My Christian cousin broke her deceased father's Buddha statue

My uncle passed away last year from cancer. Amongst his personal possessions was a Buddha statue. My uncle was not really religious, but the Buddha statue was one of his favorite personal items. My cousin is Protestant, and while going through my uncle’s possessions, got into a heated argument with her mom and my mom. She was adamant that they should get rid of the Buddha statue, because it’s a pagan icon, and it would be bad for my uncle’s salvation. Her mom and my mom were against it, because it was one of my uncle’s favorite things, and they didn’t think it would’ve been right to just throw it away like that. What happened next was shocking. My cousin picked up the statue and threw it into the ground, breaking it into a million pieces. Her mom and my mom were both flabbergasted and got really offended - her mom was shaking from anger. My cousin has since apologized, but ever since my mom told me the story, I’ve been thinking about it.

On the one hand, I agree with my cousin that the Buddha statue is a somewhat superstitious, if not religious item. And I can see why she wanted to get rid of it. Her dad had just passed away, and she wanted to do everything possible to ensure his salvation. That said, I think she overreacted, and should not have disrespected her my and my mom. And really, someone’s salvation is not dependent on whether they have a Buddha statue in their possession after their death. But as a fellow Christian, I can kind of understand where my cousin’s coming from.

On the other hand, I can also see it from my mom and her mom’s point of view. My aunt’s husband had just past away, and her daughter is destroying what little of him my aunt had left of him. From their perspective, it’s a horrible act, and my cousin’s actions are disrespectful to her deceased father and to her mom and my mom.

So I’m of two minds about this. I think my cousin should’ve handled this better, but given that her dad had just passed away, I can understand that she was grief stricken and perhaps not in the right state of mind. But from an objective standpoint, from a strictly religious/ethical standpoint, did my cousin have a point?

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

My suggestion is to leave the judging of hearts up to our Lord.
Accept that everyone handles grief differently. Both your cousin and your aunt loved your uncle. The deed is done, let it go. There’s no need to analyze the situation or to take sides. Be an instrument of healing and comfort for both of them.

We can all be driven by emotion after a great loss, like that of our parent.
Mother and daughter both dearly love your Uncle, and may express their grief in different ways.

However, I think your cousin may have needed to express her concerns, but leave the decision to her mother.

Though the statue intrinsically has religious significance celebrating peace and gentleness, it had no religious significance to your mother or aunt, only sentimental value. Its presence was unlikely to lead anyone from God, but it is true that many Christians would be uncomfortable having a Buddha in their homes.

The statue will have no bearing or impact on your Uncle’s salvation now that he has left this earth.
According to Jesus, He Himself will have judged your uncle in this way: Matthew 25 verses 31-46.

Now the main hope is for compassion and reconciliation between your cousin, her mother, and yours.

Father, in Jesus’ name, please comfort the bereaved members of this family, bless them to heal their hurt and to move on in faith and love.
Father You are good, and Jesus Your beloved Son died and rose again for each person.
Please have great mercy on this man’s soul at the moment of his passing.

She’s destroying the belongings of a widow, things that once belonged to the woman’s dead husband, and you’re asking if she “has a point”? You’re not serious?

No, she does not have a point, and although her excuse is plausible–I’m not saying I don’t believe her account of her own feelings–it is not any excuse at all. There is no excuse for what she did. It was totally unacceptable. Yes, she ought to be contrite, and she ought to offer no excuses at all. It was a terrible thing to do, and I can understand the reaction of both the victim and the witness.

Having said that…when it comes to “what…of him my aunt had left of him”, there is nothing more precious of what she has of her husband than their children, including the child who committed this misguided offense. The best thing to do in remembrance of the man who died is for his family to be at peace with each other. That is what he would have wanted, even after they offend each other, if not when he was alive, then certainly what he would want from the merciful light of eternity. If you weigh in on this, weigh on that.

Or, as Steven Covey put it: The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

Based on your narration it didn’t seem to me that the Buddha statue was an object of worship. IMHO to your uncle, it was probably just a piece of art. If it were a statue of a cow, would your cousin have destroyed it? Unless the cow was an object of worship (as the Israelites did during the time of Moses), your cousin would probably never even take a second look. The object isn’t what angered God, but the act. The golden calf had no sin by itself, but the people who worshipped it.

What a strange idea. That what happens to this statue after the uncle has passed is somehow connected to his salvation. :shrug:

Anyway, I agree with this post:

Don’t dwell on what happened, don’t take sides in their argument*, and be a channel of peace in whatever way you can.

(* if your cousin directly asked you whether you think she was in the right, I think it would be appropriate to privately suggest that it was her mum’s decision to make; otherwise, let it go.)

Baltimore Catechism flashback:

It’s about worshipping false gods (Commandment #1).

