Religious Symbols When a Person is not Religious

@AmbiePam (45707)
United States
August 21, 2008 9:49am CST
I've seen several shows about decorating where a Buddha is part of the decor, but the owners just liked the look of it, they weren't Buddhists or anything of the sort. In other countries I think it would have more of a significance to use that as part of the decor instead of a relgious symbol. I don't see many crosses on people's walls unless they are Catholic, but of course a lot of people wear cross necklaces and they aren't Catholic or Christian. I wear a cross necklace, but it has a different kind of significanc to me than say someone who just likes to wear it for decoration because it is pretty. So I was wondering what you think about religious symbols being used when the person is not of that religion, or any religion. I don't see anything weird about it, a lot of people see a symbol and attach their own meaning, not the meaning that a certain group of people lay claim to. What are some other symbols you have seen used by people that aren't of their own spiritual or religious beliefs, but are to a different group of people?
4 people like this
18 responses
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
21 Aug 08
LOL...uh, believe it or not I do have several Buddha figurines in my apt. Actually my great grandmother was the one to start that idea as she said it was good luck to rub the belly of the Buddha....LOL...also not only lucky but one would often be blessed with prosperity....she would also have a bunch of elephant figurines as that was supposed to be lucky too..I have one really old figurine of an elephant that was my great-grandmother's and bought a few very small jade ones. While I'm Pagam/Wiccan and do wear a pentagram, I also wear a cross and the star of David....okay..I'm wacky...but I figure this way I have a lot of bases covered...Hehee
2 people like this
• United States
21 Aug 08
You remind me of that guy in the movie "The Mummy" who had a necklace for every religion and could say a line of "prayer" in every language of the culture they belonged to! He had all his bases covered too! I luv ya Pye! ROFL
3 people like this
@pyewacket (43962)
• United States
21 Aug 08
Just realized I missed one...also have several Egyptian ankh necklaces too...LOL
2 people like this
@AmbiePam (45707)
• United States
22 Aug 08
I see those anhks as tattoos on the back of people's necks all the time. Have you noticed that? I also remember watching an old episode of Unsolved Mysteries, about a doctor who had a fertility statue in his office. Supposedly they were to rub it to bring luck to get pregnant. Apparently all these woman swore by that statue because they became pregnant soon after. Personally, I think the credit has to go to the man involved... lol
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Aug 08
I make 95% of my own jewelry and I use a lot of crosses. I am not a Christian in any way but I just like the crosses and X's because they are easy to connect other items to and they leave a lot of open spots that I like. I especially like celtic crosses because they tend to be very ornate and great for glueing rhinestones to or hanging crystals from. I don't really think that a lot of symbols have the significance of meaning, especially where religious symbols are concerned, as they used to years ago. A Buddha can just mean that someone like an oriental style. Crosses can just mean that the person likes a lacey open look. 30 yrs ago religious symbology was a religious statement, today it's a fashion statement.
2 people like this
@AmbiePam (45707)
• United States
22 Aug 08
I totally agree, to most it is a fasion statement.
1 person likes this
@irisheyes (4375)
• United States
21 Aug 08
As long as the symbols are used decorately and not against the religion they represent, I don't have a problem with it. For instance, I'd hate to see religious symbols (Roasary beads, statues of a madonna etc) used in satanic rituals and stuff like that but I never had a problem with a madonna figurine displayed as a work of art or even with Madonna the performer wearing a rosary like a neclace.
2 people like this
@arkaf61 (10891)
• Canada
23 Aug 08
Well, I am a bit divided o this. I mean, I like some religious things and symbols. I even would like some as part of decor. I am not sure of how that would be taken by the people in that religion, I certainly wouldn't want to lead people to think I don't respect their religion. On the other hand, religious symbols are ... well religious symbols, but also pieces of art, each one of them. So I guess that there is nothing wrong in viewing them as art.
