The Improbable Policy of Ebenezer Scrounge

On the difficulties of reducing all claims to property to “greater need”.

Bob Crouch shivered nervously as he waited for his boss. Ebenezer crashed in and slammed the door, tearing a hole in his ancient suit.

“Bother,” he said. Then he looked at Bob. “What is it? I’ve only got half an hour – then I need to go and join the trustees of the fisherman’s fund.”

Bob swallowed. “I’ve been with you now for twelve years,” he said.

“And very good work you do too,” said Ebenezer, who valued Bob, and never hesitated to praise him.

“And I feel that it is fair I ask you to increase my wages, which have not been increased in that time. I have a large family, as you know, and my son Tom is disabled.”

“Oh, come on, Bob,” Ebenezer said. “If I raise your wages, I’ll have to decrease the donation to the East African Famine Fund. At least your family are in no danger of starving. Their children have a greater need than yours.”

Bob had known he would probably get an answer of this type. He felt momentarily ashamed of himself, wondering what right he had to money that was preventing others starving. Then he wondered if Ebenezer thought he should give the money he, Bob, spent on food for his children to charity, until his children were in a greater state of malnutrition than any other children in the world. Probably not. Ebenezer did eat enough, if not a crumb more – and he never expected anything of others he didn’t do himself. Remembering his son’s unhappiness, his daughter’s probable illness, and his wife’s worried face, he pressed on.

“Yes, but that isn’t the point…” he began.

At that moment there was a knock on the door. “Oh bother,” said Ebenezer. “It’s the soldiers’ orphans’ missionary charity rep. I must see what he wants.”

Bob sighed, and went to his work. He’d known he was probably wasting his time. Even huddled in his coat, he felt cold. The allowance of coal was minimal. Ebenezer didn’t seem to suffer much from it, rushing about as he did, but Bob did. He was glad when it was time to go home. Not that home was much warmer.

His wife Martha met him at the door. All his children were in the tiny living room clustered around Tom, talking eagerly to him of their day at school. Martha could teach him herself, but never had there been a child less well suited to being taught at home rather than going to school. His half-wistful, half-angry eyes followed their neighbours’ daughter, born without legs, being whirled home from school in her wheelchair by a laughing crowd of brothers and friends. Bob had applied to the same charity for one for Tom, but Ebenezer being the chair of trustees, he had been told that as Tom could walk a few steps, they must save their grants for those who could not walk at all, who thereby had a greater need. Had Bob been earning a fair wage for his work, he could easily have purchased a wheelchair for his son himself, but as things stood, they could pay for little but food and shelter and essential clothing, and as Tom could not walk the mile to school and back, he could not go.

The children were cheerful enough most of the time with their rag dolls and hand-me-down clothes, but he knew his youngest daughter had wept all the last night at not being able to go to her friend’s birthday party for want of a gift and a dress. She was thin and pale, and coughed frequently. Bob and Martha both feared she was becoming seriously ill. Ebenezer would undoubtedly pay thousands for her to be treated, but probably not until it was too late.

“Did you get anywhere?” Martha asked him anxiously?

Bob shook his head, his worried eyes passing over his children.

“Oh, it isn’t fair,” she said passionately, “I wish you could find work other than for that old miser.”

“Oh come,” said Bob, who had a fair amount of affection and respect for his employer, “you know he means what he says. He probably lives on a poorer diet than us. And all to give the money to people who are in need.”

“If he wants to live like that himself,” said Martha, “then I respect, yes, admire it immensely. But he has no business imposing it on our children by refusing to pay you what you earn. That money isn’t his to give to other people.”

“Well, there’s nothing we can do except plod on,” said Bob. “There’s no-one else to work for here, and…”

There was a knock on the door, and one of the neighbours’ children poked their head around.

“Letter for you, Mr. Crouch. Got left with us by mistake this morning.”

Bob looked at the letter and slowly broke the seal. Martha looked up to see his face transformed.

“This is from an old schoolfriend of mine. He’s inherited an estate – not sure I quite get who from – and wants a manager, and he says the job’s mine if I want it. Twice the salary I’m earning now, and a cottage provided.”

“Oh wonderful,” cried all the children together.

“Yes,” said Bob, half to himself, as he tried to realise that their current problems, at least, were over. “I’ll never hear the words ‘greater need’ again.”

