Is it classed as idolatry to have a statue of Buddha?


#1

There is a statue of Buddha on our bookshelf, but we don't worship it. Is this idolatry? To own it?


#2

I think it depends on what you do with it… I would suggest that at least certainly in the most ancient jewish tradition you would be in trouble just having it, but I think our understanding of idolatry has become more clear today. It’s the worship given to some object which isn’t God.

My hunch is that you’re fine.


#3

Throw it out. A statue of Buddha has no place in a Christian home. Replace it with a statue of a Saint.


#4

[quote="amhara, post:1, topic:195615"]
There is a statue of Buddha on our bookshelf, but we don't worship it. Is this idolatry? To own it?

[/quote]

I have little figurines of geese on my bookshelf. They are not idols, they are knick-knacks.

You could actually be closer to idolatry with statues of saints sometimes. I have many statues of Mary in my home and have to remind my children often that we honor Mary and NOT the statue of her. The statue just reminds us of her, like a family photo... I never have this issue with the geese.

A statue of Buddha is no more idolatry than having a decorative lamp. If someone in your house starts rubbing it's belly for luck, I'd be worried... But if it's a knick-knack, no worries...

But I could be wrong...

God Bless :)


#5

Do you worship it? To me a statue of buddah is no different than the statue of any of other person/place/thing unless you give it any sort of supranatural significance. An object is made idolatrous through human beliefs. If I worshipped a toothbrush that would be idolatry…until then, it is just a toothbrush.


#6

Father Pacwa on EWTN last night was discussing Buddha. Apparently, we have things in common with those followers of Buddha. But Buddists are agnostics or maybe even athethists. I wouldn't want some religious Catholic statue being used as a knicknack by a non-Catholic. IMO, because I don't follow that religion and out of respect for those that do, I wouldn't have a Buddha in my home.


#7

To me meanings of stautes an objects are ultimatly arbitrary. However I do my best to not to give in to supersition. I don't have dream catchers, or good luck charms, and especialy objects pretaining to religions that I am decidedly convinced are false. Were I ever to have any sort of collection it would be strictly for comparitive or educational purposes. I remember when I was 16 I took my drivers test and the instructor had a mini jade buddha on her desk, which I later found out in humanities class isn't Buddha but the eastern deity Hotei, and I asked about it and she said it was good luck to own one.
A few years previous to that I read a book by the Protestant exorcist Bob Larson that demons can draw power from items such as them if they are present in your home. Now I'm not sure if this depends on the emphasis you place on the object but I certainly don't want to take the chance.


#8

#9

I collect statues of Ganesh (a Hindu God). I don't worship them, or put them on the same shelf/bookcase as my Christian statues of St. Jude, St. Joseph, etc.

Relax. As long as you don't worship them or bow down to them, your all good.


#10

[quote="amhara, post:1, topic:195615"]
There is a statue of Buddha on our bookshelf, but we don't worship it. Is this idolatry? To own it?

[/quote]

Not really as long as you don't worship it. It's just a statue. What's it gonna do? Get all kung-fu and hit me with Buddhist Palm? :rolleyes::p

[quote="Peter_Burke, post:7, topic:195615"]
A few years previous to that I read a book by the Protestant exorcist Bob Larson that demons can draw power from items such as them if they are present in your home. Now I'm not sure if this depends on the emphasis you place on the object but I certainly don't want to take the chance.

[/quote]

Bob Larson is a fraud and farce. As much as I consider Fr. Gabriel Amorth a little bit of nut himself, I'll have him as an authority on exorcism over another Benny Hinn copycat.

[quote="Contra_Mundum, post:8, topic:195615"]
I don't know, this seems logical in theory (a figurine is a figurine) but I believe there is something fundamentally different with having items that belong to a different religion. Buddha stands for something that is against Christian faith. I personally wouldn't want it in my home, just like I wouldn't have a Hindu altar with idols 'for decoration'.

[/quote]

Yet the Vatican has statues and paintings of the Greek and Roman gods. Why do they not follow your way of thinking?

[quote="aicirt, post:6, topic:195615"]
Father Pacwa on EWTN last night was discussing Buddha. Apparently, we have things in common with those followers of Buddha. But Buddists are agnostics or maybe even athethists. I wouldn't want some religious Catholic statue being used as a knicknack by a non-Catholic. IMO, because I don't follow that religion and out of respect for those that do, I wouldn't have a Buddha in my home.

