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  1. Account Options
  2. Free: What Is Worship? A Survey of the Bible, by Michael Morrison
  3. Free Educational Resources for the Public from Grace Communion Seminary

The glory of God is the very identity of God, and Jesus in the fullness of revelation because He has revealed to humanity the character and identity of God. The disciples came to know in time that Jesus was the embodiment and revelation of God. Given all of this, how can we glorify God? Specifically, it was used in the affirmative sense of a good impression or opinion of someone, and not as much in the negative sense of a bad impression. Thus, doxazo is to express a high opinion of someone. This is like zooming in on an image so that every line, contour, and color is clearer and more visible.

Magnifying relates to visibility; exalting or extolling relates to praise. This is where the popular concept of glorifying God through praising Him or worshipping Him with words, hymns, liturgy, or instruments fits in. These three nuances of meaning are contained in the word and will help us in our understanding of what it means to be made for the glory of God. The three senses also relate to the three great acts of responsible human behavior — words, thoughts, and actions. We can glorify God by exalting Him, magnifying Him, and valuing Him as our supreme treasure.

We exalt God with praise, with acknowledgment of His supreme majesty, with acts of gratitude, and with prayer. Thus, the Eucharist is the apex of divine praise on earth. Exalting God also entails talking about God — His words, His actions, and His beauty — as readily as possible. God should be frequently on our lips — more often than any other person in our lives. It is surprising to observe that even among believers, God is usually discussed only as a footnote.

We leave the Christian core in pursuit of something less. It is like a husband who talks to others about everything other than his wife and her life and concerns. More often than not there is a correlation between the people you exalt and the people you talk about. This brings up the uncomfortable question: Do you think and talk more about God or yourself? What does this say about whom you exalt above all others? We glorify God by magnifying Him — that is, by making Him more visible to others. In simple terms, to glorify God is to reveal Him to those we encounter and throughout our society.

Whatever we do that does not reveal — or, worse, obscures — the holiness and goodness of God frustrates our primary goal. They resemble their origin, even if imperfectly, while pointing back to it. This resembles the nature of sacraments: symbols and signs that point to and effect a deeper spiritual reality. The Church is the assembly of God — the new people of God in Christ — and not simply an individual. But each member of the Church is integrally connected with the others, for we are one in Christ, members of His Body, the Church.

Thus, the Church, as both a community of faith and as a collection of individual members, shows forth to the world the testimony of salvation, which has been won on Calvary.

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The Church by Her very nature magnifies God through worship, prayer, sacrifice, words, and good works among people. Similarly, all that exists in the temporal order points to the source of its being — its originator, its Creator.

Thomas Aquinas, Sent. II, Prol.

Two distinctions must be made here between rational created beings i. Although the world in all its beauty points to its Creator and thereby magnifies Him, and although the very existence of living plants and animals are a testimony of the eternal wisdom of the Creator, these created things do so without will or choice.

Humans and humans alone, in the temporal order, are called to magnify the Lord with their will and choices. This happens, it turns out, in the very being of humanity — when the person is fully alive in love and faith and hope.


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As St. The beautiful baroque architectural masterpiece of the Arch-basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome reflects the intellect and spreads the name of Alessandro Galilei, the great eighteenth-century architect who designed it. And the baldacchino of St. And in their own way the ancient pyramids of Egypt, the great stones of Ethiopia, and the artistry of the Benin sculptures reflect their makers.

Each of these masterpieces in different ways gives us insight into the cultures from which they emerged, the genius of those generations, and the creative personalities who conceived of them. The lives of the early Christians made Jesus so visible that the Pisidians could see Jesus in the lives of the disciples — in their preaching, in their community life, in their prayers, and in their performance of miracles. In Vaishnavism, the building of a temple for the murti is considered an act of devotion, but non-Murti symbolism is also common wherein the aromatic Tulsi plant or Saligrama is an aniconic reminder of the spiritualism in Vishnu.

Free: What Is Worship? A Survey of the Bible, by Michael Morrison

The worship rituals associated with the Murti , correspond to ancient cultural practices for a beloved guest, and the Murti is welcomed, taken care of, and then requested to retire. Christopher John Fuller states that an image in Hinduism cannot be equated with a deity and the object of worship is the divine whose power is inside the image, and the image is not the object of worship itself, Hindus believe everything is worthy of worship as it contains divine energy.

