Some religions actually go so far as to label anyone who belongs to a religious sect other than their own a heretic, even though the overall doctrines and impressions of godliness are nearly the same. For example: The Catholics believe the Protestants are doomed to Hell simply because they do not belong to the Catholic Church. In the same way, many splinter groups of the Christian faith, such as the evangelical or revivalist churches, believe the Catholics worship graven images. (Christ is depicted in the image that is most physiologically akin to the individual worshipping him, and yet the Christians criticize "heathens" for the worship of graven images.) And the Jews have always been given the Devil's name.
Anton Szandor LaVey
When we are young we do not look into mirrors. It is when we are old, concerned with our name, our legend, what our lives will mean to the future. We become vain with the names we own, our claims to have been the first eyes, the strongest army, the cleverest merchant. It is when he is old that Narcissus wants a graven image of himself.
We are most blessed when we see ourselves as we are seen by [the Savior] and know ourselves as we are known by Him. In this world, we do not really grasp who we are until we know whose we are. The Lord says, 'I will not forget you. I have graven you on the palms of my hands' (see Isaiah 49:15-16). He will never forget us nor our real identity. [And, neither should we ever] forget whose we are. We are His.
Truman G. Madsen
A man with a camera was always suspected of being a spy. Moreover, the Jews did not want to be photographed, due to a misunderstanding of the prohibition against making graven images (photography had not been invented when the Torah was written!). I was forced to use a hidden camera...
I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, One who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted for me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters.
J. I. Packer
I generalized rashly: That is what kills political writing, this absurd pretence that you are delivering a great utterance. You never do. You are just a puzzled man making notes about what you think. You are not building the Pantheon, then why act like a graven image? You are drawing sketches in the sand which the sea will wash away.
Thou shalt not, it is said, make unto thee any graven image of God. The same commandment should apply when God is taken to mean the living part of every human being, the part that cannot be grasped. It is a sin that, however much it is committed against us, we almost continually commit ourselves--Except when we love.
These Greek capitals, black with age, and quite deeply graven in the stone, with I know not what signs peculiar to Gothic calligraphy imprinted upon their forms and upon their attitudes, as though with the purpose of revealing that it had been a hand of the Middle Ages which had inscribed them there, and especially the fatal and melancholy meaning contained in them, struck the author deeply.
Death is not "an eternal sleep!" Citizens! efface from the tomb that motto, graven by sacrilegious hands, which spreads over all nature a funereal crape, takes from oppressed innocence its support, and affronts the beneficent dispensation of death! Inscribe rather thereon these words: "Death is the commencement of immortality!
Monotheistic religions alone furnish the spectacle of religious wars, religious persecutions, heretical tribunals, that breaking of idols and destruction of images of the gods, that razing of Indian temples and Egyptian colossi, which had looked on the sun 3,000 years: just because a jealous god had said, Thou shalt make no graven image.
For the whole earth is the tomb of famous men; not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions in their own country, but in foreign lands there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men. Make them your examples, and, esteeming courage to be freedom and freedom to be happiness, do not weigh too nicely the perils of war." [Funeral Oration of Pericles]
I have seen a face with a thousand countenances, and a face that was but a single countenance as if held in a mould. I have seen a face whose sheen I could look through to the ugliness beneath, and a face whose sheen I had to lift to see how beautiful it was. I have seen an old face much lined with nothing, and a smooth face in which all things were graven. I know faces, because I look through the fabric my own eye weaves, and behold the reality beneath.
Grief does not end and love does not die and nothing fills its graven place. With grace, pain is transmuted into the gold of wisdom and compassion and the lesser coin of muted sadness and resignation; but something leaden of it remains, to become the kernel arond which more pain accretes (a black pearl): one pain becomes every other pain ... unless one strips away, one by one, the layers of pain to get to the heart of the pain - and this causes more pain, pain so intense as to feel like evisceration.
