Is it OK to patronize a shop with buddhist altar?


Many of the nail salons near me are run my Vietnamese immigrants. I’ve noticed that at the front of the shop, they all have small altars to the Buddha (and perhaps other deities too?). In front of the statues, they place offerings of fruit, flowers, and sometimes even a lit candle.

On the one hand, I respect the fact that they wish to receive the blessings of someone whom they consider to be a higher power, but on the other hand, I obviously disagree with their chosen object of veneration. However, I certainly have no reason to consider these people to be evil pagans or anything like that.

I’m wondering, if it is a) somehow idolatrous for me to patronize these places and/or b) somehow putting me at risk for demonic activity.


No it is not idolatrous to go to a store that has religious symbols of a different religion. By going and getting your nails done there you are not participating in any religious activity. In the ancient world, if Christians had to avoid every public pagan image they never would have been able to leave their homes.

I also do not think you are at any risk of demonic activity. As I previously noted, ancient Christians lived in a pagan world and had to interact with non-Christians and had to enter and do business in buildings most likely with pagan images. St. Paul even told the first Christians that they could eat meat that was part of a pagan ritual (1 Cor 10:23-27). If eating meat sacrificed to an idol doesn’t invite demonic activity, then passing by a non-Christian image certainly won’t.

So, my advice, is go to these places without worry.

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