Open letter to non-Catholics II – Catholics and paganism, ‘worshipping’ idols

Many of you think we’re pagan. 

We say “prove it”.

There’s a lot of historical coincidence out there.  Dan Brown took advantage of it, so did other, more scholarly, people.  But anything can be attacked using fallacy.  When you charge that a particular belief or practice is of pagan origin or has been influenced by paganism and because of  this that belief or practice is false, your premise is wrong-it is improper to judge something based on its origins rather than on its own merits  For example, your argument goes-“Some pagans did or believed x  a long time ago, therefore any parallel Christian practices and beliefs must come from that source.” Often, as soon as a parallel with something pagan is noted, it is assumed that the pagan counterpart is the more ancient. Let it be noted that pagan religions often look like other religions because many religions use similar things, like candles, to mean similar things.

Well, what about all those statues? you ask. We aren’t supposed to worship idols. you say. To which we would reply “Why is it that when you see someone kneeling in front of something, that it means they’re worshipping it?”  God told us not to make images for the purpose of worshiping that image as a god.  So we are not to worship statues, crucifixes, paintings, etc.  Right.  We don’t.  Catholics utilize images to recall the virtues of the people they represent.  People have distinct personalities.  We remember things about them by whatever is outstanding in them.  Emmitt Smith was a great running back, Yo-yo Ma is a great cellist.  Mother Theresa of Calcutta will be remembered for her ministry to the poor. St. Jude is the patron of lost causes. Statues of St. Francis of Assisi are usually seen with animals because he loved all living things.  We give honor to those who served the Lord and paved the way for our salvation by showing us how we should live.

With more to come,

Your faithful Catholic servant


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