@AmbiePam (45707)
• United States
24 Aug 08
True. I think a lot of times people find something art like, but then later they may even be surprised it is a religious symbol.
1 person likes this
@arkaf61 (10891)
• Canada
24 Aug 08
THat's true that has happened before. I have no trouble seeing religions symbols as art and part of a decor, and I hope that any visitors would not be offended by any of their religious symbols displayed as such.
@GardenGerty (90124)
• Marion, Kansas
21 Aug 08
There are several symbols that come to mind as being used in decoratng and fashion, but not for religious purposes. The Yin and Yang, the dove, angels, the Ankh cross, and Kokopeli. I did not have to think hard for this, they just came. Yin and Yang have been popular at least since the seventies, and Kokopeli since the 80s or 90s I guess.
@AmbiePam (45707)
• United States
22 Aug 08
I've seen the Yin and the Yang so often it almost slips my mind that there is any sort of religious sentiment attached to the symbol.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90124)
• Marion, Kansas
22 Aug 08
That is the way with many things.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Aug 08
I see Goths and punkers wearing crosses, and although I have no right to say they are not Christians or are just wearing them because they are pretty, I do wonder. How many people would wear the hand of fatima if they were not Muslim? I don't think many would but I have seen a few wearing it that I would say were not Muslim. Truth is, I don't think they knew it was the hand of fatima. They probably thought it was just pretty. Same with the "evil eye" bead. They sell those in the stores and most people think they are just pretty beads, but it has significance to a Muslim person. Great discussion!
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (45707)
• United States
21 Aug 08
Good point. You're right, now that you mentioned it I see a lot of that too.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Sep 08
Thank you very much!!!!
@kenzie45230 (3563)
• United States
22 Aug 08
Personally, I think if a person walks into our home, he/she should be able to know who and what we are by what we have in our homes. Christians should have paintings of Jesus or the nativity on the wall - year round. There should be a cross in evidence. The most visible books should be the Bible and Christian books.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Aug 08
On the other hand, I don't understand persons wearing those huge clunky crosses around their necks if they're not Christian. Or having statues of other faiths, just because they "like the look."
1 person likes this
@ellie333 (21029)
21 Aug 08
Hi AmbiePam, I am not Catholic but I do have a wooden cross on the wall and also a plague of Jesus but I am a Christian and I also wear a small cross on a necklace which is a plain cross and in my younger years wore one with a Celtic cross. My sister-in-law is a Buddist coming from Thailand that is their main religion and she has her own place of workshop at her home. My neighbour wears a Pentagram which I believes represents her Wiccan beliefs, correct me if I am wrong here someone but other than that I haven't really seen any. Oh yes I have I have seen Rosary bead in a home even though that person wasn't religious but they had belonged to an aunt she loved. I don't see a problem in letting people wear or decorate their homes however they want.For me I don't feel I have to wear a cross but I think it is pretty and do so I am sure many without my beliefs wear because I have seen some really pretty ones. Ellie :D
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (45707)
• United States
22 Aug 08
That is so sweet, that she keeps the rosary beads out in deference to her aunt. I like it when people honor their loved ones by showing things that were important to them.
@vegegirl (828)
• Australia
21 Aug 08
Hi AmbiePam I have to admit that I like Buddhas. I have attended a house Buddhist church a few times and do respect buddhism - but was bought up Christian. I actually don't even know if I own a cross (or not many if I do) but I have quite a few buddah ornaments, and so do others that I know. I hope no one feels offended by this, but I like buddhism and the dalai lama (and have one of his books and a cd by the monks) and I have attended meetings with the gyuto monks when they came to our town. I am also vegetarian, which is another reason I like the buddahs, because many buddhists are vegetarian, whereas christianity seems to push eating meat a lot more.
