What's your take on the 2nd commandment?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by Namaste Jesus, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:" King James Bible: (Exodus 20:4)

    As with most things Biblical, opinions on the meaning of the above passage vary greatly. I've heard simple interpretations like, make no depiction of God. I've also heard more literal assessments like, make no artistic depiction of anything, God or otherwise.

    My personally belief is, the 2nd commandment refers to idol worship and that, having a representation of a deity is permissible, but the item should not be worshiped as if it were an actual God. As (Exodus 20:5) goes on to say,

    "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them..."

    Now, to some of the Hindu population of the Fiji Islands, the 2nd commandment has quite a different meaning. To them, this commandment is metaphorical and has little to do with idol worship or the fabrication thereof. They believe it simply tells us not to assume God is any one thing or looks any certain way, because from their perspective, God is every changing and may take on any shape or form at will.

    I have a little trouble wrapping my head around that one, but I can't say I disagree either.

    In any event, what's your take on the 2nd commandment?
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I tend to agree with your view.
     
  3. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Some people say that worshiping Jesus as God is breaking the commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." I quite agree with such a way of thinking.
     
  4. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    Jesus is the son of God, not God himself, but that's the 1st commandment, not the 2nd.
     
  5. DavidMcCann

    DavidMcCann Hellenist

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    For the Catholic Church that passage is part of the first commandment, which makes it specifically refer to the worship of images. And of course, unlike the Protestants, they would say that the images in church are not being worshiped, but a channels for the worship of what they embody. The Orthodox Church takes it literally, which is why icons are paintings, not sculptures.

    Since the text was written about 600 years after the supposed date of Moses, I don't take it too seriously. Personally, I don't take any of the OT seriously, except to note that the "prophets" sound as if they'd be at home in the US Bible Belt and Joshua sounds like he'd get on fine with Netanyahu.
     
  6. AllenPapapetrou

    AllenPapapetrou New Member

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    I regard the 10 commandments in the old testament as superceded by the two commandments in the new testament.

    Aloha.. Allen
    __________
    Know of any Living Bliss Masters, Please contact me
     
  7. NiceCupOfTea

    NiceCupOfTea Pathetic earthlings

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    something like this.

    to elevate conceptual thought above pure consciousness the "I AM"
     
  8. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Hi Allen, by the way, I used to live on Kaua'i, near Kapa'a.
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    There is a difference between art and idolatry, and that should be obvious to everyone. The key to the 2nd Commandment is "you shall not bow down to them nor serve them".

    The Sistine Chapel is art. Rublev's icon of the Trinity is art.

    Nature is art; we can contemplate nature and see the Hand of God, but we don't 'idolise' nature, nor mere knowledge for that matter, nor indeed the self, which so many of our modern 'insights' and boutique religions tend to do.

    I am told, often and glibly, 'ah, the answer lies within', or 'ah, we are already enlightened, if only we knew', with a nod and a wink, as if God was something we had in our personal possession, like a 'get out of jail free' card. There's idolatry for you, writ clear.
     
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    But not invalidated. And the two commandments of the New are nothing more but repetitions of the Old, it's the Shema Israel, Deuteronomy 6:4-6.

    It's a shame that for all our worldly wisdom, we are more blighted by Marcionism (a certain myopia) than ever we were ...
     
  11. AllenPapapetrou

    AllenPapapetrou New Member

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    Thanks for adding Marcionsim to my personal lexicon.

    When I write supercede I mean this:

    If one follows the two commandments Jesus gave in the New Testament, then no other commandments are required. Old Testament or anywhere else.

    Aloha.. Allen
    __________
    Know of any Living Bliss Masters, Please contact me
     
  12. LincolnSpector

    LincolnSpector Member

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    You have to look at Torah (and your own holy books) both in a historical context and a modern one. And they're often different.

    At the time that the Torah was written, statues ("graven images") were used primarily for religious purposes. There was no difference between statues and religious statues. The ancient Hebrews were among the few who didn't use them, and created that rule to help separate themselves from other cultures around them.

    In fact, Jews still teach their children that the ancient pagans worshiped the statues, and thought they were gods. Historically speaking, that's not true. They were symbols of the gods.

    To me, personally, that commandment means "Don't worship things. Don't get to excited about the latest car or smartphone. It's not what's important."

    I have to confess that I'm far from perfect in that area.
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I am! (Sent from my iPhone) :D
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Oh, do I agree with this ...

