Poll

IN YOUR OPINION: Does the way many people treat national symbols and flags fit the definition of "worship"

Yes
16 (72.7%)
No
6 (27.3%)

Total Members Voted: 22

Author Topic: Are national flags "worshiped"?  (Read 313 times)

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Offline jammindude

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Are national flags "worshiped"?
« on: September 24, 2017, 05:24:03 PM »
Just curious what people think.   There is no wrong answer.

But before ANY of you vote, you must check your preconceptions at the door, read *ALL 10* of the dictionary definitions for the word "worship", and then make up your own mind. 

Definition is here:

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/worship?s=t
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Offline Adami

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2017, 05:52:49 PM »
A sometimes option would be good.
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Offline jammindude

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2017, 05:54:57 PM »
"many" instead of "all" is the qualifier that I believes includes the caveat you are seeking.   "Sometimes" IMO is implied in that it's obviously not going to be everybody.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 06:03:52 PM by jammindude »
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Offline Adami

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2017, 05:57:11 PM »
Well then yes.
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Offline Dave_Manchester

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2017, 06:17:25 PM »
One of the definitions on that dictionary page is 'an adoring regard for someone or something', which I guess would cover the emotion some people feel when they see a certain flag (but then again that definition is so broad as to define my feelings for my wife, cats, music, and a million other things as 'worship').

In the sense I usually use that word, i.e. in reference to holy or consecrated objects, I suppose only very few people can be said to 'worship' the flags whose histories I'm familiar with (I mention that because for all I know, some flags in some cultures may well actually be sacred symbols). I know a couple of older folk who have profound reactions to the old Soviet flag, but they're an extreme exception in my experience.

By those dictionary definitions it's possible to say some people 'worship' flags, but by my own personal understanding of the word, I wouldn't say so. Worship to me is a spiritual/religious action, and very distinct from nationalism. If someone adores a flag, I imagine it's a much more basic and tribal action than proper worship.

Offline jammindude

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2017, 06:35:15 PM »
One of the definitions on that dictionary page is 'an adoring regard for someone or something', which I guess would cover the emotion some people feel when they see a certain flag (but then again that definition is so broad as to define my feelings for my wife, cats, music, and a million other things as 'worship').

In the sense I usually use that word, i.e. in reference to holy or consecrated objects, I suppose only very few people can be said to 'worship' the flags whose histories I'm familiar with (I mention that because for all I know, some flags in some cultures may well actually be sacred symbols). I know a couple of older folk who have profound reactions to the old Soviet flag, but they're an extreme exception in my experience.

By those dictionary definitions it's possible to say some people 'worship' flags, but by my own personal understanding of the word, I wouldn't say so. Worship to me is a spiritual/religious action, and very distinct from nationalism. If someone adores a flag, I imagine it's a much more basic and tribal action than proper worship.

EXCELLENT comment.   

My only question to this would be.   Is there a difference between the veneration of a deity, and the veneration of a homeland?   Aren't many of the rituals extremely similar?    The fact that it's "tribal" doesn't negate the idea that nationalism is a form of "religion"....  People die for its principles (often times without even questioning....which would be viewed by many as "sacrilege"), go through rituals to venerate it, follow its guidelines (again...often without question).   So what is the difference? 
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Offline Dave_Manchester

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2017, 07:07:43 PM »
Well I should probably say that I'm not at all qualified to give an answer to that, because I'm not a religious person and I don't know what it feels like to worship in the spiritual sense. But my assumption is that religious worship (I called it 'proper worship' in my first post, to distinguish it from the mere observation of rituals) is not an ego-based thing, whereas nationalism fundamentally is. When a nationalist idolizes a flag, they feel pride first and foremost in themselves (justifiably or not is a separate issue).

It's difficult to define exactly, but I think of worship to be a kind of very deep personal contemplation, using 'symbols' (crosses, icons, relics, etc) as 'prompts', or 'reminders' of tenets. My wife (Russian Orthodox) goes to church every Sunday and lights a candle beneath whichever icon has the relevant saint for that date or prayer. She tells me that the initial ritual (the covering of her head, the lighting of the candle, and the crossing of herself) is only preparation. That part is not the 'actual worship'. The 'worship' comes immediately after, when she stands for a while in silence, alone, and contemplates (she would say she 'communicates with God' at those moments, and it's not my place to doubt that's what she does). What she does is, in my opinion, a very different kind of thing to what nationalists do when they 'worship' a flag. Again, I can be wrong, because I have no personal experience of worshipping either a flag or a deity. But to me, the things you mentioned in your post are more the 'ritual' side of things, and not so much spiritual. I guess the simplest way to sum up my point is that there doesn't seem to be any spiritual depth to idolizing a flag, and for me that's a necessary component of what I think of as 'worship'. You're probably aware of C.S.Lewis' religious books, and he uses the concept of 'numinous awe' when he writes about worship. I don't think a flag can inspire that, except in very uncommon cases.

