The practice of representing things by means of symbols or of attributing symbolic meanings or significance to objects, events, or relationships.

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How did the cross come to be a symbol for Christianity?

I understand WHY the cross became a symbol for Christianity, but HOW did it become a symbol? How did it start and how did it evolve into the symbol (or symbols since there are many variants) we all ...
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5answers
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Why the difference in depiction of the cross between Catholics and Protestants?

As I understand it, Roman Catholic crosses have Jesus hanging on them, but Protestant crosses do not. I understood that Protestant crosses do not because they want to focus on the Resurrection, not ...
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3answers
700 views

What is the reason for the absence of the Cross as a symbol in the LDS Church?

As I was looking at some references for this question dealing with the usage of the inverted pentagram in the LDS Church and particularly on the Temple in Salt Lack City, I came across an article that ...
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13answers
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What is the significance of water from Jesus' side?

John 19:34 "one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water." I know this is supposed to be something great as in the next verse the apostle tries ...
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2answers
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What is the purpose and meaning of the Christian Flag?

Many of you have probably seen the Christian flag: a white flag with a red cross on a blue corner. It's a staple of some churches and many Christian schools. Do the colors have specific ...
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What is the significance of the inverted pentagram symbols on the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City?

The Temple in Salt Lake has several inverted pentagrams as decorations. (To see a few, just google "lds temple salt lake inverted pentagrams" and click on images. Or click here) According to ...
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3answers
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Nuns wearing wedding bands?

On a recent trip a nice nun took a picture of my family. I noticed that the nun was wearing a wedding band on her left hand. I have a vague recollection of reading somewhere that nuns are considered ...
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6answers
717 views

Christian significance of Tolkien and C. S. Lewis putting “heaven” across the sea?

It is interesting that both of the most prominent Christian fantasy authors (not as in "Christian Fantasy" but Christians who wrote fantasy) put paradise across the sea. I realize that Tolkien's ...
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5answers
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From an idealist perspective, what are the “seven spirits of God”?

In Revelation, we see God along with the "Seven Spirits before his throne". Revelation 1:4 (NIV) John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who ...
14
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1answer
360 views

What does the abbreviation “RNIO” mean in a painting of the Virgin and Child?

In the Crivelli painting "The Virgin and Child with Infants Bearing Symbols of the Passion" there is (at the right, under a bare tree) an injured (?) knight with a red shield inscribed with the ...
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2answers
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What is the symbolism of the Peacock?

In some churches I have seen, the peacock is used in furniture or other similar items: It can also be seen in some Iconography and decoration: I was just wondering what the symbolism of the ...
14
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4answers
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Why are thighs important?

I know it sounds like a silly or weird question, but I'm serious. Genesis 24:2 One day Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, “Take an oath by putting your ...
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6answers
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What is the significance of the three different gifts (gold, frankincense and myrrh) given to Jesus by the Magi after his birth?

In Matthew 2:11, we read that the Magi or wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Were these common gifts to be given at that time or did each of them hold significant meaning, ...
11
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2answers
263 views

Why did this Early Version of the Watchtower Magazine include Crosses, and what do these other Symbols on the Magazine Represent?

The following is "Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, October 1, 1907." I was under the impression that symbols (especially crosses) were not allowed in the church. "Jehovah's ...
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4answers
11k views

Should protestants not make the sign of the Cross? [closed]

I'm not a Catholic, but I've been aware since I was little that Catholics will "Cross" themselves. Early on I felt like I shouldn't copy it as it always had been portrayed in tv/film as something ...
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1answer
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What is the meaning of the large statue of a pine cone in Vatican City?

What is the meaning of this statue in Vatican City?
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1answer
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What is the significance of a double cross?

What is the significance of a cross with two cross-bars to Christians? Does it carry different symbolism than a normal cross?
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1answer
652 views

How did the four living creatures become associated with the Gospel writers?

The visions of Ezekiel recorded in Ezekiel 1 and that of John in Revelation 4:7 include four living creatures (ζῷα) that stand in the presence of the throne of God. In both visions these heavenly ...
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3answers
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What is the “veil” that covers the heart when the Old Testament is read?

2 Corinthians 3:13-18 (NIV) We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, ...
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2answers
181 views

Can indirection bring us closer to Christ?

Peter's excellent blog posting pointed to a movement I'd never heard of before: Militia of the Immaculata (MI). In the process of figuring out what it might be, I read this important qualification: ...
7
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1answer
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What does this Catholic symbol mean?

I have this symbol over the entrance of my apartment. I have been told it is a Catholic symbol, and the owner of the flat is probably Catholic since it is the dominant faith here. Searching on Google ...
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3answers
1k views

According to the LDS church, why was Jesus Christ born when he was born?

Why was Christ born when he was born? Why not earlier? Why not later? Does the time period of his life have a symbolic or practical importance? I am not aware of any reason why Christ needed to live ...
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3answers
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What does “therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” mean?

In Matthew 10:16 we read: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (NIV) What does "be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as ...
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1answer
118 views

Is it known when and why Christians began to sign themselves and impart blessings with the Cross?

Among the Christians who make the sign of the cross [cf. this @fredsbend's answer], is it known when and why Christians began to sign themselves with the Cross? The best answer will also include when ...
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3answers
424 views

What's the deal with oil?

If you look across the Bible, there are many instances where oil is used. The anointing of Saul and David; Jacob pouring oil over the rock where he had his dream of the staircase to heaven(?); Maria ...
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1answer
462 views

Why do Carmelite nuns change headwear?

