The argument against iconography breaks down because those who reject icons do not understand what idolatrous images were actually used for. They were not merely religious art. They are a kind of religious technology designed to trap and control a god.
If we read the parable of the Publican and Pharisee merely as a morality tale about being humble rather than prideful, we miss how it is placed in the larger narrative of the Scripture and all the revelation of God.
When you see people claiming that dogma is non-negotiable but morality can be revised, you can remind them that the original dogma was about morality and also about idolatry. And since those two things are always linked in Scripture, you can also use your discernment to figure out what they’re worshiping instead of the one true God.
To what are you sacrificing your time, your attention, your money, etc.? That is what you are worshiping.
If we want to be like Jesus Christ, then we have to worship Him by sacrificing to Him. Sacrifice always means giving over something valuable that then becomes a means of sharing and communion with God. A Christianity that is convenient, that is without sacrifice, is not the true Christianity that worships Christ.
A couple brief incidents from the Life of St. Nicholas of Myra in Lycia, whose feast we celebrate today, which are perhaps less well-known than other tales of the Wonder-worker: After the persecution of the Church was lifted in AD 313, St. Nicholas began to travel freely throughout his diocese of Myra in Lycia. He found that there were many altars built throughout his…
While I was in Toronto a few weeks ago for an educational event, I had the delight to spend many hours with a good friend from my seminary days. He turned out to be a fine guide to introducing an American to Toronto. One of the many places we stopped was a place of some religious curiosity that he’d apparently always wanted to look…