Crysanthemums photo credit Ramon F Velasquez no copyright source wikamedia commons
Photo Credit: Ramon F. Velasque; Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Cherry Foster

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Had to” – a linguistic conundrum?

I would suggest that it is worth being cautious about using language that suggests we don’t have a choice when we do

“We had to have an abortion because the baby had Sirenomelia”

“We had to get the train because the last bus had gone”

“We had to give a bribe because otherwise the customs people would have delayed us until our flight had gone”

I don’t see much problem with getting the train instead of the bus. But in every case it seems to me that we mean “we thought it was the sensible/right choice” rather than the “we had no choice” which the words imply, and I think that is cause for concern.

The first case is the one which drew my attention to this problem of language in the first place. I am pro-life in every situation – i.e. I don’t believe it is ever justified to try to end the life of an unborn, for a wide variety of different reasons, the simplest being that under no other circumstances does our normal understanding of human rights allow any attribute other than that of being a living human being to have an impact on someone’s moral status*. But I would distinguish between pro-choice and pro-abortion, the latter being more sinister as it tends to start reducing the positive freedom of the parents, as well as not considering the child.

Pro-choice suggests that the mother should make a more or less arbitrary decision, should act according to her preference whatever that is (I don’t agree with that type of practical reasoning, but it does follow logically from liberal anthropology). There would, in this case, be two cultural maps of how to act in all different types of circumstances, one of which involves having an abortion, and the other of which involves not doing so. “Had to” conveys a pro-abortion norm, because it is not acknowledging the possibility of the other way of acting. Choice is being eroded in this case by a way of thinking and speaking that suggests that choice does not really exist in a particular type of circumstance. “We thought it was the best thing to do,” however much I disagree, is at least a correct description of the decision.

“We had to get the train because the last bus had gone”. While in many ways inaccurate – in fact, you might be able to sit in a doorway all night, you might be able to find a hotel, you might be able to spend the night walking to the next town from which you could get a bus in the morning, this one doesn’t strike me as a particular problem. Getting the train from where you are is the logical option in the ordinary course of day-to-day necessity. This was more my control case than anything else. There isn’t, as far as I can see, any sort of moral issue inherently at stake in taking the train rather than the bus – no question of needing to think about the legitimacy of the action.

I had a long argument with various people about my third example, about “having to give a bribe”, which comes from one of my family doing work in a part of Africa, and people insisting that he “had to” give a bribe because that was how the country worked. I have in this case, no clear answer to the question of whether or not the action is moral or not. I can see why people would feel as foreigners that they shouldn’t challenge a system of that sort in a country where it was a long term tradition. I can also see the problems involved in not refusing. I feel, however, that citing “had to” and continuing “because of this consequence” is problematic.  In such circumstances there is always the choice to suffer the consequence, though it may not be the right thing to do in any particular case. Consider an escalation: “we had to murder three children because otherwise the customs people would have delayed us until our booked flight had gone.” I both think and hope that most people would refuse. Again, as with my first example, I think it is important not to erode the sense of “this is the right decision” with language that implies “I was deprived of the freedom to make a decision”.

So, I would suggest that we could do with being careful about the ways in which we use “have to”. Using it to refer to the need to change every day plans due to some unexpected happening is inaccurate, but probably unimportant. However, using it when some more serious choice is involved does matter, for in eroding our sense of choice, it makes it harder for us to see the thing in question as a real choice, choose rightly, and accept responsibility.

 

Cherry Foster

 

*What’s usually opposed to this “my body, my rights” does not seem to me to be any counter-argument because the child also has a physical body from the moment of conception.

Also, I don’t feel I should disapprove of abortion, however obliquely, without mentioning sources of support for people in the sort of situation where they can’t see another way forward, or who may need human assistance post-abortion. I’m not in a position to vouch for the practical quality of the help offered by any of the following, except that I met one of the Gospel of Life sisters (third link) at a conference and was favourably impressed.

https://standupgirl.com/girl-help/crisis-support/

https://lifecharity.org.uk/

https://gospeloflifesisters.wordpress.com/pregnant-we-can-help-you/

https://cardinalwinningprolifeinitiative.wordpress.com/about-us/howwecanhelp/

https://radiantlight.org.uk/crisis-pregnancy-support-etc/

The fourth link is also academically interesting from the point of view of what I’m saying about our understanding of “choice” in the case of abortion.

