What do you believe is the significance of religious symbols? For example,
what is so special about wearing a cross to signify Jesus, since it
doesn’t state in the Bible that you should wear one? Also what about other
symbols such as the Star of David, the pentagram/upside-down pentagram,
inverted cross, freemason compass/square symbol, triangle with eye (dollar
bill), etc. I notice that some people fear these symbols because they may
have satanic influences. What is your take and how would it relate to


Your question is a bit broad, as there are so many different religious
symbols, and their significance varies. Let me first talk about the use
of the cross as a symbol. You question shows me that you are aware that
the Bible does not suggest in any way that the cross ought to be worn, or
even used as a religious symbol. The early church did use symbols. One
of their common symbols was the fish, because the Greek word for fish was
an indirect way to refer to the Christ. Most of the early disciples of
Jesus were illiterate, which made the use of symbols more attractive. The
early church did not use the cross as a religious symbol at all. This
should not surprise us. To the early Christians the cross did not
represent anything positive. It was the means by which the son of God was
executed and humiliated. It was a symbol of Rome and Rome was actively
persecuting the church. If for no other reason, I believe we should not
use the cross as a symbol out of respect for the early Christians, so many
of whom were crucified. In fact, if you take a step back, the use of the
cross as a symbol of Christianity appears to be a strange choice. To use
the modern equivalent, it is like using a hangman’s noose as a religious
symbol. You can probably guess that I am not really hot on the idea of
using the cross as a religious symbol. I find it especially hard to
understand actually wear a cross.

Let me admit that I am somewhat biased. I tend to look at issues through
the lens of the history of Christianity. Personally, I associate
cross-wearing with Roman Catholic religious baggage such as priests,
indulgences, the wearing of robes, the use of an altar and so forth. I
see the use of physical symbols as having a net negative effect, as it
tends to take focus off of God and put it onto ritual and physical
things. Having started with a fairly negative spin on the use of the
cross as a symbol, let me make a case for those who believe that using the
cross as a symbol is a good idea. Given that cross-wearing is not
biblical, and given that the Bible does not encourage the use of physical
symbols of Christ, I would say that if looking at a cross or wearing a
cross can help a person to focus on Jesus, I cannot see a biblical reason
to condemn such a practice. If you ask my opinion, I say let us foreswear
the use of symbols and worship Jesus alone. However, it would be
legalistic for me to condemn the use of crosses. Again, if it helps
someone to be closer to God, then I say let people use the cross as a

Let me move on to the use of other symbols. I am not sure of the issue
for you. I assume that a Christian would not display or use any of the
other symbols you refer to, as they clearly are not Christian symbols.
This makes these symbols a non-issue for Christians. If a person wanted
to display a star of David, I can see no harm in that. The pentagram is a
symbol of paganism, the freemason symbols are also essentially pagan, as
is the use of the all-seeing eye on the US dollar bill. Freemasonry is a
deist organization. It is definitely not Christian, and a Christian has
no business being in this organization. As to whether these symbols have
Satanic powers, I would say these symbols only have power if we give it to
them. In other words, if we allow ourselves to become drawn into pagan
worship, and if we use one of these symbols in the process, then we have
given the symbol power. I believe it is just plain superstition to
believe that the symbol itself has any power. Even if one could make a
case that the upside down cross had actual power in and of itself, which I
doubt very much, I believe that in Christ, such a thing would have no
power over us. I would use Romans 8:31-39 to support this statement. If
someone asked my opinion, I would rather not have a pagan religious symbol
on US currency, but it is not a big deal to me. I think we ought to focus
in on important matters, and leave the unimportant matters for people who
have time for such things.

John Oakes, PhD

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