Saints On Display, Ctd

by Chris Bodenner

Budapest - Places To Visit

A reader adds to the nascent thread:

In the ’90s, I visited a church in Budapest where they displayed the 1000-year-old hand of St. Stephen. You have to put a coin in a box to make it light up.  I couldn’t bear to look.

Another goes deep:

The problem with Christian opposition to idolatry is that the Doctrine of Incarnation postulates that God really became incarnate in matter.  The Body of Christ is literally an idol (although a true idol per Orthodoxy).  Furthermore, from the standpoint of Alexandrian theology, the whole point of the incarnation is so that we can become like God through the example of Christ, divinization, e.g. icons of Christ.  Otherwise, the whole thing is pointless; you should just give up and study Aristotle or something.

Without saints, and icons and relics, you end up with a God that is just some occult metaphysical abstraction that saves us through some occult metaphysical process in some occult metaphysical by and by.  Why not just worship God in an occult metaphysical way too? That is, why not just be nice and think positively?  Why make a gesture of prayer or come together in a gesture of worship at all? Obviously, if we look up when we pray, then aren’t we suggesting that God is some kind of being up in the sky?  If we speak, aren’t we suggesting that God has ears and can hear us?  (And if he has ears, why can’t we draw them?)  How is this any different from kissing an icon?

Or even better, isn’t the idea of a God that is not, in some sense, really physically present in matter a vacuous and meaningless idea?  And isn’t that the central foundation of a vacuous and meaningless “contemporary” spirituality?