> Although we cannot judge individuals, can we not say that even the most
> sincere, well-meaning and in some instances at least even genuine Christians
> who pray fervently to the Virgin Mary are involved in a lie and an idolatry?
> And would we not suppose that demons enforce that darkness? If so, why
> should evangelical deception and idolatry be any different?
This is well beyond the science-religion area but needs comment. There
is nothing intrinsically false or idolatrous about my asking you to pray for me.
Christians of all varieties often do this, requesting prayers for healing &c.
Why is it then false or idolatrous to pray, "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for
us sinners now and at the hour of our death?" If I Tim.2:5 strikes the second
practice, it also strikes the first.
The problem there is not lying or idolatry but uncertainty. We have no
assurance that departed saints hear our prayers (& I would add, some good reasons
to believe that they don't hear anything) & no biblical invitation or command to
pray to them.
Such prayer is idolatrous if the idea behind it is that God really wants
to zap us but that the saints (& especially Mary) love us & will soften God up.
But that notion is not essential to the idea of praying to the saints.
Praying to saints is not part of my own tradition and I wouldn't feel
comfortable doing it (except in a very formal sense, as in the hymn "Ye Watchers
and Ye Holy Ones"). But I don't think it's proper to condemn all who do so,
especially if we don't know the attitudes and thoughts that accompany such
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
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