What do you think about when you hear the word “Icon.” For today’s kids it might mean an image on their computer’s desktop. For many we might think about a religious icon — a distorted figure of a religious figure. In the original Greek icon means image, and the ten commandments prohibit the making of “graven images.”
To this day, Judaism has no statues, mosaics, or stained glass windows of Moses, Abraham or other historical figures in Jewish History. Islam takes the Ten Commandments quite literally, and no images of Muhammed are allowed at all whether they be distorted or attempts at portrayal.
In Christianity, their are two schools of thought. In Eastern churches early on they rejected statues and images, and out of their rejection arose a style of icons with a distorted two-dimensional figure in a way not to be confused with reality or worshipped on its own. While Western Christianity does not see statues or paintings as a threat to our relationship with God. Our churches and museums are full of images of God, Christ, and biblical figures.
Maybe Tom or other readers can provide us insight about how Eastern religions deal with images of God.
I suspect the graven images of today are more metaphorical such as money, possessions, or society’s worship of the beautiful, athletic skills, or powerful.
Perhaps the question we should ask ourselves is if indeed we are created in the “image of God” then how do we live up to that image. Are our daily actions and thoughts “distortions” or “reflections?”