@AmbiePam (45707)
• United States
21 Aug 08
: ) Well, I've yet to hear of a Christian pushing people to eat meat. : ) There are a couple of vegetarians in my church, and one vegan. I wouldn't think anyone would be offended if you enjoyed Buddhist things. It's an appreciation that can be admired.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40326)
• Canada
22 Aug 08
I would wonder why a person who is not a Buddhist would have a Buddha in their house. When I was a little girl, I felt that these people liked a statue of a fat jolly man in their house. It was only when I became an adult, that I asked the question why. I mean do not Buddhists regard Buddha the same as we regard Jesus Christ? Although HE is the son of God and not a man. And we do not have a statue of Christ in our house, at least us Protestants are not supposed to. I know the Roman Catholics had statues of the crucifix on their walls, but that was not the same thing. As for crosses, they can mean different things, like rosary beads can be mistaken for jewelry, or jewelry can be mistaken for rosary beads. It does make me uneasy when someone who is not of that religion wears the symbol or has the symbol of that religion in his house. Unless he is a collector, then I think that perhaps he is ambivalent about his beliefs.
• United States
22 Aug 08
hello ambie.......... i think its bad thing to use religious symbol as a decor........ it can hurts someone's feeling, who is belive in that religon
1 person likes this
• India
22 Aug 08
It is a testimony to both the open-minded attitude of such people and the tolerance of the Bbuddhst communities that many images and busts of Lord Buddha are used as decorative items. And yes, I have seen many boys and girls in my city who are Hindus but they wear the cross as a fashion statement. Personally I have possessed several statues and paintings of the Laughing Buddha over different periods of time. Most of these have been gift items wishing me good luck.
1 person likes this
@dlufel (424)
• Australia
22 Aug 08
The most of all is the cross sign i guess. The second is the buddha. I went to a furniture shop last week, and they are having a package for new house. And included in the package is a 'budha praying' statue. And i was saying to the shop, i am not a budhist. Can i replace that with anything? and he said most of his customer come from a different religion as well, but they like to keep the statue just because its nice. There you go, i reall got your point. Sometimes religious symbol are actually a good decoration, although i dont agree with that.
@jomom75 (90)
• Canada
22 Aug 08
I don't see anything wrong with it at all! I think a lot of these pieces are really beautiful pieces of art and that is why I like them. The hubby and I are not religious at all. I have a cross necklace and I have cross-stitched a piece for my husband that was a cross. Both however were Celtic Crosses and we both have a love for Celtic things(my ancestry is all Celtic which I think is part of my love of it). There was no particular reason for the crosses except for the fact that we think they were beautiful. We have looked at Buddha's before as well and should we ever purchase one it would be because it is a beautiful piece of art. My husband also has a great interest in history, so for him these things cater to that interest.
1 person likes this
• China
22 Aug 08
What you said were very common in china.there are many family or person decorating their home,car,and shop with buddhas which in china are of a great significance of good luck,even most of them are not really buddhists.
1 person likes this
@Uroborus (910)
• Canada
22 Aug 08
One symbol I see used a lot these days is the pentagram. Many people who aren't wicca or pagan use these because they have become popular due to musical groups and movies using them. I think this kind os use if fine. People don't have to be followers of a religion in order to have an interest in it. Exploring the symbols can be one way to explore that interest.
1 person likes this
@jillhill (37354)
• United States
21 Aug 08
My daughter and her husband lived in Europe and when my son got married they got him something for the wall from another country that blessed his marriage and also had something to do with fertility. I don't think it would have any significance to our religion but they hang it on the wall for decoration...and the meaning behind it was sincere. Actually it's very pretty...hand carved too!
1 person likes this
@aseretdd (13712)
• Philippines
22 Aug 08
I would love to have a Buddha statue in my house... but i do not want to buy one... but i want it to be given to me as a gift... because i believe that will bring me good luck... eventhough i am not a Buddhist... i have a deep respect for the religion and most especially to it founder Sidhartha Gautama or Buddha... he has a lot of similaties with Jesus Chirst...