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
He who prohibited the making of a graven image would never himself have made an image in the likeness of holy things [i.e., by creating an image of them here on earth]. Nor is there at all any composite thing or creature endowed with sensation [made by God here on earth] like those in heaven. But the face is a symbol of the rational soul, the wings are the lofty ministers and energies of powers right and left, and the voice is delightful glory in endless contemplation.
Clement of Alexandria
Human beings must love something, and, in the dearth of worthier objects of affection, I contrived to find a pleasure in loving and cherishing a faded graven image, shabby as a miniature scarecrow. It puzzles me now to remember with what absurd sincerity I doated on this little toy, half fancying it alive and capable of sensation. I could not sleep unless it was folded in my night-gown; and when it lay there safe and warm, I was comparatively happy, believing it to be happy likewise.
All of the Ten Commandments that are good were old; all that were new art foolish. If Jehovah had been civilized he would have left out the commandment about keeping the Sabbath, and in its place would have said: "Thou shalt not enslave thy fellow-men." He would have omitted the one about swearing, and said: "The man shall have but one wife, and the woman but one husband." He would have left out the one about graven images, and in its stead would have said: "Thou shalt not wage wars of extermination, and thou shalt not unsheathe the sword except in self-defence.
Robert Green Ingersoll
Poor humanity, to saddle the gods with such a responsibility and throw in a vindictive temper. What griefs they hatch for themselves, what festering sores for us, what tears for our prosperity! This is not piety, this oft-repeated show of bowing a veiled head before a graven image; this bustling to every altar; this kow-towing and prostration on the ground with palms outspread before the shrines of the gods; this deluging of vow on vow. True piety lies rather in the power to contemplate the universe with a quiet mind.
God cannot be represented by an image. We ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. We wrong God, and put an affront upon him, if we think so. God honoured man in making his soul after his own likeness; but man dishonours God if he makes him after the likeness of his body. The Godhead is spiritual, infinite, immaterial, incomprehensible, and therefore it is a very false and unjust conception which an image gives us of God.
Some Christian lawyers-some eminent and stupid judges-have said and still say, that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of all law. Nothing could be more absurd. Long before these commandments were given there were codes of laws in India and Egypt-laws against murder, perjury, larceny, adultery and fraud. Such laws are as old as human society; as old as the love of life; as old as industry; as the idea of prosperity; as old as human love. All of the Ten Commandments that are good were old; all that were new are foolish. If Jehovah had been civilized he would have left out the commandment about keeping the Sabbath, and in its place would have said: 'Thou shalt not enslave thy fellow-men.' He would have omitted the one about swearing, and said: 'The man shall have but one wife, and the woman but one husband.' He would have left out the one about graven images, and in its stead would have said: 'Thou shalt not wage wars of extermination, and thou shalt not unsheathe the sword except in self-defence.' If Jehovah had been civilized, how much grander the Ten Commandments would have been. All that we call progress-the enfranchisement of man, of labor, the substitution of imprisonment for death, of fine for imprisonment, the destruction of polygamy, the establishing of free speech, of the rights of conscience; in short, all that has tended to the development and civilization of man; all the results of investigation, observation, experience and free thought; all that man has accomplished for the benefit of man since the close of the Dark Ages-has been done in spite of the Old Testament.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Yet what moved Our Blessed Lord to invective was not badness but just such self-righteousness as this... He said that the harlots and the Quislings would enter the Kingdom of Heaven before the self-righteous and the smug. Concerning all those who endowed hospitals and libraries and public works, in order to have their names graven in stone before their fellow men, He said, 'Amen I say to you, they have received their reward' (Matt. 6:2). They wanted no more than human glory, and they got it. Never once is Our Blessed Lord indignant against those who are already, in the eyes of society, below the level of law and respectability. He attacked only the sham indignation of those who dwelt more on the sin than the sinner and who felt pleasantly virtuous, because they had found someone more vicious than they. He would not condemn those whom society condemned; his severe words were for those who had sinned and had not been found out... He would not add His burden of accusation to those that had already been hurled against the winebibbers and the thieves, the cheap revolutionists, the streetwalkers, and the traitors. They were everybody's target, and everybody knew that they were wrong... And the people who chose to make war against Our Lord were never those whom society had labeled as sinners. Of those who sentenced Him to death, none had ever had a record in the police court, had ever been arrested, was ever commonly known to be fallen or weak. But among his friends, who sorrowed at His death, were coverts drawn from thieves and from prostitutes. Those who were aligned against Him were the nice people who stood high in the community-the worldly, prosperous people, the men of big business, the judges of law courts who governed by expediency, the 'civic-minded' individuals whose true selfishness was veneered over with public generosity. Such men as these opposed him and sent Him to His death.