Under the Skin – 21 Misleading or Misinterpreted Habits of an INFJ

A somewhat frustrated and “way too honest” account of the geography of the different planet I occupy…

800px-Lenticulariswolke UFO cloud - wikipedia commons, copyright to attribution
Lenticular cloud in shape of a UFO. Source Wikimedia Commons.

Myers-Briggs is pretty controversial, but I think it is useful if you respect it for what it is, and only expect it to do what follows from that. It isn’t hard science and shouldn’t be treated as such: if what’s wanted is a personality typing which measures what job people will do best with the same type of analysis and accuracy as we measure the weight of a mole of carbon, then Myers-Briggs isn’t it – and indeed, I’d argue that we won’t ever come up with any such thing because personality isn’t that sort of concept.

However, if it is a matter of wanting conceptual theories about human difference which help people understand what’s likely to help them function better, or why they find that other person really annoying or insensitive despite the fact they obviously don’t mean to be, I think this type of observation about preference and functionality are helpful. I also find it helpful when it comes to trying to accept my own “raw material” – for example, it makes sense of the oft scorned truth that being “over”-sensitive is part of how God made me and not a moral choice. There are ways it is right for me to respond to that tendency, and ways it would not be right to respond, but the simple fact just is.

More theory on the subject can be found on this site and here.

I am (probably) an INFJ, which is the rarest personality type, combining personality traits that people don’t expect to see in the same person.

Anyone else relate to any of these?