Without the guidance of images, the mind of the devotee may go ashtray and form wrong imaginations. Images dispel false imaginations. It is in the mind of Rishis sages , who see and have the power of discerning the essence of all created things of manifested forms. They see their different characters, the divine and the demoniac, the creative and the destructive forces, in their eternal interplay.

It is this vision of Rishis, of gigantic drama of cosmic powers in eternal conflict, which the Sthapakas Silpins, murti and temple artists drew the subject-matter for their work. Thus, idolatry has been a part of the major sects of Jainism such as Digambara and Shvetambara. The creation of idols, their consecration, the inclusion of Jaina layperson in idols and temples of Jainism by the Jaina monks has been a historic practice. Sikhism is a monotheistic Indian religion, and Sikh temples are devoid of idols and icons for God. In Sikhism, "nirguni Bhakti" is emphasised — devotion to a divine without Gunas qualities or form , [] [] [] but its scripture also accepts representations of God with formless nirguni and with form saguni , as stated in Adi Granth Africa has numerous ethnic groups, and their diverse religious idea have been grouped as African Traditional Religions, sometimes abbreviated to ATR.

These religions typically believe in a Supreme Being which goes by different regional names, as well as spirit world often linked to ancestors, and mystical magical powers through divination. According to J. Awolalu, proselytizing Christians and Muslims have mislabelled idol to mean false god, when in the reality of most traditions of Africa, the object may be a piece of wood or iron or stone, yet it is "symbolic, an emblem and implies the spiritual idea which is worshipped".

First with the arrival of Islam in Africa, then during the Christian colonial efforts, the religiously justified wars, the colonial portrayal of idolatry as proof of savagery, the destruction of idols and the seizure of idolaters as slaves marked a long period of religious intolerance, which supported religious violence and demeaning caricature of the African Traditional Religionists. Statues, images and temples have been a part of the Traditional Religions of the indigenous people of the Americas.

In Mayan culture , Kukulkan has been the supreme creator deity , also revered as the god of reincarnation , water, fertility and wind. Missionaries came to the Americas with the start of Spanish colonial era, and the Catholic Church did not tolerate any form of native idolatry, preferring that the icons and images of Jesus and Mary replace the native idols.

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The Aztec Indians, however, preserved their religion and religious practices by burying their idols under the crosses, and then continuing their idol worship rituals and practices, aided by the syncretic composite of atrial crosses and their idols as before. During and after the imposition of Catholic Christianity during Spanish colonialism , the Incan people retained their original beliefs in deities through syncretism , where they overlay the Christian God and teachings over their original beliefs and practices.


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The Polynesian people have had a range of polytheistic theologies found across the Pacific Ocean. The Polynesian people produced idols from wood, and congregated around these idols for worship. The Christian missionaries, particularly from the London Missionary Society such as John Williams, and others such as the Methodist Missionary Society, characterized these as idolatry, in the sense of islanders worshipping false gods. They sent back reports which primarily focussed on "overthrow of pagan idolatry" as evidence of their Christian sects triumph, with fewer mentions of actual converts and baptism.

Yehezkel Kaufman states that the biblical prohibition of idolatry relates to the belief where the idols are considered gods. He adds that it is erroneous to assume that all idolatry was of this type, when in some cases, idols may have only been representations of gods. He cites a passage from 1 Kings , the Hebrew prophet Elijah challenges the priests of Baal atop of Mount Carmel to persuade their god to perform a miracle.

The pagan priests beseeched their god without the use of an idol, which is evidence that Baal was not an idol, but rather one of the polytheistic gods that merely could be worshipped with or without the use of an idol. The accusations and presumption that all idols and images are devoid of symbolism, or that icons of one's own religion are "true, healthy, uplifting, beautiful symbolism, mark of devotion, divine", while of other person's religion are "false, an illness, superstitious, grotesque madness, evil addiction, satanic and cause of all incivility" is more a matter of subjective personal interpretation, rather than objective impersonal truth.

The first commandment listed is interpreted as prohibiting idolatry, but the nature of the meaning of idolatry in the Biblical law in Christianity is disputed. It stands on an Ancient Roman granite pillar. Picture by Giovanni Dall'Orto, 25 April From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the Tricky album, see False Idols. For the Veil of Maya album, see False Idol album. Main articles: Idolatry in Judaism and Aniconism in Judaism.

Main articles: Religious images in Christian theology and Aniconism in Christianity. Main articles: Shirk Islam and Taghut.