    Along that line, when the Reformation 'stripped the altars' and removed all art from the sacred space, there followed the reappearance of pagan practice in the Protestant states that led to the 'witch-hunts' that blighted Medieval Europe. These 'pagan practices' took many forms ... in Calvinist Geneva, a woman was burned at the stake for putting flowers on her late husband's grave.

    There was no contemporary phenomena in the Catholic states, however.

    The oft-stated belief that Christianity 'wiped out' all pagan practice is overstated. Most of it was absorbed and incorporated, and it flourished in Christmas and Easter celebrations; in the Arts and Crafts; in Literature and Music; in the Mystery Plays and Mummers; in village festivals, saints' days (over a 100 of 'em), in the simplest wayside Calvary, or a twist of flowers by the side of the road. (Iit's reappeared here in the UK. Outside Kings Cross station, a mangled bike, painted all white, lies chained to a railing, and there are many, many more such emblems.) I love the Moslem tradition that a man draws a line in the sand facing east, and there's his mosque. Or the Abrahamic Tradition of washing, or eating a meal.

    In rural communities the bell would toll from the church tower, and across the fields the labourer would cease his labour and recite the Angelus. Such a simple, and such a profound, testimony to the nature of one's existence. Even the 'village idiot' was accorded a sacramental function.

    The common notion today, of Medieval man held in ignorance by religion, speaks volumes of the absence of God in the heart and mind. 'He' is reduced to the idol of patriarchalism, 'She' to the idol of a cultic gender-politic. 'It' to an intellectual abstraction, another idol.

    Whereas the 'Thou' whispered in fervent prayer — even on the lips of the most 'pagan' or 'heathen' or 'superstitious' believer — endures. And so it should. It is the dialogue between the self and the Source.

    And if some material means serves to enable that in a more meaningful way, be it a statue, a mandala, or a myth. A church or shrine or temple. A picture or a script or a piece of music, or a posture ... where man, by his art, seeks to express outside of himself that transcendent sense that is both infinite and interior, absolute and all-encompassing ... then all for the good.

    And here I endorse LincolnSpector: Do we really define the worth and values and meaning of our existence ... by the possession of more tech?
     
  15. thenewnewworldorder

    thenewnewworldorder New Member

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    Ok, I'm going to come in here and share the extremist view, which I tend to lean towards.

    WHY TAKE THE CHANCE!?

    I like to play things safe as far as the final resting place of my eternal soul is concerned... So in my humble opinion, we shouldn't create art that represents religious figures! Even if YOU don't bow down and worship them, I feel like a lot of people DO without really thinking about it. Of course God knows what is in their hearts and if it is truly idol worship. But I've seen too many things that appear uncomfortably close to idol worship in (orthodox) church in my opinion (like bowing, kissing, and "venerating" icons).

    I feel that scripture should be interpreted with the most OBVIOUS reason that makes sense (Occam's Razor anyone?)... Anything else just seems kind of unnecessary.

    There is a verse in the Quran where God says that he has created CLEAR verses as well as AMBIGUOUS ones. He goes on to say that the ambiguous ones only He KNOWS the true meaning, and to be a good believer it is only necessary to follow and be concerned with the CLEAR ones.

    I guess a lot of people consider this commandment ambiguous, but I dunno... seems pretty clear to me...
     
  16. stranger

    stranger wolfwing, a feral angel

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    For me, at this point and time, it means the relinquishing of sensible forms. This, I have not the power to do, so I am in violation of the law. The indictment must rest upon me. I accept it, guilty as charged. I fall upon the mercy of the court. What will it be, life or death?
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hello, Stranger ... I think you're too tough on yourself.

    We all need our sensible forms. We cannot all dwell in the formless ether for long, the empyrean heights of a pure intellect and its delight in abstractions. That, in its own way, is another idolatry.

    There was a man who tied the moment of his conversion to looking on in rose bloom. It wasn't idolatry, it's a sense of the numinous that can be triggered by the most natural, the most mundane thing, such as a flower.

    Nor do I believe were were intended to.

    "And the Lord God took man, and put him into the paradise of pleasure, to dress it, and to keep it... And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature the same is its name" (Genesis 2:15, 18-19).

    We can't 'dress it and keep it' if we retreat from the world and are off somewhere, 'contemplating the void' for our own benefit.

    We have a job to do.

    (Not that we're doing it, btw.)
     
  18. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Well, if you made your idol in a mold, that wouldn't technically be a graven image.
     
  19. LincolnSpector

    LincolnSpector Member

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    That iPhone statement just makes this perfect!:)
     
  20. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Moderator

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    In order to have a mold it either has to be cast from a positive image, (a carving or sculpture), or the mold itself would have to be a negative carving.
     

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