word murti mean here ? Is it an external material object or is it the Form of God within devotee's mind or is it talking about True Form of God within one's heart which is completely spiritual ?

Verse 10:12:39 talks about Form of God within devotee's mind which is material and NOT about material objects like murtis/statues in temples. Refer http://vedabase.net/sb/10/12/39/en

verse 11:27:12 does talk about material statues or representations of God. Even the Forms the devotee imagines in his mind for meditation is considered material. Refer http://vedabase.net/sb/11/27/12/en

The True Form of God is completely spiritual in Puranas, upanishads and Samhitas. Vedas or Puranas do not talk about a Formless God.

I just wanted some corrections to be made known here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rockh12 (talkcontribs) 07:26, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

"Christian views of idolatry" section needs work[edit]

That entire section was clearly written by a Catholic, and drones on and on in defense of the Catholic (and Orthodox) position, with barely any explanation of the reasoning behind the Protestant position. As a result it effectively implies that the Protestant position has no real reasoning and is nutty. As such this is clear bias and undue weight toward one side of a dispute. Disclaimer, of sorts: I am not even a Christian of any kind at all, so I have no position to push on the issue. I am just disappointed in the article's treatment, as it (or, rather that section) appears designed to forcibly lead me to a conclusion rather than providing a balanced view of the issue. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 01:36, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

The opposite problem has now happened. There is no explanation of the Catholic/Orthodox position. In reality they only need one or two lines to sum up their position. They cite the graven cherubims in Solomon's temple (Exodus 25:18–20)which was required "by the writing of the hand of the Lord concerning it all," (1 Chronicles 28:18–19) and the bronze serpent God commanded Moses to make (Numbers 21:8–9) to say graven images are only bad when they are themselves worshiped, as in thought of as a deity. They think graven images are like photographs and can be used for remembrance of holy things and people. I don't want to go sower for a non-primary source so I can add this to the article just to have it removed by someone. Anyone else have the extra time? ConservGal (talk) 23:39, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Idolatry in Jewish thought[edit]

If creations of God are not to be worshipped along with God, and other objects not worshipped either, then why do some Jewish services involve bowing to the Torah? Isn't that making an idol out of a book? 68.32.48.221 (talk) 04:29, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Not according to Jewish belief. The ark where the Torah is stored i mimetic of the Holy of Holies of the Temple, where the High Priest would enter once a year to pronounce God's name. We do not remember how to pronounce God's name, and we do not have a Holy of Holies in a Temple. But this aspect of lsynagogue design provides us with an echo of that. When we bow at the ark, and before the Torah, they are standing in for God. The Torah, for Jews, is not just the scroll that is visible. It includes an oral supplement wich was revealed at Sinai (some of which has been written down in the Talmud), but the written Torah (what you see) has within it marks that represent, iconically, the oral tradition. Moreover, Jews believe that the Torah is eternal, that it existed before God created the universe and was God's plan - lueprint if you like - fo he universe. And of course, the Torah is the record of our covenant with God. It is, if you like, our marriage liscence. When Jews bow down before it, they are bowing down something that symbolizes every dimension of our relationship with God. It is God who is being worshiped through the Torah that he used as a blueprint for our existence and as a contract for our marriage to him. This may not make sense to outsiders, but i think this is what most observant Jews believe. From a Jewish point of view, Shristains are cannibals when they drink the blood of Christ. But I have taled to educated Catholics and they have explanations for why this is not so. I do not entirely understand their explanations, but their explanations sound sophisticated and I know they sinceely believe them. Slrubenstein | Talk 07:36, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Hinduism section full of original research[edit]

The section entitled "Hindu views of idolatry — linguistic symbols as idols of divine" can be deleted and replaced with a link to the article on murti. The section is full of WP:OR, and the article would be improved by its removal. — goethean 20:20, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

Christianity[edit]

The Christianity section should be divided into subsections: the catholic/orthodox and the protestant. --Willthacheerleader18 (talk) 16:52, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Idolatry in the Bible[edit]

This entire section has the feel of an idiosyncratic bible commentary rather than an encyclopedic entry. But if it's not completely redone (which would be best, ideally with references to modern philology and archaeology), it should at least be made clear that the quotations are from different translations. E.g., the quote from Jeremiah 2:28 appears to be from the King James Version (although capitalization is wrong); the quote from Hosea 12:10 is from the singular Young's Literal Translation. Using different translations without explaining why, opens whoever wrote this to the charge of cherry-picking, especially when he resorts (without explanation) to an autodidact's version produced in the 1860s.AnthroMimus (talk) 16:17, 1 December 2010 (UTC)