  • I’m impossibly sensitive about asking direct questions.Yes, I’m genuinely worried that if I ask “how are you”, you’ll be offended or upset, or that you’ll actually find it intrusive, overwhelming, or unhelpful. I can see how this could be the case, particularly for people in certain life situations or who do certain types of job. And I really don’t want to make your life more difficult. I fear this often comes across as a complete lack of interest in other people’s lives. Actually, I do want to know (unless I’m being overwhelmed by my own unprocessed emotions at the time). But I find it really scary to ask.
  • I really am both emotional and analytical. Our culture is a bit liable to assume an emotional woman can’t think, or that a woman who thinks is being cynically manipulative in any display of emotion. This isn’t true. The auxiliary and tertiary functions of the INFJ – extraverted feeling and introverted thinking – can be quite close in development, and I’ve spent more time in the realm of the latter than the former.
  • I don’t do eccentric things for the sake of it. I will do anything eccentric if there is a good reason for it, without batting an external eyelid – and being disabled, there is often reason to function in a non-conventional way. And I am an emotional sponge. If you expect me to do something eccentric and don’t give me time to think, I will probably oblige you! But I don’t do eccentric things for the sake of it, and it drives me crazy when people assume I do. I would love to be more conventional. Circumstances didn’t oblige.
  • I can’t move on without sorting out what’s already happened.  If you want to tell me something I’m doing is causing you real problems, and I’m completely oblivious, believe me, I want to know. But it really matters to me that people accept, and say they accept, that I had good reasons for doing what I did, or that there wasn’t any way I could have realised it was causing problems, and that I made a socially conscientious decision. Otherwise it feels like a personal attack. If people don’t spontaneously say they understand my reasoning, then my instinct is to defend it, not because I necessarily disagree about change, but because I’m seeing something different as important.
  • How people talk to me about a decision is often more important than the fact it wasn’t the decision I wanted. Several years ago I was in two very similar situations of rejection. One still hurts me. I was upset about the other at the time, but that was all. The difference? In the one case, I felt I was more or less told not to be silly. In the other case, the person involved acknowledged what an awful position it put me in. Feeling is turned outwards in the INFJ. This means it can be difficult for us to respond to our own emotions unless others empathise.
  • I don’t negotiate in the way people expect. I like creative compromise, i.e. attempting to solve conflicts of need by creating a situation where things can work well enough for everyone, I process things from a lot of different angles quickly, and I care about truthfulness. So I tend to start negotiating from my authentic final position, and come to the table with what I’ve concluded real compromise should look like. From that point I want trade-offs and creative sideways movement if it won’t work, i.e., I expect the further discussion to be “that won’t work for us, but if we did this, would it work for you?” to which I might say “yes, that sounds good,” or “no, but the problem with that is X, so if you could do Y too” and so on
  • When negotiating, I don’t respond well to people expecting more concessions than I initially offered, rather than offering trade-offs. I find people demanding movement on what I say I need and trying to beat more concessions out of me very hostile. It feels to me like an accusation of insincerity, in that it implies the position I’ve brought to the table is false. And I tend to read it as meaning both that you think I’m being selfish (in demanding more than I really need) and that you’re actually being selfish (because you don’t seem to have any interest making sure my needs are met too)*. Moreover, though I’m quite capable of being randomly selfish, I usually feel other people’s emotions more keenly than my own, with the result that I often offer too much, more than I can really afford to give unless something is given back. At its worst, this clash of negotiation-styles leads to my being horribly hurt by a situation where I am trying to give in a way I can’t really cope with, while the others involved are furious with me because they think I’m refusing to compromise, due to the fact that they are not seeing the type of movement they expect.
  • I don’t state my position over-emphatically because I can’t see other people’s point of view, but because I can see it too easily. I don’t find it easy to cope emotionally with the internal conflict and sense of detachment from my own beliefs, values, and needs that creates.
  • Despite my value for authenticity, I have a tendency to unconscious role-playing. It drives me crazy that if someone starts acting as if they think I’m completely blind, I tend to start acting as if I was completely blind. Sometimes you have to be practical about the fact that it is more important just to get around the man-hole cover or whatever, than to explain the mistake. And sometimes it is a defensive reaction to the risk of being insulted as a malingerer, which sadly is still quite common in our society. But more often than not, it is an “emotional sponge” reaction. This is what people expect to see, think they are experiencing, and I play up to it automatically, without any sort of conscious thought being involved. INFJs tend to be more attuned to others emotions and experience than to their own – and this sort of thing is the result. It isn’t deliberate but it can create a lot of confusion about our real experience.
  • I find it extremely difficult to ask for help, even when I desperately need to – and I generally feel people are judging me for being selfish when I do. I’ve no idea how often that is real, or how often it is just a projection onto others of how I feel about asking for help. But one of the reasons that I find it so difficult to function within the church is that it is organised such that you have to demand people’s time and attention quite hard. In reality, people don’t all find that equally easy. I get really stressed and upset by needing to demand help and create conflict, and make things difficult for people, and I don’t think it is usually obvious to others that this is what is going on. Situations where I will ask for help freely are usually ones where I see others’ welfare as also being at stake, and even then I tend to get very stressed by any resulting conflict.
  • I usually get as upset by the abstractions/wider implications of an issue, as I do by the issue itself. I find this very hard to communicate to those who don’t. There’s a difference of magnitude between being upset “because the King has been shot” – what’s immediately happening – and being upset “because the King has been shot and there will probably be a massive breakdown of law and order and another world war”. If I get upset about implications or connections that others don’t see, it generally bewilders people. Sometimes I’m right and sometimes I’m not. But people often seem to assume I’m upset for a reason other than the real one, and assume I’m overreacting because they don’t understand what I’m reacting to.
  • I find new information difficult because what is written on the page is only the tip of the iceberg for me. When someone suggests to me that a particular significant verse in the Bible should be interpreted in a different way, I tend to be aware that this would have effects on the refutation of the gnostic heresy, that it might mean that what’s said in such and such a hymn is inaccurate, that it has possible implications for the doctrine of double effect, may be in disagreement with the idea of calling Mary “the Mother of God”, and could offer a particular opening to Theravada Buddhist philosophy against the Christian metaphysical system. Because this is coming from a dominant function of intuition rather than being conscious thinking, I tend to become really troubled over new things until I’ve managed to explore all the implications, articulate them in actual words, and have decided for certain it won’t require me to change my overall world view significantly. It’s wearing at the best of times, and can be really distressing.
  • I find it difficult to explain things because I see too many complexities at once. So I over qualify and use too many words, and it is just confusing.
  • I find it difficult to explain things because my mind makes connections in an unusual way, and I can’t follow which connections other people make as well and which they find confusing. So I tend to either talk down to people, or completely lose them, both of which people quite justifiably find annoying. Or I say weird things because I don’t realise others don’t see the connections.
  • I over-explain not because I think you haven’t got it, but because I think I haven’t. I don’t understand things until I’ve articulated them properly. And though I am generally articulate, it doesn’t feel like it from the inside. From inside, language seems completely inadequate. And I’d like to express what I’m trying to say perfectly, not merely adequately.
  • I often sound as if I’m disagreeing not because I actually do, but because I’m trying to explore an implication or modifier, or the possible contrary arguments, or because I think the issue is more complicated than it is being stated to be. This may be more typical of those who are dominant thinkers, but I suppose there is a lot of natural variation as to when the tertiary function comes into play.
  • If I ask a question, it’s usually because I wanted to know the answer. I think in structures. I hate things that don’t make sense. I am also aware that things often make sense if you can follow through the thinking behind them, even if it is very different from yours. I am not challenging authority or telling you what you did was stupid when I ask questions. I want to know the answer. If I think it’s stupid, then I will usually tell you directly – or go off and stew for ever in silence if that is impossibly inappropriate. But a question is a question, i.e. it represents a desire for an answer! Within reason, I can live with things I don’t agree with. I can’t live with things that don’t make sense.
  • I act better in a group if I have a clearly defined role and understand the roles of others. I tend to identify closely with the role I’m supposed to have, and I tend to feel very stressed if I don’t know what it is. I liked netball at school, because each person has a specific thing to do, and has to stick to it. I could play most positions happily. But I don’t get well on with games, or in social situations, where the role isn’t a given and you have to work it out for yourself. Or if other people are technically supposed to have defined roles, and don’t play them, I struggle.
  • I’m sensitive to what other people are feeling, but I’m not at all sensitive to why. I absorb emotions, sponge like, but partly because most people don’t process things in the same way, I don’t tend to follow what’s going on for them unless they actually tell me.
  • Telling me other people are unhappy or suffering is not usually a good way of comforting me. I appreciate that it is usually meant well, in that people are trying to reassure someone that it is normal to be upset or something like that. But what I tend to find is that such comments result in an extra emotional load of suffering (from empathy) and therefore a sense of utter hopelessness.
  • I need emotional support to flourish, but I’m not good at seeking it. I find talking about anything I feel strongly difficult, though I’ve learned to do it to a certain extent over the years. The result is that I tend to speak very freely about medium strength emotion, while hiding the things I am actually in agony over when possible. When isolated, I tend to be all or nothing – either becoming unhealthily obsessed with an emotion, or supressing it completely. The outwardly turned feeling function of an INFJ tends to lead to a situation where I find it difficult to respond to my own emotions “normally” until they are articulated and reflected back to me by other people empathising. Also, because if I am hurt I tend to be very hurt and for ever, it is hard to let people in. It can be difficult to indicate to others what is needed simply because comprehension of my own feelings is less developed than it might be.

