Have you checked how this argument by Augustine against idols was used and answered in the Byzantine struggle between iconoclasts and iconodoules? How the Catholic Church dealt with it, as it could also be used against e.g. the depiction of Christ on the cross for worship in catholic (unlike in Protestant) Churches? Or is this a case where churchmen are good at spotting the contradictions and irrationalities in other religions but not in their own?
> There are people who declare, Augustine warned his readers, "I worship neither
> an idol nor a demon, but I regard the image as a physical sign of what I ought
> to worship" (that is, God or the Supreme Being). Such people, he said, "think
> themselves practitioners of a purer religion," but they fail to realize that "by
> paying divine honors to the things signified they are serving a creature rather
> than the creator, who is blessed for ever." In other words, Christians only have
> to turn to the pages of Saint Augustine (354-430) to give a deadly reply to the
> arguments that the Hindu American Foundation and other similar groups provide in
> the 21st century about the so-called 'idolatry' and 'polytheism' of Hindus.
>Heathens are those who have noWhat is the justification for this? Can you justify this statement based on direct citation from the standard Astika texts such as the upaniShad-s or the purANa-s?
>idea that the Cosmos is an EI entity.
--- In TheHeathenInHisBlindness@yahoogroups.com, vnr1995 <vnr1995@...> wrote:
> I don't see any problems with theological demarcation of humans into
> believers and heathens/idolaters (unlike secular theologies that splits
> humans into monotheists and polytheists). Heathens are those who have no
> idea that the Cosmos is an EI entity. Theologies say that there is an innate
> sense of divinity inscribed in all of our hearts; that's why heathens end up
> worshiping Devil and his minions. We don't need to accept the foregoing, yet
> can subscribe to the notion of heathens.
> On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 8:01 AM, vijayendra acharya
> > Rajgopal/Roover,
> > I think we are over-invested in the notion of heathens, as if they are to
> > be necessarily precluded from any allegience/following of any revelatory
> > text or prophetic source, to stay off course from any Abhrahamic religions.
> > This is streching the argument a bit too far, if some of the "heathens"
> > choose to investigate such a hypothesis..
> > Be they heathens or pagans or what Islam caled as "kafirs"; obviously
> > meaning all those outside the fold of Abhrahamic religions, may not accept
> > or follow the Christian gospel or "Allah" as defined by Islam; but to extend
> > this logic to mean as if they have no scriptural texts/no definitive notion
> > of god whatsoever or just have far too many conflicting or contradictory
> > scriptural texts and too many gods nullifying one another - tantamounts to
> > entering into a dubious conceptual dead end.
> > Rather, I would see "heathens" here are so-called, by the Christian
> > missionaries, as they obiously did not accept the Christian gospel per se.
> > Any attempts to broaden its meaning beyond this limited context is fraught
> > with serious consequences, perhaps paving way for some of the aprehensions
> > expressed by Somasushma in his posts.
> > "Heathens" as one must understand is only a Christian-defined category of
> > exclusion, used for circumscribing its own self-definition and setting of
> > boundary-limits of their faith and following.
> > Hence those outside the fold of Christianity and Islam are thus, not
> > "heathens" or "kafirs" but are primarily whatever they choose call or
> > consider themselves, inspite of Christian/Islamic projections of their
> > identity.
> > How can it be that this perfunctorily Christian definition of all those out
> > side its fold as heathens/pagans is to be also taken as adequate
> > self-definition by the heathens?
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]