Fulton J. Sheen
Talk about corporate greed and everything is really crucially beside the point, in my view, and really should be recognized as a very big regression from what working people, and a lot of others, understood very well a century ago. Talk about corporate greed is nonsense. Corporations are greedy by their nature. They're nothing else - they are instruments for interfering with markets to maximize profit, and wealth and market control. You can't make them more or less greedy; I mean maybe you can sort of force them, but it's like taking a totalitarian state and saying 'Be less brutal!' Well yeah, maybe you can get a totalitarian state to be less brutal, but that's not the point - the point is not to get a tyranny to be less brutal, but to get rid of it. Now 150 years ago, that was understood. If you read the labour press - there was a very lively labour press, right around here [Massachusetts] ; Lowell and Lawrence and places like that, around the mid nineteenth century, run by artisans and what they called factory girls; young women from the farms who were working there - they weren't asking the autocracy to be less brutal, they were saying get rid of it. And in fact that makes perfect sense; these are human institutions, there's nothing graven in stone about them. They [corporations] were created early in this century with their present powers, they come from the same intellectual roots as the other modern forms of totalitarianism - namely Stalinism and Fascism - and they have no more legitimacy than they do. I mean yeah, let's try and make the autocracy less brutal if that's the short term possibility - but we should have the sophistication of, say, factory girls in Lowell 150 years ago and recognize that this is just degrading and intolerable and that, as they put it 'those who work in the mills should own them ' And on to everything else, and that's democracy - if you don't have that, you don't have democracy.
Now I myself, I cheerfully admit, feel that enormity in Kensington Gardens as something quite natural. I feel it so because I have been brought up, so to speak, under its shadow; and stared at the graven images of Raphael and Shakespeare almost before I knew their names; and long before I saw anything funny in their figures being carved, on a smaller scale, under the feet of Prince Albert. I even took a certain childish pleasure in the gilding of the canopy and spire, as if in the golden palace of what was, to Peter Pan and all children, something of a fairy garden. So do the Christians of Jerusalem take pleasure, and possibly a childish pleasure, in the gilding of a better palace, besides a nobler garden, ornamented with a somewhat worthier aim. But the point is that the people of Kensington, whatever they might think about the Holy Sepulchre, do not think anything at all about the Albert Memorial. They are quite unconscious of how strange a thing it is; and that simply because they are used to it. The religious groups in Jerusalem are also accustomed to their coloured background; and they are surely none the worse if they still feel rather more of the meaning of the colours. It may be said that they retain their childish illusion about their Albert Memorial. I confess I cannot manage to regard Palestine as a place where a special curse was laid on those who can become like little children. And I never could understand why such critics who agree that the kingdom of heaven is for children, should forbid it to be the only sort of kingdom that children would really like; a kingdom with real crowns of gold or even of tinsel. But that is another question, which I shall discuss in another place; the point is for the moment that such people would be quite as much surprised at the place of tinsel in our lives as we are at its place in theirs. If we are critical of the petty things they do to glorify great things, they would find quite as much to criticise (as in Kensington Gardens) in the great things we do to glorify petty things. And if we wonder at the way in which they seem to gild the lily, they would wonder quite as much at the way we gild the weed.