 

 

 

 

Cherry Foster

 

*I appreciate that this is not in fact the case: it depends how you process things. Though people do sometimes bring cynical false positions, people may also work out their real position by negotiating rather than pre-negotiation. I’ve no idea how this difference in approach can be dealt with.

Against Idolatry; In Favour of Images

Holy House
The Holy House in the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Inside the arch, though not very clear, is a statue of the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus on her knee; the painted images on the altarpiece are: The Annunciation (left), the visitation (right), and the Adoration of the Magi (centre). Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

 

I wonder if being accused of idolatry in some context or the other is a necessary rite of passage for an Anglo-Catholic? 

I do in fact believe idolatry to be completely and utterly wrong, contrary to God’s order and the dignity of our being.

However, I would define idolatry as worshiping a creature as if it were God, or otherwise behaving as if a creature was God, not as making an image (1) in itself, or venerating it in the course of worship (2), and I freely use images in my worship and join in with worship that uses images, not because I think idolatry is in any way justifiable, but because do not believe these practices to be idolatry.

I do not think making or using images is explicitly forbidden in scripture, as being in its inherent nature idolatry. (If I did think it was forbidden in scripture, I wouldn’t do it). Consider Moses and the brass serpent. God tells Moses to make the image. God tells the Israelites to look to it for healing (3). It is then, later, broken when people are (supposed to be?) actually worshiping it (4). So the making of an image and the using it to seek God’s healing is in scripture as a direct command of God. Images of the cherubim are put on the ark of the covenant (5), images of pomegranates around the high priest’s robe (6), images of oxen hold up the “molten sea” in the temple (7). In the Old Testament, it is forbidden to make images because no form was seen on the day that God spoke (8). In the New Testament, we have Christ as the visible image of the invisible God; i.e. now God has shown himself in a visible form (9); by the same logic, picturing this form would be legitimate. The issue of images in scripture isn’t simple. Certainly, what Scripture says about using images in worship cannot be reduced to a blank citing of the second commandment and Deuteronomy 4.

