In defense of praying with images

Abstract
The paper argues for a notion of religion that is based on a strong human sense for symbols. Symbols are the natural milieu for religion. I distinguish symbolsfrom signs through the fact that the symbol brings together the elements kept separate in the sign. A symbol does contain something of the force of the realitywhich it represents. With this approach we can look at fides quaerens intellectum in a new light. Moreover, religious images and icons can gain from understanding religion as a symbolic practice. The paper argues that the theological debate on the religious value of icons should not be focused on the tension between the visibility and the invisibility of the divine. Against Marion I argue that touching, rather than seeing, is the core of religious images. People kiss and caress icons. Examples from ordinary life are adduced to illustrate this understanding
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