human-made object that is venerated for the deity, spirit or daemon that it represents

An idol is a religious item that represents a god. It can also mean someone who is admired by many people, like a pop idol. Idolatry refers to the worship of idols.

Christians disagree about what idolatry is. Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy see Christian art and icons as good, because they see Christ's Incarnation as having made images of God lawful. [1] However many Protestants regard much Catholic art as idolatry.[2]

This is due to differences in the understanding of the Ten Commandments. "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." (RSV Exodus 20:3-6)

Islamic art is often based on Geometric abstraction or calligraphy to avoid idolatry, but Jewish art is somewhat broader.[3] Hindus have murtis, a term often translated as "idols".


  1. "Catechism of the Catholic Church". The Holy See. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  2. "Christian Assemblies International". CAI. Archived from the original on 2013-07-04. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  3. "Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Brockman on Jewish Art". My Jewish Learning.[permanent dead link]