In this movie regarding the life of St. Therese of Lisieux, the girl who wants to become a saint, there is a scene wherein she changes the color of her clothing and headdress after participating some ...
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1answer
173 views

When was the number of the beast, 666, first identified as referring to Emperor Nero?

The belief that the number of the beast in Revelation, 666, refers to Nero is a common theory now. When was this identification first suggested?
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1answer
317 views

What symbols have represented Christianity through the years? [closed]

Today the cross is the primary icon of Christianity, but I'm aware of a few others, such as the Ichthys. What symbols have represented the faith through the centuries?
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0answers
62 views

Is there a historical reason why the liturgical colour purple eventually replaced black to symbolise penance?

Is there a historical reason why the liturgical colour purple eventually replaced black to symbolise penance? This question does not have its' answer in the difference between the two forms of the ...
5
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4answers
299 views

Relevance of the word 'ICTHUS'

I would like to know the meaning and the importance of the word 'ICTHUS' among Christians. I have learned that this is some sort of symbol. Can anyone help me on this?
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5answers
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What is the significance of Jesus' spitting on the ground in the book of John?

Why does Jesus spit on the ground and make clay to anoint the blind man's eyes? What does this represent? Is the need to wash the anointing off significant? John 9:6-7 NIV After saying this, he ...
5
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2answers
233 views

Why is the fish often used as a symbol of Christ?

In the United States, you've probably seen it. Many Christians like to put a fish on their cars to show their faith. What is the origin of this symbol?
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What is this symbol (cross with P loop atop)?

I have seen in a church a cross with a loop off the top that makes the vertical look like a P. Does this symbol have a name? What is its meaning? From what does it derive? Can you supply any more ...
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1answer
784 views

How widely used is “beehive” imagery?

The LDS church uses the imagery of a beehive to represent the way the church [should] function. Notably lacking any sign of the cross or other usual Christian symbology in the temple, the main pulpit ...
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2answers
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The unicorn as a Christological figure

This isn't so much a question about theology or denominational teachings as Church history. In an answer to a question on another StackExchange site, someone posted this: I am an Art Historian, ...
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3answers
591 views

Who symbolizes Christ in J. R. R. Tolkien's “The Lord of the Rings”?

I have long been a fan of J. R. R. Tolkien, and have enjoyed his works from an early age. I am aware that he was raised by a Roman Catholic priest, and remained a deeply religious man his whole life. ...
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1answer
735 views

Counterarguments to “Numerology”?

Background: I am interested in learning more about numerology. In this post I am specifically interested in the arguments used by those who reject this doctrine. My current impression of what "...
4
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2answers
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What is the reason and meaning of the symbols on the garments worn by Temple-worthy LDS members?

I understand that the sacred garments worn by temple-worthy LDS members include symbols of 1) the square, 2) the compass, and 3) the navel mark, and 4) the knee mark. I know that some of the symbols ...
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4answers
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What is the meaning of 'the Sun and the Moon' in Joseph's dream?

And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream: and, behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it ...
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2answers
111 views

Why do Popes have seven candlesticks on the altar at Mass?

Why is it that Popes have seven candlesticks on the altar when they pontificate a Solemn Mass? This is something that I have noticed at several Papal Masses. Sometimes the candlestick is set next to ...
4
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1answer
735 views

Does purgatory have a symbol?

I haven't found it on the internet. Are there any symbol for purgatory, or related to purgatory?
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2answers
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When did the “upside down cross” become a symbol of anti-Christianity?

When did the "upside down cross" become a symbol of anti-Christianity? I can find no mention of it in the Bible. However there is, in Christian history, the story of Peter's execution – which really ...
3
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1answer
284 views

What is the significance of colour purple in the robe that Jesus was made to wear?

Was there any significance to the colour purple, as described by the evangelists while mentioning the robe that Jesus was made to put on before His crucifixion? Both John 19:2 and Mark 15:7 mentioning ...
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4answers
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Is the beast of Revelation 13 the same as the beast of Daniel 7?

There are several similarities between the Beast described in Revelation chapter 13 and the one described in Daniel chapter 7. Rev 13:1 and 2 KJV And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw ...
3
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1answer
3k views

Why are babies dressed in white during a Roman Catholic christening?

Why are babies dressed in white during a Roman Catholic christening (aka baptism)? Is the color symbolic or anything? Can any other color be worn? Similarly, are there some sort of color restrictions ...
3
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3answers
209 views

What is the significance of the donkey Jesus rode on Palm Sunday?

I'm working on different symbols of Palm Sunday. Has anyone done work on the significance of the donkey Jesus rode on?
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2answers
820 views

Why are many protestants hesitant of the reappropriation of symbols?

There are many symbols in Christianity that were, well, borrowed from paganism. Over the last 200 years the history is rich with the reappropriation of pagan symbols to have Christian meanings and ...
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1answer
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Sybils and Prophetesses in the Sistine Chapel

For what purpose did Michelangelo add each Sybils or Prophetesses to the ceiling of the Sistine chapel? This is an explanation to why they're there in the first place. The latter, although ...
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4answers
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What symbols are unique to the various denominations? [closed]

In reading the meta discussion about what logo should be used for Christianity.SE, I got to wondering what symbols are unique to various denominations. Note: I'm not looking for symbols which are ...
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1answer
414 views

What is the significance of what Jesus ate after his resurrection?

Is anyone aware of any special symbolic significance of Jesus eating specifically fish and honeycomb while showing his disciples he was not "a spirit", when he appeared to (and somewhat scared) them ...