Some things are just decorations. My grandmother had a living room in a Chinese motif.
Beautiful red and blue rug, large urn with oriental artwork, a lamp with three dragons making up the stem, and two delicately fired small busts of a dignified Chinese noble and his wife.

No worship or superstition.

But it can be and has been done. I remember reading a pamphlet about the dangers of the occult written by the late Bishop Donald W. Montrose, (Stockton, CA) who warned people to get rid of items that might be affiliated with the occult. To paraphrase his advice, it seemed as though such were the counter-equivalent of blessed items (blessed by the Church). < fasten your seatbelt!

Remove anything in your home that has had something to do with witchcraft, a spiritualist, a curandero, a medium, an oriental religion or cult or that has been used in a superstitious way. Destroy it or see to it that it is destroyed. Do not keep jewelry that is symbolic of witchcraft or is a sign of the Zodiac. Remove and burn all pornographic pictures and magazines—even those that have been put away in a drawer, closet or trunk. Get rid of all religious literature that does not agree with the basic truth of our faith that Jesus Christ is divine. He is the Son of God, our only Savior who brings us to the Father …

Bishop Donald W. Montrose

:eek: - Kind of relieved Grandma got rid of her oriental motif after her move now. :o

Remembered this little cartoon for kids. It was on the net as part of “Catechism art”. < *ALERT: Person who posted the artwork gives a running critique of them.
“Buddha as God” was example A. :hmmm:

More relevant to our time and place (US in 2013), examples B, C, and D seem to be
taking God’s place more in people’s lives these days.

The type is small, the words on the base of the “statues” read:

B: Money as God.
C. Science as God
D. Public Opinion as God.

It was wildly disrespectful to her mother. EasterJoy said everything on that subject that needs to be said.

It was also wildly disrespectful to her deceased father. The item was of value to him. To treat something that her father valued in such a way was thoroughly disrespectful. It wouldn’t have affected his salvation anyway, so really what it comes down to is disrespect. Shameful.

What about the fact that she was being disrespectful to all Buddhists as well? Supposing this story was about a Buddhist whose Christian father had died, and the Buddhist came along and smashed his statue of our Blessed Mother? Would we be having this kind of conversation right now? We should treat people as we would have them treat us. Therefore, we should handle all religious items respectfully, even if we disagree with that religion. My $0.02.

I threw away a Buda statue left behind by my non-practicing Protestant mother. The idea of keeping it made me feel vulnerable to evil - exposed. Though it was probably very valuable, I tossed it in a nearby dumpster and still do not regret my actions. I know mom wasn’t pagan. But that particular religion doesn’t believe in God at all. That gives me the creeps. And I’m a very intelligent person that doesn’t get why atheist continue with their rhetoric. Doubting I get. However, there are things about objects that contradict our faith I find on the verge of lending itself to evil. It also makes it available fore someone else to be lured the wrong way. It was not to dishonor my mother, but to rid my house of evil I felt looming over us. You’d have to know my life to get it. I need all the help I can get. I certainly don’t need an object to get in the way of my faith and especially my children’s faith.

Aawww what she did was wrong. She should not have destroyed it no matter what her opinion was of it.

Only if it didn’t belong to her.

It didn’t belong to her.

I’m not sure if would be appropriate even if it did, though.I don’t think it’s good to burn a religious text even if you disagree with it, for example. I.E., I would not like to see a non-Christian burn a Bible, so I don’t burn a Bhagavad Gita. Just seems like common decency and respect to me.

Throwing it out is another thing. That can be done respectfully.

I think your cousin may have needed to express her concerns, but leave the decision to her mother.

That’s extreme. The church doesn’t teach that non Catholics will go to hell. Only God will judge who can enter the kingdom. It seems more of an expression of grief than anything. But she should not have done such a thing for it is disrespectful to her mother and yours.

You can point out to your cousin to be concerned for her own soul by reconsidering her affiliation to a heretical branch of Christianity. Perhaps she can look into joining the true faith-- holy catholic and apostolic Church

I hope you guys realize that Buddha isn’t considered a God in the Buddhist faith, anyway…

People keep saying that, it’s mostly true but I wouldn’t say it’s 100% true. There are certain traditions in which he is quite close to a god.

Nevertheless, god, prophet or simply respected teacher, it’s always best IMO to treat he religious relics of others with respect, even if we reject the religion. I’d like to live in a world in which I don’t have to worry about whether someone will smash my Virgin Mary statue. :slight_smile:

Maybe the statue will be reincarnated.

It’s interesting that you mention that, because my mom also thinks my cousin’s church is heretical, even though my mom is not religious. My mom told me that my cousin’s pastor told her to destroy or get rid of the Buddha statue, maybe not in that specific fashion, but nonetheless.


“It’s in a better place now …”

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