Mixing up Symbol and Reality

It’s interesting that the following article, Burning Gods: Fear and Free Speech in America, is written by an atheist. The principle is so strongly applicable to Christian thinking as well.

Carol’s article reminded me of the Ten Commandments flap in Alabama, which produced some interesting pictures of Christians bowing down in front of the ten commandments monument while praying. I’m certain they were not praying to the ten commandments, but was there a confusion in their view?

Like Carol, I’m disturbed by flag burning. The flag is an extremely important symbol to me. But it’s a symbol of freedom. If we destroy freedom in order to protect its symbol, just what have we done?

Note: This issue has not gone away in Alabama. Now there is a slate of judicial candidates for the Alabama Supreme Court who believe they should be able to ignore federal court orders. (See the story here: Alabama revisits issue of federal vs. state power:
GOP lawmakers argue that state courts aren’t bound by U.S. Supreme Court
.) Look what a misbegotten brood a misplaced symbol has brought forth!

Confusion of symbol and reality is the heart of idolatry. That’s why images were forbidden. It’s very easy to assume that our images of God or of anything else are the same as the reality, and that can cause us to behave in bizarre ways.

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