General Question

kevbo's avatar

What meaning, if any, do you attribute to the symbol of the cross in Christianity?

Asked by kevbo (25667points) March 17th, 2008

On topic responses only, please. Otherwise, please vent your spleen here or in man o’ war

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16 Answers

Dine's avatar

I think:
The Jesus died on the cross,in the name of all man-kind.

oneye1's avatar

Ow no your a troll now your bible thumping the world is coming to a end!!! just playing. i believe jusus took my punishment on the cross but my belief is not only the cross but that he loves me and was will to hang on it in my place

squirbel's avatar

I am one of those who believes that the symbol of the cross does not carry significant weight. Instead, it falls under the category of “idols”.

Before I’m attacked I’m well aware of the significances it has for others!

Zaku's avatar

I think of it as the central symbol, theme, message and story of Christianity as organized religion. Cathedral in cruciform, cross around Catholics’ necks, on crusaders’ tunics, etc. I’d contrast it though to what seem to me some other major messages of the Bible – god as love, for instance, and tolerance and acceptance.

Besafe's avatar

To me it is a symbol of at least two realities.

1. It is a reminder of the price my saviour paid and that He rose from the dead.

2. It reminds how blind mankind can be to Gods love, and that hate always destroys

shorty's avatar

Justice, Wisdom and Power of God. “Love”

1Cor. 1: 17–25 and Jn 3:16–17

Theotherkid's avatar

sometimes it can be a sign. It has happened to me before.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’ve always thought the cross was kind of a weird symbol for Christianity to be honest. I mean if Jesus was beheaded with a guillotine (I realize they hadn’t been invented yet, but it’s besides the point) would Christians wear mini guillotines around their necks? I always thought something more directly symbolizing the holy trinity would make more sense, or possibly something to do with the communion symbolism, like the wine & bread as the blood & body of Christ. Even something that was more directly related to the resurrection would be better imho, not sure how you could do an empty grave, but that was one of the cooler parts of the Bible especially as far as symbolism goes. Or the fact that Jesus is always talking about being a shepherd of men, there could be some good symbols that go along with that one too, like a shepherd’s cane or whatnot.

It’s just the whole instrument of execution thing is kind of creepy, not to mention that it draws the focus away from the important part of the crucifixion. I was always under the impression that the crucifixion was supposed to be interpreted as a time of joy, because Christ is released from his human form to live eternally. Maybe I’m overlooking something, /shrug.

Besafe's avatar

Warning—read beyond this at your own risk. This post will contain references to God and salvation that you may consider bible thumping and may be hazardous to your desire to avoid these topics.

This may shock you but I agree with you. in fact there are many Christian symbols used by the early church that are more positive. A couple of my favorites are the lamb—Jesus is the perfect Lamb of God who was sacrificed for my sins. And the fish. The fish symbol was first used by the disciples to mark places to meet (first church gatherings). But what it reminds me of is this passage about Jesus’ post resurrection appearance to the disciples.
“10Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.” 11Simon Peter joined them and pulled the net to shore—153 big fish! And even with all those fish, the net didn’t rip.
12Jesus said, “Breakfast is ready.” Not one of the disciples dared ask, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Master.
13Jesus then took the bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. 14This was now the third time Jesus had shown himself alive to the disciples since being raised from the dead.
Do You Love Me?
15After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”
17Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”

I like this because if shows Jesus made sure Peter knew that his denial of Him didn’t disqualify him and because it tells me that when we have our resurrected body those who love us will recognize us and we will recognize them. In addition we may still enjoy eating fish – GRIN

TheDeadWake's avatar

The cross as a symbol is just that, a symbol, not an idol. A symbol by definition points to something other than itself. Taking that to mind, it points to the sacrifices that both God and Jesus made on the cross for my past present and future sins. God’s sacrifice of His only son and Jesus’ sacrifice of his body. The cross serves as a reminder just as the ichthus (or fish) does. I think it was made the symbol because it is far more iconic than a tomb or bread and wine. In other words because those are hard things to be represented in a basic form. I dunno.

cwilbur's avatar

It depends on the context. The more blatantly it’s displayed, the more likely I am to infer that someone is being needlessly ostentatious in his faith. Experience has shown me that the more ostentatious and vocal someone is about his faith, the more likely he is to be judgmental and bigoted, and to have actually missed the point of Jesus’s message of unconditional love and salvation.

Outside of that, I find that the empty cross is a much more powerful symbol than the crucifix; the empty cross is a symbol of the resurrection, while the crucifix is just a symbol of torture and political execution.

Poser's avatar

Sacrifice. Jesus loved mankind so much that he was willing to sacrifice his body and life for those who would deny, desert, and destroy him. The cross/crucifix is simply a symbol to remind us of the sacrifice and love of our savior.

Plus it makes a great fashion accessory.

hossman's avatar

I don’t believe the cross qualifies as an idol because the cross itself is not worshipped, it is rather a symbol, as it represents what is worshipped. The cross itself is simply a reminder, a mnemonic. It is what the cross represents that is important.

I do like the cross as a symbol, because it reminds us of sacrifice. A reminder that we give so little in exchange. I wish our country had a similar symbol that was as popular, to remind us that our freedoms didn’t spring out of nowhere, they are not our birthright, they must be earned.

I like that the cross reminds us that with great privilege comes great responsibility. The cross is a reminder not only of the cross on which Jesus was tortured and died, but the cross that he commanded us to have the guts to pick up and carry ourselves in remembrance of him and in service to our God and fellow Man. It is far too easy to only think about the nice parts.

jacksonRice's avatar

@kevbo, when you were asking this question, did you mean something more along the lines of dividing-the-world-into-four-sections, or two-lines-to-represent-duality, or ancient-sun-god-symbol, etc? or did you mean “what does the cross mean to you” ?

kevbo's avatar

No, it pretty much means what it says.

I also asked this to prove a point that religious questions have a place on Fluther. At the time, we had some newcomers who didn’t know better and used the site to ask leading and proselytizing questions in order to “teach” us that we were all going to hell unless we accepted Jesus (or whatever), which prompted a justified backlash from vitriolic atheists and agnostics who subsequently didn’t know when to quit. So I (at the time carrying some degree of what I hope was neutrality) decided to make a point that there are legitimate, non-proselytizing, religious questions that are worthy of discussion on Fluther, given the fact that some 90% or more of the world’s population believe in some kind of God and/or consider themselves members of some kind of religion.

I am a recovered Catholic, myself, with no religious affiliation but with an affinity for Buddhism if I had to choose.

wiseman's avatar


what surprises me, is that many people who read the bible disregard some facts which are signs of jesus’s actions, whether he accepted to be crucified to rid mankind of sins and give them salvation. does it boggle your mind that in the old testament, salvation is said to be through david ? or that jesus said to his disciples when he knew that the romans are coming for his capture, to sell their cloths and arm themselves to fight ( he doesnt want to be captured), or that when then went to the clearing, he prayed to god and asked him to help him against the romans who wanted his capture…

also when jesus Post- ressurection, he asked to be fed, which in other words, if he was dead, why did he ask his disciples to feed him… ?! it is to show that he is still alive, and by alive that he still feels hunger.

I ask you to read again, Jesus didn’t want to be captured, jesus showed his disciples that he is living and not dead. yet so many people still get confused and get it the wrong way.

If you say what you say, give proof, for I can give the proof which god gave us.

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