i can count on one hand the number of times I have spoken to Larc's sister since his death last fall... she will briefly chat if I make the effort to phone her - but doesn't call me. Yesterday, I did phone her - to tell of her of some family news that I felt she should know. She told me they had spent the labor day removing wallpaper, that was already in the home when they moved in. But the interesting part was that this was because they had had the visiting CO over for dinner, and he informed her that the fluer de lis pattern represented the trinity, as well as French royalty, so he suggested they might want to remove i! Just another example of petty rules, IMO. I couldn't help but ask if they are not allowed to grow iris floweers in their gardens, either:)
FLUER DE LIS WALLPAPER = TRINITY VISITING CO SUGGESTS IT MUST GO
These were the stupid sort of things I hated about being a JW. And COs giving their opinions about all this stuff is just idiocy.
Nothing should surprise me anymore, but...
How ya doing?
I never heard that one before. Seems I must not have been a good jdub as a lot of these petty rules seem ridiculous to me. Do you know where it is said that this pattern represents the trinity? Lilly
That reminds me of the time the CO came to visit my father who was (used to be) an elder at the time. His work schedule changed since he worked at the local mines. Well the CO, came over with the body for a "shepherding" call. As a little background growing up my father kept everything he owned in very good condition, and as kids we had chores and were expected to keep things in good condition (not abuse them). Well they met in the guest dinning room, which is very nicely furnished. The CO lookes around and makes the comment that some brothers feel the need to work more than necessary due to becoming involved in materialism. My father went ape shit (never seen that happen till then), and said that the furniture the CO was looking at and alluding to was twenty years old, and paid for! That was the beginning of the end. Eventually he removed himself as an elder as he was tired of the crap.
Maybe she should examine the yard and remove any '3 leaf clovers' as I think they could represent the trinity too!
I think the Congregation Committee of three is trying to take the place of the trinity! What is this world coming to?
Outaservice (a possible missing link to evolution!)
I haven't heard that little gnat item for a long time. Here is an article that probably is the basis of this. I wonder how many people know that is the origin?
Doesn't the principle applied to luaus and pinatas also apply here?
***g02 6/8 p. 24 Let’s Have a Hawaiian Luau ***
Although the luau may originally have had some connection with false religious practices, the word has simply come to refer to a Hawaiian banquet. Many Christians may therefore conscientiously feel that they can participate.
*** g04 7/8 p. 30 From Our Readers ***
Piñatas I read with interest the article "The Piñata—An Ancient Tradition." (September 22, 2003) It left me with some questions. The ties to false religion are well-documented. But the article seemed to take the position that as long as it doesn’t bother someone’s conscience, it is OK. What about birthdays and holidays such as Christmas?
S. W., United States
"Awake!"responds: Christians refrain from any celebrations or customs that continue to involve false religious beliefs or activities that violate Bible principles. For example, the Bible definitely puts birthday celebrations in a bad light. (Genesis 40:20; Matthew 14:6-10) However, if it is very obvious that a custom has no current false religious significance and involves no violation of Bible principles, each Christian must make a personal decision as to whether he will follow such a custom.
*** g76 12/22 pp. 12-15 Are They Idolatrous Decorations? ***
IN May 1976 a New York newspaper advertised as a gift for ‘the woman in your life’ a necklace that should show her "that she’s as dear to your heart as you are to hers." On a silver chain hung the pendant, a "porcelain heart embedded in silver."
Many who saw that advertisement had no objection to the pendant’s shape. But some persons might feel strongly that a Christian woman should not wear a heart-shaped decoration. Why not?
Well, objectors might consider the heart to be an idolatrous decoration, having learned that it formerly was used in non-Christian worship. They may sincerely want to apply this Bible advice: "What agreement does God’s temple have with idols? . . . ‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’; ‘and I will take you in.’"—2 Cor. 6:15-17.
Frankly, this touches on a broader and more basic question that can arise with many designs and decorations. It is: What should be a Christian’s attitude toward shapes and designs that have at some time or place been connected with false religion?
This question may be involved when you choose wallpaper for your home, the print on a necktie or dress, or jewelry such as cuff links, a bracelet or a necklace to purchase. It may even be of concern regarding the design of lamps or dishes. You might wonder, ‘Is this design somehow connected with idolatrous worship?’ Or some acquaintance may start you thinking by asking that question. You want to do what is right, but just what is the right thing?
