Skip to comments.Irreverent Iconoclasm
Posted on 09/07/2013 1:24:03 PM PDT by matthewrobertolson
"During a re-watch of an episode of 'Rev.' a fictional British show following the life of an Anglican priest at his church I noticed a remark that quite literally made me jump out of my seat. In an anti-Catholic diatribe, the main character complained about our 'vain, tasteless, demanding God who loves gold.'"
"There has been a shift towards iconoclasm in our shamelessly secular culture. I suppose that the movement never went away, even after the Second Council of Nicaea ruled against it, but many seem to have morphed into outright modern-day Savonarolas."
(Excerpt) Read more at youcatholic.com ...
If you are the author, what seems to have caused you to excerpt this?
Because I authored it specifically for that website, I think it’s only appropriate to link to it. :)
There’s no shame in iconoclasm, since God is the ultimate iconoclast.
Uh oh, you’ve invoked the wrath of FR’s self-appointed blog cop. Prepare to be bombarded by “blog pimp” pictures from him and his band of nitwits.
Has your account been suspended, or what?
I think I know! Despite what you think, Mr. Humble, I loved this!
Savonarola was not an iconoclast. He hated rich people and luxuries, not images or icons as such.
He was actually a very interesting guy, though not one you'd probably want to have a beer with. :)
Where’s the peanut gallery? Running late? Or are you the last blog cop standing?
In "A Grief Observed" by C. S. Lewis, I believe he uses that phrase.
Staffing schedules are classified.
Savonarola was an interesting guy. But he absolutely hated art. Bonfire of the Vanities, anyone? And his children brigade was particularly creepy. I’ve actually had lunch in the restaurant on the spot where he was executed.
You’re funny, humble.
I wasn’t being sarcastic. You really do make me laugh.
Okay. I’ll keep all of that in mind.
Some folks "get it".. some don't.
Yes there is: fundamentally iconoclasm denies the reality of the Incarnation. Christ, while fully Divine, consubtantial and coeternal with the Father and the Spirit, is also fully human, of a body and rational soul subsisting, like us in all things excepting sin. He is thus, as we are, depictable.
You might reread Genesis -- God does not smash icons of Himself, He creates them: "...come let Us make Man in our image and likeness..." In the Greek LXX, the word Englished as image is iconos, icon.
You do make me laugh, Mr. Humble. I’m beginning to get it!
I'm glad.. you're catching the balls I'm tossing.
SO many don't. And at the end of the day, they're left with no balls.
And that isn't good for any of us.
Heck, I ain't even mastered that one my own self.
I suspect that one glib way to look at the problem is that people confuse icons with idols. And, further, as so much of the OT is "typical" the prohibition against idols is understood by too many as still about the thing while the problem of idolatry is not in the thing but in the heart of him who makes an idol of it.
The downside of the fulfillment of Jeremiah's word about the law written on the heart is that we now see how the heart breaks the law -- and blames the violation on externals only. Anyone who has been paying attention for the past few decades has seen invisible ideas made into idols whose cult is bloodier than that of Molech. When Cromwell's men cheer as they disfigure sculpture and bow before a new theology, the adversary grins.
Lewis is right so far: God break icons when they obscure or interfere with the worship and apprehension of God. He does so in "a severe mercy."
You’re a big silly willy, although I think you won’t like that definition. But you do make me laugh despite our differences. Bless you, sir!
“He is thus, as we are, depictable.”
Just because Christ is depictable, does not mean that any of the prohibitions against idolatry are magically rescinded. The practical barrier may have been removed, but the moral element of the law remains unchanged.
“You might reread Genesis — God does not smash icons of Himself, He creates them: “...come let Us make Man in our image and likeness...” In the Greek LXX, the word Englished as image is iconos, icon.”
No, it is more appropriate to say that God does not smash icons that He created. This does not mean He does not hate icons made by men. God is not bound by the same prohibitions He has placed on us, so we cannot justify defying His commandments because we find an example of Him seeming to do so. If that were the standard for our behavior, then I could justify wiping out a city full of people by saying God did that to Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet, I am not God, so I cannot claim such a justification.
“And, further, as so much of the OT is “typical” the prohibition against idols is understood by too many as still about the thing while the problem of idolatry is not in the thing but in the heart of him who makes an idol of it.”
Somewhat, but look at what was proscribed, in detail, in the OT. It was not simply the sin of idolatry in one’s heart, but instead a very broad prohibition against the actual mechanisms which lead to idolatry. If God had wanted to merely prohibit the inner sin and not the outward trappings, He certainly would have done so, but He did not.
I believe the reason He did not, is because He knows that most people are not capable of resisting the temptation towards idolatry when the opportunity presents itself. So, by prohibiting the creation of the physical objects that tend to be used as idols, He was attempting to shield us from our weaker nature. We, in our foolishness and vanity, have tried to whittle away at his commandment, but ultimately, we will not be able to rationalize away our disobedience.
He actually didn’t hate art as such. His objections were more sophisticated.
