Why Symbols Matter

IMGHe answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
Matthew 16:2-3 (KJV)

A lot of people do not have the proper reverence for the power of symbols because they don’t understand their significance in world history. I was taught a bit about their importance by a longtime friend. This person’s father was sort of like the Robert Langton character from the “Da Vinci Code” movies. He was an English professor at Kenyon College who had a passion for religious Iconography. He would take his family on shoestring tours of Europe just to photograph interesting iconography in churches.

Symbols as Indoctrination Tools

As he explained it to me, in earlier centuries very few knew how to read. So in order to indoctrinate them into the morals and dogmas of the Church they visually preserved them in stained glass and other iconography. Entire stories would be passed on orally with the symbols serving as a visual reminder and reinforcement. With the advent of the Gutenberg press and increase in the availability of formal education to the common folk religious iconography became a less important learning tool.

A modern day equivalent of this system is the icons of the computing devices we use. A person without computer savvy would not recognize their purpose or importance but that doesn’t make them any less powerful to those of us that do. Another example is the symbols of the square and left pointing arrow we use without a moment’s thought to control the stop and play functions of our devices.

Lateral Thinking

Unlike the left brain dominated learning of recent centuries this method ties in the right brain which is better suited for pondering deep things and connecting bits of information and making sense of them. It serves to encode the knowledge into the mind at a much deeper level and encourages personal reflection.  These days children who daydream (think) are labeled ADHD and placed on powerful Ritalin. As such the average child doesn’t stand a chance to properly develop their reasoning skills, which is precisely how the rulers of this world want them. Left brain dominant children turn into left brain dominant adults.

Hidden Knowledge

This lateral thinking method is the manner in which the dark arts are taught to this day; esoteric knowledge is passed on orally and reinforced through symbols. We can see this particularly evident in Freemasonry. I don’t see any reason to believe this method of learning is inherently evil; it is merely a teaching tool. However in the case of the mystery religions it is utilized out of necessity in order to hide esoteric knowledge and keep it from the uninitiated.

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (KJV)

As surprising as it may seem to some, Christianity also has an element of hidden knowledge. However, the crucial difference is that this knowledge of our God is available to all those who seek it via the Holy Spirit (John 16:13 KJV) and have submitted themselves to Him. While Satan uses truth as bait in order to enslave men Christ does so to set captives free. God does not reveal His truth to those who want it for selfish reasons. He tests our intentions and searches our hearts.

Do Symbols Really Matter?

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,
Hosea 4:6 (KJV)

Many Christians scoff at symbols claiming they hold no power against us. But that wholly depends on what role we allow them to play in our lives. If I cross the street without heeding the red signal will my ignorance of its significance prevent me from being run over? If we choose to interact with symbols we must understand them. An example of this is the jewelry we wear; you may be surprised to learn that two of the most common symbols worn by Christians are in fact not really Christian at all.


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