[quote=cheddarsox]The contradiction is not between truth and what you learned, but between what your preconceived notions about Protestants and religious art were, and what you observed.
I like near Bob Jone’s university. Way Evangelical Christian!
They have a museum of Christian art that would blow you away. I mean simply bring you to tears at the beauty of this priceless collection. They are the keepers and caretakers of this amazing art. The great majority of it Catholic. But they also host shows of other religious art. I have seen Judaic and Egyptian religious art there as well.
It is the use of art in religion that I think many Protestansts are leary of. Statues and icons in the sanctuary, or where people are lighting candles or leaving offerings can appear suspiciously like idols, and honestly, I have seen some people who have had a troublesome devotion to a particular statue.
This is quite different from being inspired, exhaulted and moved in the heart by an artistic depiction of a Biblical story or other moment of faith.
It is not the art, but the use of art that is the difference.
This actually proves the point that protestants are in fact hyppocritical when it comes to the use of images. The very reason that Catholics have statues and images in their churches is to “inspire, exhault, and move our hearts” by artistice depictions of Biblical stories and characters. If a church is where you worship God, doesn’t it make sense for us to have images in that church that will help you get closer to Him? Protestants have no problem kissing their Bibles b/c it reminds them of Christ, yet when they see us doing the exact same thing with a statue, they should, idolatry, idolatry!
Obviously, not all Protestants are like this, but the people at Bob Jones “University” certainly are. That “institution” is a hotbed of pure anti-Catholicism and has spewed more lies and spawned more anti-Catholic movements in the last few decades than any other Protestant organization. They will claim that our use of statues and images is “Babylonian idolatry” (for proof of this, just see what Tim LaHaye, Bob Jones alumna, has said about Catholic devotions, and the more recent statements by Bob Jones III back in 2000 on Larry King), and yet at the same time make a museum containing the largest collection of Catholic artwork after the Vatican because they want to be “moved” by it? They see nothing wrong with saluting the American flag, or with kissing a Bible, but the moment that they see us Catholics doing the exact same thing with statues they accuse us of committing idolatry, even though the most rudamentary reading of the Catechism will show that we don’t do this? If this isn’t hypocrisy, I don’t know what is. They’ll condone the “Babylonian idolatry” of the Church when it suits them, but then will enjoy her art in the very same way that we do, in that they use it to be “moved” and brought “closer to God.” Unbelievable. I pray for that place.
The fact of the matter is, the original Protestants (and many anti-Catholic ones to this day) used the Second Commandment as justifying the destruction of Catholic statues and images. They insisted that God did not permit even the building of images in churches, even though He ordered images to be build in Solomon’s Temple. Protestants will no doubt say that images aren’t condemned in the Second Commandment, but only the use of them in worship. Well, that is nitpicking with the text. If you interpret the text “literally,” and out-of-context as the Protestants do, you have to come to the conclusion that it bans ALL ARTWORK of ALL things for ANY purpose. “Thou shalt not make a graven image,” in the linkeness of anything in the heavens, on the earth, or under the sea. By a “literal” interpretation of this, that means that we can’t have wooden rocking horses for children, water fountains that depict people and fish, statues of lions at the entrace to art museums (like the Art Institute of Chicago), and a whole bunch of other things.
When looked in context, though, it is clear that the commandment only forbids idolatry, nothing more. Of course, people at Bob Jones University aren’t very big on the Truth, so they don’t look at this verse for what it actually says, but rather falsely interpret it in order to satisfy their absolute hatred for Christ’s True Church, while at the same time indulging in Her artwork.
I pray for them. It is quite sad.