Religious Symbols Essay

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Symbols are ever present in today’s culture, whether it’s a horseshoe representing the Indianapolis Colts or the staff of Aesculapius as a symbol for medicine. Symbols are used everywhere we go-- in street signs, hazardous materials, and in buildings. Symbols are also widely used in the past; for example, symbols are prominently featured in the World’s religions. Whether it is the ichthys and cross in Christianity, the Dharma Circle in Buddhism, the Star of David in Judaism, or flaming chalice in Universalism. Symbols help people identify religions through paintings, pottery, and jewelry. These symbols each have a deep meaning behind them for their religion, but also can be compared to symbols in the other religions around them. In Christianity they have a symbol called the ichthys, which is a fish symbol. This symbol used by early Christians to be a secret symbol so they would not be persecuted. It is even believed that the word Ichthus in Greek (ΙΧΘΥΣ) in acrostic forms the sentence “Jesus Christ God’s Son is Saviour.” I is the first Greek letter in the word for Jesus, CH is the first letters in the Greek word for Christos, TH is the first letters in Greek word for THeou which is God, Y is Yios which is Greek for son, and S is for Soter which in Greek is saviour. This symbol was originally a pagan symbol to depict the lover-son of a goddess called Atargatis; that lover-son name was none other than ichthys. This “fish symbol” is a symbol of fertility in some cultures in India. The belief goes that a “fish” is believed to a deceased soul, and once a person performed a ritual to this fish and ate it was believed that it would reincarnate a newborn child (Rel Tol) (Wiki). A popular symbol in Buddhism is the Dharma Circle, or the “Wheel of Dharma.” The Wheel of Dharma not only symbolizes Buddhism but parts of the symbol represent the
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