[/quote]

What's wrong if they use saint statues as knicknacks? I thought they were just statues or are you actually considering them to be sacred? If you ask me, that sounds like idolatry. Let's not prove the Protestants right now shall we?

[quote="jrsmith, post:3, topic:195615"]
Throw it out. A statue of Buddha has no place in a Christian home. Replace it with a statue of a Saint.

[/quote]

No offense, but if your intention was to turn people off from Catholicism, you've just succeeded. Last time I checked this was the year 2010 not 1700.


#11

I think if a Buddhist (or any other person who’s not a Christian) were to choose to have a statue of a saint in his or her home it would be because they see that person as an exemplar of good behavior whom one wants to emulate. Seems like rather high praise to me.


#12

They’re not just statues especially when blessed by a priest. They’re sacramentals. The purpose of manufacturing them, along with religious paintings etc., is to help Catholics with their devotions and to obtain a deeper prayer life. Some Protestants do have statues having developed a devotion to a certain saint e.g. Padre Pio. I can’t imagine any Protestant decorating their homes with Catholic saints. Why would a good Protestant want his home to look Catholic? And because it goes against the Protestant teachings that such things are not necessary and are a form of idolatry. So they’d be scandalizing themselves from both the Catholic and Protestant viewpoint.

I’ve admired Jewish menorahs. That doesn’t mean I’m going to buy one and use it as a candle stick on my dining room table. Although I like the Jewish idea of the mezuzah I wouldn’t give it as a housewarming present to a non-Jew. It wouldn’t be respectful.

As an aside, once a religious article has been blessed, it cannot be sold. The item should be given away, or burned. Too often I’ve seen “antique” rosaries etc. being sold. If you don’t know what to do, give it to a Catholic church and they’ll pass it on to someone.


#13

What makes you think a non-Catholic would have a statue/painting of a saint blessed by a priest? If they were to treat them as mere knicknacks then I can’t see how logical it is for them to go through that kind of trouble. It’s the same way how people have cross pendants as a gothic fashion statement. They don’t waste their time thinking it oughta be blessed. They just go buy it and wear it.

It’s the same with other objects from different religions. I personally wouldn’t waste my time knowing whatever religious ritual I have to do just to goof around with a gohei. :rolleyes:


#14

I understand your point, but I totally disagree with it. What about the artistic value of them? The cultural value?

I grew up next door to a family from India. I love the artwork, the statues, everything. What’s the problem with wanting them in my home?


#15

Because our religious art, which is usually purchased at the back of the Church or from some Catholic source, was not made to be “mere knicknacks”.

Yes, goth dressers wear crucifixies and the cross as fashion accessories. This is not what they are for.

I The sentence about goofing around didn’t come acroos so I’m not sure if you are goofing around with a Catholic object or an object from another religion. You are not suppose to “goof” with religious objects.
And if you are “goofing” with an idol from another religion, discuss with your confessor what this means: “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have false gods before Me.”


#16

[quote="aicirt, post:15, topic:195615"]
And if you are "goofing" with an idol from another religion, discuss with your confessor what this means: "I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have false gods before Me."

[/quote]

Do you really think having weeping Buddha is the same as worshiping a golden calf?


#17

What does idolatry mean to you? What are “false gods”? What does the commandment mean “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have false gods before Me”? When you were taught that, what did you think it meant?

I like Indian decorative arts. I like paisley, carved screens, gorgeous colors. And I like to cook Indian dishes. But I will not have Hindu statues in my home. Why? Because that is what the above commandment means. Run it by your priest.


#18

Yes. Obviously, for you it isn’t. So what do you see as the same as worshipping a golden calf?


#19

I think the issue at question is whether one is worshiping or offering devotion or sacrifices to the statue (or the god it embodies) or simply sees it as an art object.

Let’s say the Louvre was unloading art and you were offered Winged Victory of Samothrace or The Birth of Venus. Would you turn either of them down because they depict long dead gods? As long as you don’t intend to bow down before either of them I just see them as beautiful works of art.


#20

You seem to be missing something here-I’m not praying to them, or offering them any sacrafices…they are nice little statues…

We’re clearly not going to get anywhere with this one. :wink:


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