Offline bosk1

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2017, 08:50:19 AM »
I tend to agree with Dave Manchester.  If we apply a very loose definition of "worship," then of course the answer is "yes."  But Jammin, you have been around here long enough that I think I can read between the lines and see that you are more aimed at the Biblical idea of "worship," and not the modern English definition of the word, which are two different (and in some cases, mutually exclusive) ideas.  Words that were common in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek often have a much more narrow and specific meaning when used in context toward God in the Bible.  There is a big difference between, on one hand, holding something as sacred, holy, or sanctified in the sense of worshipping God or an idol--vs. venerating or holding something in high respect in a secular sense.  There is no spiritual component to the latter.  The type of adoration or veneration is different, qualitatively.  And I think (and this is where I venture into the realm of my own personal opinion) that distinction is why worship of idols is condemned throughout both the Old and New Testaments, whereas both are essentially silent on the idea of venerating one's country, flag, etc.
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Online kingshmegland

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2017, 01:46:31 PM »
I think the work "Symbolic" fits the description of the flag better.
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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2017, 04:19:23 PM »
I say yes. People feel so proudly for their belief in the values of the country, they're willing to die for it. People will die for anything they whole heartedly believe in. Which I see is worship.

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Offline Stadler

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2017, 08:07:42 AM »
I say yes. People feel so proudly for their belief in the values of the country, they're willing to die for it. People will die for anything they whole heartedly believe in. Which I see is worship.

But is that the FLAG or the COUNTRY?   They are not the same thing.  I got into this discussion with my dad last night (he's 78, ex-Army, and so "these punks are pissing on the sacrifices of the real men who came before them"). 

Some of this is complicated, and laced with nuance (and not a little bit of hypocrisy).    I believe in god, but was I offended at, say, the Exorcist, when Linda Blair impaled herself on the cross?   No, because they clearly weren't imbuing the cross with the same meaning as, say, someone worshiping their god at an altar decorated accordingly.   (it was also "art", intending to make a larger point unrelated to the actual worship of god or a god).   

I don't know if "believe in" her is the same thing, but I would die for my daughter (I hope) if it came down to a stark choice.  I wouldn't say I "worship" her. 

Offline jammindude

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2017, 10:02:47 AM »
I say yes. People feel so proudly for their belief in the values of the country, they're willing to die for it. People will die for anything they whole heartedly believe in. Which I see is worship.

But is that the FLAG or the COUNTRY?   They are not the same thing.  I got into this discussion with my dad last night (he's 78, ex-Army, and so "these punks are pissing on the sacrifices of the real men who came before them"). 

Some of this is complicated, and laced with nuance (and not a little bit of hypocrisy).    I believe in god, but was I offended at, say, the Exorcist, when Linda Blair impaled herself on the cross?   No, because they clearly weren't imbuing the cross with the same meaning as, say, someone worshiping their god at an altar decorated accordingly.   (it was also "art", intending to make a larger point unrelated to the actual worship of god or a god).   

I don't know if "believe in" her is the same thing, but I would die for my daughter (I hope) if it came down to a stark choice.  I wouldn't say I "worship" her.

Another great post.

It seems to me....as others have hinted...that nationalism is the "religion" and a flag would be the icon or symbol of that religion.
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Offline Chino

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2017, 10:17:45 AM »
I say yes. People feel so proudly for their belief in the values of the country, they're willing to die for it. People will die for anything they whole heartedly believe in. Which I see is worship.

But is that the FLAG or the COUNTRY?   They are not the same thing.  I got into this discussion with my dad last night (he's 78, ex-Army, and so "these punks are pissing on the sacrifices of the real men who came before them"). 

Some of this is complicated, and laced with nuance (and not a little bit of hypocrisy).    I believe in god, but was I offended at, say, the Exorcist, when Linda Blair impaled herself on the cross?   No, because they clearly weren't imbuing the cross with the same meaning as, say, someone worshiping their god at an altar decorated accordingly.   (it was also "art", intending to make a larger point unrelated to the actual worship of god or a god).   

I don't know if "believe in" her is the same thing, but I would die for my daughter (I hope) if it came down to a stark choice.  I wouldn't say I "worship" her.

Good post. Made me think of this shirt (saw about 12 of them at the Milford Oyster Fest.



Would the above be categorized as flag worshipping, or is it worshipping what the flag stands for? If someone was truly be willing to beat you down because you stepped on a flag, I think I'd lean toward considering that worship.

Offline Tick

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2017, 12:00:02 PM »
I don't worship the flag but I honor and respect it.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: Are national flags "worshiped"?
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2017, 01:05:57 PM »
I say yes. People feel so proudly for their belief in the values of the country, they're willing to die for it. People will die for anything they whole heartedly believe in. Which I see is worship.

But is that the FLAG or the COUNTRY?   They are not the same thing.  I got into this discussion with my dad last night (he's 78, ex-Army, and so "these punks are pissing on the sacrifices of the real men who came before them"). 

Some of this is complicated, and laced with nuance (and not a little bit of hypocrisy).    I believe in god, but was I offended at, say, the Exorcist, when Linda Blair impaled herself on the cross?   No, because they clearly weren't imbuing the cross with the same meaning as, say, someone worshiping their god at an altar decorated accordingly.   (it was also "art", intending to make a larger point unrelated to the actual worship of god or a god).   

I don't know if "believe in" her is the same thing, but I would die for my daughter (I hope) if it came down to a stark choice.  I wouldn't say I "worship" her.

Good post. Made me think of this shirt (saw about 12 of them at the Milford Oyster Fest.



Would the above be categorized as flag worshipping, or is it worshipping what the flag stands for? If someone was truly be willing to beat you down because you stepped on a flag, I think I'd lean toward considering that worship.

I don't think that is either.  I reserve the right to think harder about this, but at first blush, the idea of wearing that shirt, to me, has way less to do with patriotism or nationalism or worship, and more to do with the personal psyche of the person wearing it.   I don't know if "insecurity" is the right word, but I've got a round of beers that says that's also the guy that punches someone for being a "fag" too.   I'd be really careful about using any one person to serve as the model of the general whole.