One of the things that seems to be coming to my attention more & more at present is the pagan symbolism of so many Christian symbols. Take the poor old Ichthys, which has become popular again as a bumper sticker, as a lapel pin or tie pin & as a broach, declaring proudly, so the wearer thinks, their loyalty to Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This is a symbol affiliated with the very roots of paganism & what it is a symbol of actually makes me cringe. This is a pagan symbol for the womb & vagina so old it dates as far back as the Phoenicians. It has associations with the Hindu god Vishnu & Dagon, the fish~god of the Philistines. The Greeks used it, based on its similarities to the alpha symbol, for the womb.
Think that's bad? It is also associated with Isis [& the *great fish* of the Abyss], Indian Kali [the fish~eyed one], & the Chinese great mother, Kwan~yin, who is portrayed as a fish. If you ever read up on these choice idols your flesh will crawl. In ancient Rome the fish symbol was so revered Christian leaders appropriated it while denying the genitalia meaning of it.
Be that as it may, & there is a perfectly valid argument going around that the Christian use of Ichthys developed independently, I think there is pause for thought for any Christian who desires to please their Lord & Saviour. The second commandment reads: 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: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6)
Are you howling for my blood yet? I think we need to be very, very careful of the symbols & traditions we incorporate into our worship. Most of them are tainted; everything from the cross itself to the Christmas tree, none of which have been blessed by God. Christmas is a man made tradition, not a God ordained one. The symbols Christ left were bread & wine, which were already part of the Passover celebration, & put to a new use by Christ himself.
More & more I am convinced we need to divest ourselves of an accumulation of useless man~made trappings & hear the still small voice of God for God is spirit & wishes us to worship Him in Spirit & in Truth. Not in symbols. Not in empty ritual & old tradition. Spirit & Truth. It is time we discarded the symbols which are stumbling blocks & crutches & grasp hold of of the Living God Himself.
No, I don't expect much of Christianity will either hear me or heed me but I know that my saviour lives ~ not in icons & symbols, not in church spires or mangers under Christmas trees; He is not on the gold cross hanging between two candles. He is seated at the right hand of God the Father & He is coming to judge the quick & the dead. That should give us pause for thought because judgement does not begin with the infidel & the unbeliever. Judgement begins with the household of God.