Religious Symbols and the meanings behind them

Jennifer TeuberReligious Symbols and the meanings behind themBaha’iFrom Leslie Martinez, President of Baha’i Club @ USF, 20 years old, Senior majoring in English and American LiteratureA simple nine-pointed star is generally used by Baha’is as a symbol of their Faith. The number nine has significance in the Baha’i Revelation. Nine years after the announcement of the Bab in Shiraz, Baha’u’llah received the intimation of His mission in the dungeon in Tehran. Nine, as the highest single-digit number, symbolizes completeness. Since the Baha’i Faith claims to be the fulfillment of the expectations of all prior religions, this symbol, as used, for example, in nine-sided Baha’i Houses of Worship, reflects that sense of fulfillment and completeness. Particularly cherished by Baha’is are calligraphic forms of the word Baha (Arabic for “Glory”), known as the Greatest Name, a reference to Baha’u’llah. In this category is the above symbol which is engraved on personal rings and on buildings to establish their Baha’i identity. Another calligraphic form of the Greatest Name involves an invocation in Arabic “Ya Baha’u’l-Abha,” which says: “O Glory of the All Glorious.” It is displayed in Baha’i homes and places of Baha’i activity. Judaism

From Nicky Spivak, Executive Director, Hillel Jewish Student Center of Tampa

 Chai is easy – it is the Hebrew word for “Life” Star of David – (Hebrew: magen David)   This is a bit more complex – I found this article at: http://www.aish.com/literacy/concepts/Star_of_David.asp Buddhism  From Josef Rios, President of Soka Gakkai at USF, 21 years old, junior @ USF, majoring in International Studies

The mala, literally garland, are prayer beads that we use when we pray or chant counting each bead as we do, and in most other Buddhist schools, when we meditate. There are several different types of mala, depending on the country and sect. The most common are strings of 108, or 109 counting the larger bead, symbolizing the 108 desires that tie us as sentient beings to the world of reincarnation. As I said there is a larger bead that essentially ties them all together, and usually has a tassel of sorts coming out of it. This is the Guru, or Buddha bead. Some schools will say a special prayer when this bead is reached.   The Tomoe however, is more of a Shinto concept, though it can be seen on both Shinto and Buddhist temples. It is similar to the yin and yang. This link has a good explanation of it. http://altreligion.about.com/library/glossary/symbols/bldefstomoe.htm

 Atheism 

From: Augustus Invictus, 24, majoring in Philosophy, President of Freethinkers @ USF

       

DARWIN FISH The Darwin fish is just a play on the Jesus fish. Because Jesus was a fisherman, and because Jesus is the Christian version of Mercury, one of whose symbols is a fish, the Christians use a fish to symbolize Jesus. It also is reminiscent of Alpha, the first Greek letter, and Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. The Darwin fish is just a joke. I has a fish with feet to symbolize evolution. It's just playing on the assumption that all life came from the sea, and it is a slapstick blasphemy to the Jesus fish.   AMERICAN ATHEISTS LOGO I'm not sure what they intend it to mean, but I would guess it's just to show that Atheism embraces science instead of superstition by using the valences. The bottom valence is missing to give the middle pillar the shape of an "A", for "American" and for "Atheists". But that's just my interpretation and assumption.   INVERTED PENTAGRAM Here is the fun stuff, and this is actually meaningful. It means different things to different groups of people.   To the Masons, the Knights Templar, and other such lineages, it is a symbol of Baphomet, the hermaphroditic goat-god. But that symbolism is a whole 'nother ball game.   To the Satanists (i.e., those in the Church of Satan), it is also representative of Baphomet (because they stole it from the Masonic tradition). Anton LaVey, founder of the Church, explained that the two points on top were the two horns of the goat, which supposedly symbolized duality. This just goes to show his own ignorance of philosophy, for to admit duality is to admit that there is such a thing as spirit, which is completely antithetical to everything the Church of Satan teaches. So they're a bunch of dumbasses.   The most "correct" way to view the inverted pentagram is by viewing it as nothing more than the inverse of a right-side-up pentagram. The pentagram symbolizes man aspiring to God; the two points at the bottom are his legs, and the two points at the middle are his arms outstretched to receive the love of his God. When inverted, it does not symbolize man's aspiration upward, but rather God's grace downward. It is power descending from the heavens. Fascinating.     Christianity    From: Chris Baker, 21 years old, Marketing Major, President of Cornerstone Student Fellowship.

 

           I don’t know much about the Jesus fish, but I’m willing to share what the cross means to me.  When I see a cross I am reminded of love; John 3:16 says, “For God so LOVED the world, that He GAVE His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  Jesus willingly gave all that He was when He died on the cross for us.  He became the very thing which He hated, sin.  At the cross curses are broken because Jesus became a curse on our behalf, bearing the punishment for us.  The cross represents complete sacrifice.  The Bible commands Christians to “take up their cross” (Matthew 10:38, Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23).  What this means is in order to truly be a Christian, a person has to be willing to sacrifice all he or she is and all of his or her possessions (notice I said willing to, I didn’t say must).  A Christian must stop living his or her life for herself and start living it according to God’s will.  The cross is a place where forgiveness is found and grace abounds.  So although Jesus died a horrendous, bloody death on the cross; every time I look at a cross I am reminded of His love. The cross was such a powerful symbol to the original disciples of Jesus, that when they themselves were martyred and punished by crucifixion, they pleaded to be crucified sideways or even upside down (and they were).

 

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