He despised the flaunting of wealth and luxury exemplified by the aristocracy of the Renaissance. A big part of this was of course by means of artwork. He did not object to religious artwork as such, but he did object to the portrayal of Jesus, Mary and the saints dressed in luxurious costume and in fancy surroundings.
He thought, not unreasonably, that this was a blasphemous distortion of the Biblical account.
He also thought, with Judas, that artwork and other vanities were a waste of money that could be used to help the poor.
I find Savonarola an interesting person. But I don’t like him. Neither did the Church, apparently! Throwing art onto bonfires is not my idea of holiness.
New iconoclasm? Probably because it takes away from the worship of Self.
And I think I disagree with "mechanisms which lead to idolatry." Left to themselves, men will not make an idol not only of a rock or a stick, but, as I say, of an idea. The mechanism is in the heart as an infection.
“A next question could be if the commandment against images is “moral” or “ceremonial.” The commandment about the Sabbath is clear and detailed also.”
Do you think the commandment about the sabbath was not a moral one? I believe all of the ten commandments are moral laws.
“Left to themselves, men will not make an idol not only of a rock or a stick, but, as I say, of an idea. The mechanism is in the heart as an infection.”
Yes, but God could not very well command us not to have ideas. It would be impractical. Yet, that doesn’t change the fact that we are commanded not to make the kind of physical objects that are most often associated with classic idolatry.
Do you think we should refrain from lighting fires, walking very far, or carrying things on Saturdays?
I think what IHS says about anger or adultery in the heart suggests that we have “ideas” that we are commanded not to have.
To be vague or general, since Jesus has fulfilled the Law and since one can be Xtian w/o being Jewish, I think that there is a problem with the Torah, a problem to work through, “reverently, deliberately, and in the fear of God.”
In the original post, the vicar mocking us Catholics is right about one thing: a lot of our images are in execrable taste. They are the last thing on earth I'd want to worship. but, for example, my cheesy statue of our Lady of Guadalupe is helpful to me. I think of the many, many wonders God has done through Mary, starting with the carrying, birthing, and raising of the Word and going through the dramatic opening of central America to the Gospel.
I gave a friend an icon of “Our Lady of Sorrows” in hopes that it would prompt her to consider more deeply the place of pain in the life of a Christian. She has been an atheist for most of her life, and her “go-to” argument has been suffering. Then she had a vision of Mary which, as you might expect, has thrown her world-view into a cocked hat.
So I can see a useful role for “audio-visuals” in the pilgrimage toward God.
“Do you think we should refrain from lighting fires, walking very far, or carrying things on Saturdays?”
I think we still aught to observe the commandment “remember the sabbath and keep it holy”, but that does not mean we must observe all of the OT ordinances associated with the Sabbath. The commandment in the 10 commandments is a moral one, since it is commanding us to keep the Lord’s day holy, as an act of obedience and remembrance of God’s creation. This observance of the sabbath as a holy day actually preexisted the 10 commandments, since the sabbath was established and sanctified from the time of creation by God himself. The more specific OT ordinances concerning the sabbath, like the ones you cite, were only for the Israelites, and I don’t think they were ever expected of anyone else.
“I think what IHS says about anger or adultery in the heart suggests that we have ideas that we are commanded not to have.”
Yes, we are commanded to resist fairly specific ideas or lusts, or at least not to indulge ourselves in them. However, if God had enumerated and specifically prohibited every idea that man might idolize, the list would be endless. So, as a matter of practicality, it seems more sensible to have a general prohibition on the act of idolatry, and only specific prohibitions on the common mechanisms that enable it.
“To be vague or general, since Jesus has fulfilled the Law and since one can be Xtian w/o being Jewish, I think that there is a problem with the Torah, a problem to work through, reverently, deliberately, and in the fear of God.”
Yes, I agree it is a thorny matter, since we don’t want to be “Judaizers”, yet remember, Christ also said “if you love me, keep the commandments”. Plenty of the writings of the apostles reinforce that notion. So we cannot simply assume the commandments are nullified. We have what is known as “Christian liberty”, meaning that we have more freedom of conscience to decide what is the right course of action, rather than relying on an exhaustive list of ordinance like the Jews had.
Yet, some laws are not left to our conscience, and I believe the 10 commmandments, at least, qualify. There is, for example, no way to use “Christian liberty” to justify an act of murder, theft, or adultery. Likewise, I feel idolatry must fall in the same category.
“So I can see a useful role for audio-visuals in the pilgrimage toward God.”
Perhaps, but remember, God even uses things detestable to Him, such as the basest sinners and tyrants, to accomplish His work. So simply because one can cite how something might be used for good, does not make that thing acceptable to God. We must defer to His judgement in those matters where He has given us specific commands, and not think that our judgement is better, no matter how sensible it may seem to us.
So, just to get clear, you “observe” Saturdays?
I’ll try to mount some kind of defense for the ceremonial/moral distinction tomorrow.