Let’s consider a few examples of such decorations. Alexander Hislop’s book The Two Babylons points out:
"The ‘Heart’ was one of the sacred symbols of [the Egyptian god] Osiris when he was born again, and appeared as Harpocrates, or the infant divinity . . . The veneration of the ‘sacred heart’ seems also to have extended to India, for there Vishnu . . . is represented as wearing a heart suspended on his breast . . . Now, the worship of the ‘Sacred Heart’ was just, under a symbol, the worship of the ‘Sacred Bel,’ that mighty one of Babylon."
Similarly, the first printing of the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures presented this captioned drawing:
The ancients used many other religious symbols. For instance, the Winged Globe or Winged Disk was used in various forms in Phoenicia, Assyria and other nations. However, The Migration of Symbols by G. d’Alviella says: "It has been said, with good reason, that the Winged Globe is the Egyptian symbol par excellence." Likely you have seen it in Egyptian art or designs.
The Egyptians also employed as religious symbols things in nature around them. Regarding the scarab or dung beetle, The World Book Encyclopedia reports: "For the Egyptians, the scarab also symbolized the resurrection and immortality. They carved figures of the insects out of stone or metal, and used them as charms."
Certain plants, too, have been taken as religious symbols. In their religion or mythology many nations had a Sacred Tree, such as "the palm, the pomegranate, the cypress, the vine, etc." The fleur-de-lis (French, "flower of the lily") brings this up to more recent times. This design, used in ancient India and Egypt, became part of the heraldic design on the shield of the royal house of France. "Charles V of France in 1376 limited the number of fleurs-de-lis to three, in honour of the Holy Trinity."—Encyclopædia Britannica, 1976 edition, Volume IV, page 182.
A similar religious connection may arise with the shamrock or three-leaf clover. Regarding this plant or design, one encyclopedia reports:
"Shamrock (Ir. seamròg, ‘little clover’), any of several [three-leaf] clovers . . . , all of which are native to Ireland. The shamrock was originally chosen as the national emblem of Ireland because of the legend that Saint Patrick used the plant to illustrate the doctrine of the Trinity. Most shamrocks . . . have been considered by the Irish as good-luck symbols since earliest times, and this superstition has persisted in modern times among people of many nationalities."
Snakes, crosses, stars, birds, flowers . . . yes, there is an almost endless number of designs and symbols that have at some time or other been linked with idolatrous worship. So how can the sincere Christian know what to avoid or what to overlook as unimportant?
It certainly is not as if it makes no difference as to what decoration a Christian uses in his home or on his person. Illustrating this is the law Jehovah God gave to the Israelites about not cutting the side locks and extremities of their beards. (Lev. 19:27) Evidently some of the pagan nations around them at the time practiced cutting their beards in a certain fashion, doing so in connection with the worship of their gods. (Jer. 9:26; 25:23) If an Israelite adopted the same style, observers might well take it to be a symbol of his religious beliefs, signifying that he upheld pagan worship. Obediently, God’s people avoided this style of grooming or personal decoration. So it is appropriate to avoid decorations that would link a person with idolatrous worship.
On the other hand, just because idol worshipers at some time or place might use a certain design, that does not automatically mean that true worshipers must always shun it. For instance, figures of palm trees, pomegranates and bulls were incorporated in the design of Jehovah’s temple in Jerusalem. (1 Ki. 6:29-35; 7:15-18, 23-25) The fact that other religions might take these natural things that God created and use them as symbols in idol worship did not make it wrong for true worshipers to use them decoratively. Anyone visiting the temple could tell that God’s people were not worshiping these decorations or venerating them as sacred symbols.
Another factor to consider is a design’s meaning where you are.Things Change
Many times a design will change in significance according to location and time. A certain shape may have a particular meaning to an observer at one time and place, but a different meaning to an observer elsewhere or in another age. Note this example:
What does this design bring to your mind? Actually, the gammadion, or swastika, is an old religious symbol used in nations around the globe. The World Book Encyclopedia says of it:
"An ancient symbol often used as an ornament or a religious sign. . . . The swastika has been found on Byzantine buildings, Buddhist inscriptions, Celtic monuments, and Greek coins. Swastikas were widely used symbols among the Indians of North America and South America."
However, because of its more recent use as a symbol in Nazi Germany, those past religious meanings do not readily come to the mind of most observers today. As this encyclopedia explains, now the swastika has come "to stand for all the evil associated with the Nazis as they gained control of Europe."
