I traded e-mails with someone who extols the scientific method. He favors evolution. I favor creation.
We both liked the result. Did I mind if he posted the exchange on his website? No, I did not; it’s two different views expressed clearly and with mutual respect. I positively like this fellow, and may post the exchange myself, someday when I am too lazy to think up anything new.
Take a look at his site, he said. Did I approve? Well….yes….but…
For the sake of art, he used a symbol to represent himself and one to represent me. He, the man of science, grabbed the double helix. But I got stuck with the cross!
Jehovah’s Witnesses are perhaps unique among faiths (even including non-Christian) in disputing that Jesus died on a cross.
When you read “cross” in the New Testament, it is translated from one of two Greek words: stauros or xylon. Find the meanings of those two words, and you have the meaning of “cross.”
Neither refers to an upright beam with crosspiece. Stauros later came to mean beam with a crosspiece, but in the apostles day, it meant an upright stake, or piling. Xylon means timber, beam, post, stake, even tree, what have you, but not cross. The King James Bible translates xylon as follows:
The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Acts 5:30
Also, Jesus death is a fullfillment of prophesy, as is seen at Gal 3:13: (New Testament)
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
And where is it written? Deuteronomy 21:22,23: (Old testament, 1500+ years prior to Galations, long before there was any Roman empire)
And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
So, if you wanted to make the case that Jesus died on a cross, you wouldn't be able to do it from scripture.
If you rank all of our beliefs on a scale, this one won’t rank too high. It is a detail. There’s no sense in not getting it right, but it’s not an essential element of faith. Either way, Christ’s death accomplished what it accomplished.
But it is a little odd, isn’t it, this cross fetish? Suppose, for instance, that Jesus was run over by a truck. Would devotees wear tiny Mack truck amulets around their necks?
So, will the science person change my symbol? I hope not. And I doubt it. What would he change it to? An upright post would look ridiculous. Even more so my profile picture. And the tetragrammaton would be presumptuous. That, I don’t think, I would like at all.
The shape of the [two-beamed cross] had it origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd cent. A. D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical systems pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ. - An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (London, 1962), W. E. Vine, p. 256.