Now that is an odd thing to say, and sounds silly, yet it is precisely what some of our critics claim members of the Church are doing, especially in the design and function of our temples. This is the premise of a great new blog post by James Carroll at Amateur Scriptorians called “The Language of Symbolism.”
Carroll notes the common reaction of our critics to our temple symbols. They usually say something like:
…you are actually worshiping the Devil, you don’t know it, but you are doing it on accident, if you only knew what your own symbols meant, then you would understand that you are worshiping the Devil. I know YOU don’t think that the symbols are about the Devil, but they are, and by using them you are actually accidentally worshiping the Devil.
Well, to them the symbols might mean that, and to someone in sometime and someplace, it might have. But symbols don’t stand alone, isolated from the environment in which they are found. They are not static figures which can only be interpreted in one way. They are dynamic representations.
In Carroll’s article he addresses why you cannot say that a symbol means something to someone unless you ask that person. Symbols are flexible, and change over time, and often mean different things to different people. It is the meaning assigned to a symbol by a people that gives it significance, otherwise it remains an empty shape. This is something that many people don’t seem to understand about symbols.
Click the link below to read the article:
The Language of Symbolism
Update: James Carroll has written a continuation of his post that complements nicely the first – The Language of Symbolism Continued