While this is a defence of having Christian images in itself, it is not a defence of using them in any particular way. If a ritual action is intended to convey worship of anything other than God, it is idolatry, even if the thing worshipped is completely innocent. But it is worth thinking widely about ritual actions in a variety of contexts before deciding that an action is intended to convey worship, or that it implies confusion between the image and the thing itself. Consider the Prince of Wales kneeling before his mother to make an oath, soldiers saluting their flag, an annoyed child burning their teacher in effigy, a boyfriend kissing a photo of his absent girlfriend. Is any of this rightly considered an act of worship? I would confidently answer “no”. None of it is worshiping the creature as if it was the creator.

I as confidently answer “no” of putting candles or flowers or sweets down before an image of a Saint for whom I have considerable and correct (our Lord bade us love one another) affection. I believe that the question in such cases rests in what is in people’s hearts and minds. I have every sympathy with anyone who says “I don’t think I should do this because I think it will lead me into idolatry”. If it is a temptation for anyone to confuse the image with the substance, then I think they are quite right not to venerate it, and quite right for other Christians to respect that.

In the case of the last three ritual actions I cited – the ones where an image or a symbol is involved – the soldiers saluting the flag, an annoyed child burning their teacher in effigy, a boyfriend kissing a photo of his absent girlfriend – there is extremely unlikely to be any confusion between the image and the person or thing represented by the image. The soldiers know the flag isn’t actually their nation or head of state. The child doesn’t actually think they are burning the teacher to death! We who scatter flowers before the Walsingham image of the Virgin Mary and the Infant Jesus know perfectly well that it is a representation – or at least, if I thought others didn’t also know that, I would not myself take part.

I am aware of the warnings and I keep a watch on my heart and mind to be careful that I am not slipping into anything illegitimate. However, I think in modern times non-ritual idolatry is more of a threat. We are far, far less likely to make an idolatry of images used in religious contexts – images we know are wood and paint representations – than of money, sex, luxury or success (10). In a world where we are bombarded with images of considerable emotional power, often for the sake merely of manipulation, there is a lot to be said for challenging this in its own language – by making and using images of what is good. This would not be a reason to make or use images in worship if it was forbidden – not at all – it is sensible to trust that if God says “don’t” it is for our good. However, as I don’t think it is forbidden, I also don’t think it is a matter of mere indifference, in that there can be very positive advantages to using images to communicate.

Overall, I think it is right that I should use images as aids to the devotion and seeking for grace which lead me towards God and away from sin. I wouldn’t challenge anyone else’s preference not to. I do not worship such images and would consider doing so very wrong – indeed, much of their assistance for me rests on my consciousness of their inadequacy.

Cherry Foster

 

  1. I use “image” throughout to mean a made representation intended to picture something other than it is, whether 3-dimensional or 2-dimensional. Idolatry in the sense of focusing conscious worship on an entity other than God does not require an actual image: one could, for instance, worship an unshaped stone, but as this post is intended as an explanation of the what/why of venerating images, this is not really important.
  2. C.f. 1994 Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church. (As an Anglican I respect this Catechism as a theological document rather than regarding it as having authority). This post was partly inspired by a (civilised and very interesting) conversation I had with a protester against the National Pilgrimage to Walsingham, and the leaflet by Richard Bennett I was handed on that occasion.  While I appreciate the difficulties of summarising, I think he tends to misrepresent somewhat in quoting those passages which disagree with his view, and not those which qualify them into something much closer to it. (For example, he quotes CCC para. 2131 and the beginning of 2132, in favour of the notion that the Roman Catholic Church believes in idolatry, and not the end of 2132 or 2113 which firmly refuse it). The Catechism 2110-2132 is generally relevant to what I’m saying, and uses many of the same arguments, though it was not my primary source for most of them.
  3. Numbers 21:4-9.
  4. 2 Kings 18:4.  Precisely what is going on in this passage or with these reforms puzzles me considerably, as does most of the theology of the books of Kings.
  5. Exodus 25:18-20
  6. Exodus 28:33-34
  7. 1 Kings 7:20. 1 Kings 7 also mentions other images among the decorations of the Temple.
  8. Deuteronomy 4:15-20
  9. Colossians 1:15
  10. C.f. Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5; in both cases it is specifically greed that is identified with idolatry.