This matter of a symbol’s taking on different significance can work in another way. A pagan religious symbol might lose its religious connotation. As the book The Migration of Symbols explains:
"It frequently happens that a symbol changes its meaning in passing from one country to another. In this manner a symbol can very well become a mere ornament when, on account of its æsthetic value, or simply by reason of its originality, it is reproduced by artists who are unacquainted with its primitive acceptation."
Also, the significance of a particular design may vary from place to place. The shamrock or three-leaf clover exemplifies this point. In some localities it might still be commonly looked on as a symbol of the unscriptural Trinity doctrine. In other areas that connection might be relatively unknown, but people may often view a shamrock displayed on a bracelet or a tie as being a "good luck" symbol. (Compare Isaiah 65:11, 12.) In yet other places neither of these significances may generally come to mind; if a three-leaf clover were part of the design of some wallpaper or piece of clothing, most persons might consider it just a pleasant natural decoration, even as flowers, colored tree leaves and other attractive vegetation are used decoratively.
So the Christian needs to be primarily concerned about what? Not what a certain symbol or design possibly meant thousands of years ago or how it might be thought of on the other side of the world, but what it means now to most people where he lives.In Practice
What does all of this mean in practice? Obviously, some ancient religious symbols are still venerated or held to have a religious significance, in the same religion or a different one. Take the cross for example.
The Encyclopædia Britannica (1976) mentions: "Cross forms were used as symbols, religious or otherwise, long before the Christian era in almost every part of the world." And d’Alviella reports: "When the Spaniards took possession of Central America, they found in the native temples real Crosses, which were regarded as the symbol . . . of a divinity at once terrible and beneficent."
Jehovah’s Witnesses have often pointed to Biblical evidence that establishes that Jesus actually was not put to death on a stake with a crossbeam. (Acts 5:30) Accordingly, they do not link the cross with the death of Jesus. Nonetheless, the cross still has a religious significance in most parts of the earth. So, were a Witness to wear a cross with the view that it was a mere decoration, observers would understandably view it differently. They would most probably conclude that the Christian was wearing it because of its current religious significance. Thus, the Witnesses avoid displaying this religious symbol.
But, as another example, let us return to the heart-shape. Though this was a religious symbol in ancient Babylon, does it now have such a meaning where you live? Most likely not. It may be nothing more than a decoration that calls to mind the human heart or, at most, suggests "love." In that case, some Christians might feel free to use the heart-shape simply as a decorative design.
However, take into consideration another aspect: Even though the heart is not a religious symbol in many parts of the earth today, it might be where you live. Or perhaps around the celebration of a certain holiday, such as Valentine’s Day, cards or jewelry with that design on them would suggest to others that you are sharing in that religious celebration. So you might conclude that even if Christians elsewhere or at other times could freely use this decoration, your situation recommends that you avoid it, or at least avoid it at that time of year.Concentrate on What?
With so many different designs having been used in false worship, if a person went to the trouble and took the time he might find an undesirable connection with almost every design he sees around him. But why do that? Would it not be needlessly upsetting? And is that the best use of one’s time and attention?
If a particular design or shape is commonly understood where you live to be a religious symbol, there is good reason to avoid it. Or if many people locally have become especially sensitive about some shape or decoration, the mature Christian might choose to shun it so as to avoid needless disturbance or stumbling. The apostle Paul wisely wrote: "Let us pursue the things making for peace and the things that are upbuilding to one another. It is well not to eat flesh or to drink wine or do anything over which your brother stumbles."—Rom. 14:19, 21.
Paul, however, also showed the value of concentrating on the things that are of real importance instead of getting involved in controversy over petty meanings and possible connections that are not of obvious significance. (1 Cor. 10:25, 26; 2 Tim. 2:14, 23) In that way the Christian can concentrate on "righteousness and peace and joy with holy spirit," which help a person to get to the core of what the kingdom of God means.—Rom. 14:17.[Picture on page 12]
Heart of the Babylonian God Bel
zazuwitts: and he informed her that the fluer de lis pattern represented the trinity
You may be interested to know that one of the watchtower buildings in Brooklyn is adorned with the flued-de-lis.
Gee, maybe they should find out about the origin of the tie http://www.shop-usa.info/TIE_HISTORY/tie_history.html and since it stumbles me I don't think they should wear it anymore.