Lately, I've been checking out "Mary Worship" videos and "Praying to Saints" videos online from Protestants who protest the Catholic practice of statues of Christ and Mary. Pastors or lay Protestants oftentimes smash statues of the Mother of God to make a point.

Why do I never see them, even the most aggressive anti-Catholic, anti-Statuary Christian videos, smashing an image of our Lord?

As a Catholic, I can say if my Mary statue had a chip in it or gets old, I might just throw in the bin, maybe even break it so it fits better. I'd do the same thing with an image of the Lord, a Bible that gets old and worn, whatever. As a Catholic, I know these things are nothing.

In anti-Catholic circles, is smashing a statue of the Lord Jesus Christ just something they will not do? Is there a biblical reason for not doing so?

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    Could you explain what sort of 'Protestants smashing statues' you are talking about. Smashing statues they own? Wandering into random Catholic churches and smashing the statues they find there? Breaking statues they no longer have a use for? – DJClayworth Jan 23 at 17:49
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    I don't think you will get an answer because you've got an incorrect assumption. I.e. that this is either common or commonly known. Where I come from I have never heard of it before this. – James Khoury Jan 23 at 21:42
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    @Marc I would suggest that in my (possibly) limited experience that those people are a vocal minority. – James Khoury Jan 23 at 21:50
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    @JamesKhoury I have never seen a statue of Jesus disrespected by any denomination, it seems odd compared to the number of times I've seen Mary disrespected. I hope so, but never the less, those who do so are numerous and receive many likes. Which begs the question, would smashing Jesus statues generate as many likes? I know that a majority of Christians Catholic or separated brothers respect one another. As I'm sure you do. – Marc Jan 23 at 21:52
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    @Marc I'd suggest asking a new question. Feel free to come to Christianity Chat if you'd like to discuss different approaches to your question that might be more helpful to you. – Nathaniel Jan 25 at 16:54

There are two questions here - one about icons and their place in people's minds and the other is about attitudes to those who use icons.

The Places of Icons

The relationship of Christians to Icons (whether 2D or 3D) has always been tricky. There was a wave of iconoclasm in Wittenberg in the 1520's that was roundly condemned by Luther and some still continue this unfortunate practice of iconoclasm. The problem is what to do with the commandment forbidding idols. The answer is simple - do what the ancient Jews did - they had lots of icons around the sanctuary, but they were never worshipped as gods. Modern iconoclasts appear to ignore the fact that the commandment in question forbids the making of idols that are worshipped as gods, as distinct from either good art or something else.

Most people are sensible enough to realise that an icon is not God and that it should not be worshipped. (There are exceptions.)

Attitudes to Others

The primary difference between a protestant and a Catholic is the source of authority. Protestants believe in "Sola Scriptura" meaning that the Bible is the last court of appeal for matters of faith. If this is true, then a good protestant will believe in freedom of choice and freedom of religion as taught by the Bible.

Freedom of religion gives all people the right to practise their beliefs without interference by others, especially the state. This idea, leads directly to the concept of the secular state where all people are granted religious freedom, protection under the law and access to the “public square”. The Bible provides a number of good examples of religious tolerance.

  • Mark 9:38-40, Luke 9:49, 50. Jesus tolerated other groups disconnected from His own.
  • Luke 9:52-56. Jesus refused to curse non-believers
  • John 4:7-27 (Samaritan woman at the well) is a remarkable example of tolerance where Jesus made no attempt to make the woman a Jew and call her “one of us” before she became a very effective missionary.
  • Rom 2:14-16 clearly says that some pagans will be saved. This should make Christians very tolerant of unbelievers.
  • Rom 14:1-23 provides an extended passage about being non-judgemental and tolerant about others’ beliefs and practices.
  • 1 Cor 10:31, 32 advises Christians to give no occasion for offence to Jews or gentiles.

In much of the western world, secular government has been implemented with the aid of the modern doctrine of the separation of church and state.

Thus, iconoclasm should have no place in the practice of Christians generally.

  • Thank you for your answer. I just don't think it answers the question. The question focuses on whether smashing images of the Virgin Mary mother of God is done very often, yet, the smashing of statues of Our Lord and Savior is almost non-existent and when it is, it's usually not Protestants but non-believing vandals. The ones who do the smashing of our Lady (which really means nothing) seem to be addressing a point about the statue which Catholics do not relate to. The same argument can be made towards Statues of Jesus, yet, the smashing of Jesus, especially in videos, does not exist. – Marc Jan 23 at 20:58
  • In that case, perhaps, you should re-word the question a little. I cannot comment on what non-Christians do. Globally, Islam contains the greatest group of iconoclasts (albeit a minority). As stated above, there is no justification in Protestantism for iconoclasm. – Mac's Musings Jan 23 at 22:03
  • I disagree with your interpretation of Rom 2:14-16 and 14:1-23. Paul in Rom 3 makes it plain that no one can be saved through keeping the law because it merely shows that we’re sinners in need of salvation - which is provided by Christ’s redemption, and is received through faith (i.e. pagans can't be saved). With respect to Rom 14 Paul only refers to peripheral matters like food not to Christian doctrines. – Eddie Jan 24 at 22:15
  • Agreed on both matters. No one is saved except by the merits of Christ alone and nothing we do earns our salvation. However, that does not change what I said above. – Mac's Musings Jan 25 at 4:07
  • Since you agree that salvation is only through faith in Christ this excludes pagans who don't have such faith, and therefore changes your interpretation of Romans 2:14-16 where you say some pagans will be saved. – Eddie Jan 25 at 13:24

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