Cameras
Tape Recorders
Article bQ

     Some Christians largely disallow cameras and to some extent do not allow photographs.  Yet concerning many such Christians, their book shelves and magazine racks yet are full of books, news papers, and magazines that are full of interesting photos that they very much enjoy and which photos are a quite vital part of their lives.  They buy greeting cards and post cards for their friends with much interest in the photos thereon.  They freely use photos in their schools as they educate their children, and freely use photos as they shop for products in catalogues.  They also very much need and use photos as are provided in owners manuals, as they learn how to use an appliance or how to repair it.  Truly photos are a quite important part of their lives even though they do not take photos themselves and to some extent confess they do not believe in photos.       bQ-1
     One should remember that photos do not only help create interesting magazines, but also have a very important place in educative literature and in informative manuals of all kinds.  Considering these things it is quite clear that cameras and photos in themselves are not evil.  Cameras are simply an automatic drawing or painting tool that can paint a perfect picture of whatever it is focused upon.  Cameras can be a very valuable tool.  Photos of beautiful mountains, sunsets, flowers, and rivers can nicely reveal the wonders of God's creation, and often are displayed for enjoyment and wonder, even by those who largely do not allow the use of cameras.  Although photos like anything else can be very misused, photos yet clearly can do much good.       bQ-2
     Some or many who are opposed to photography, began their opposition to it on the bases of believing it to be wrong to make likenesses of anything in heaven and earth.  It is true that several Scriptures which especially pertain to forbidding idolatry, particularly disallow the making of likenesses of any thing in heaven and earth.  Following are several such verses;        bQ-3
     (Exo 20:4)  "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:"      bQ-4
     (Deu 4:16-18&23&25)  "Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, {17} The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, {18} The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: {23} Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. {25} When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:"      bQ-5
     (Deu 5:8)  "Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:"      bQ-6
     Note how the above verses all disallow the making of likeness together with disallowing images and idol worship.  Although God in the above Scriptures very much disallowed the making of likenesses to be used in idol worship, considering all Scriptures it is clear that God by these laws did not mean likeness of things dared not be made for good or practical purposes.       bQ-7
     God allowed many likenesses of things in heaven and earth, in and around the Tabernacle of Moses and Temple of Solomon.  These likenesses of things were made by carving likenesses on walls, by embroidering likenesses of Cherubims on cloth, and by making a perfect likeness of the item through molding or engraving it.  God particularly commanded the builders of the Tabernacle to have these type of likenesses included in the Tabernacle and it's related things.  Not only did the religious things of the Tabernacle and Temple have many likeness included in their construction, the miscellaneous things that Solomon made for himself had likeness of things included in their construction.       bQ-8
     The Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant had likeness of Angels (Cherubims) attached to the top of it (Ex 25:18-20).  The Candlestick had likenesses of almonds and flowers included in it's construction (Ex 25:33-34).  The vail in the Tabernacle was to have Cherubims included in it's construction (Ex 26:31).  The ark of burnt offering, and the alter of incense had horns attached to the top of them, where upon blood was to be poured as to satisfy God's law and wrath, which horns likely were likeness of an animals horns (Ex 27:1-2, 30:1-3).  The Holy Robe of the High Priest was to have likenesses of  pomegranates hanging around the base of it (Ex 28:31-35)        bQ-9
     Concerning the Temple which Solomon made as a replacement for the Tabernacle, many carvings of Cherubims, palm trees, and open flowers were done on the walls (1 Ki 6:18&29-35).  The famous brass pillars that Solomon made had hundreds of pomegranates attached around the top of them (1 Ki 7:15-21).  The brazen sea for the Priests to wash in had twelve molten or engraven oxen supporting it, three looking each way, while the brim had likeness of lilies and flowers included. (1 Ki 7:25-36).  The ten bases Solomon made to hold the lavers had likenesses of lions, oxen, palm trees, and cherubims, graven on them (1 Ki 7:29&36).  The throne that Solomon made for himself had 12 molten or engraved lions before it (1 King 10:20).       bQ-10
     Considering all the above it becomes clear that God allowed the making of likenesses of things in heaven and earth, if not for idol worship.  Considering these things how then can photography be disallowed on the bases of it being wrong to make likenesses of things in heaven and earth?  Note technically if it were wrong to make a likeness of any thing in heaven or earth, it would  be wrong to draw a map, as a map is a particular likeness of the earth and it's various features, such as rivers, mountains, roads etc.  If it actually were evil to make any likeness of things in heaven and earth, children should not even draw a simple tree or person or anything that we can see, because they by drawing are making a likeness of things in the earth!      bQ-11
     It is true that photographs can be misused, instigate needless expense, can promote pride, etc.  Yet such is true with most anything that one might buy.  To properly judge the camera one dare not only look at the possible misuses but must also consider the lawful and even important things cameras can do.         bQ-12
     Photographs of ourselves or our friends can make it very real to us how we take on a very permanent change as the years go by.  In looking at photos it is sobering to see how we and our friends appeared 15 years ago as compared to how we now appear.  Photos vividly show us how we are simply getting older and heading for the end of our lives.  Such is how it impressed the writer in looking at photos that were taken numerous years ago.       bQ-13
     Photographs of people can be very helpful in learning to know people, and remembering who is who.  Photographs of people can be a great safety if a person gets lost, since seekers of the lost person can be shown what the person looks like which they are to search for.  It obviously is interesting to see how one looked many years ago.  It obviously is also nice to take photos of particular things that one might see in traveling.  At times such photos can be reasonably important.  Many who dare not take pictures in traveling then might spend a lot of time trying to find a post card that sort of shows what things they have seen in traveling.  As said before many who do not have cameras and do not take photos themselves, yet have photos all around them which they use for many purposes and enjoy observing .       bQ-14
     Photographs of things can be very helpful in instructing, in educating, in building, in planning, in remembering, in buying, in selling, in comparing, in deciding.  Photos or paintings are very useful in teaching Bible History.  Even the printed page in one respect is photography as it contains a picture of many letters in the alphabet and contains information that one could not other wise remember.  In comparing the printed page with the photograph, it has been said one picture is worth a 1000 words.  Often times, regardless of how many words are used, words simply cannot replace or do what a picture can do.  Seeing photos can help prepare one for what might lie ahead, in a far away land he might be planning to go to.  Photos can help prepare one for any work he planning to become involved in.  Photos can be very useful and important.  Some who might condemn photos on the basis that they are a needless expense, likely spend their money on things of much less importance.       bQ-15
     It should be considered that God has given some people the ability to paint any particular thing they might see, and even to paint people so they can easily be recognized!  One should consider that a camera in reality is an automatic painting or drawing tool, which tool could be nicely called an auto painter or auto drawer.  Although photos can be taken needlessly and foolishly, photos can be quite useful and important.      bQ-16
     One should consider that the laws the Apostles placed upon the Gentile Christians were only very basic laws, such as to abstain from idols, from things strangled, from blood, and from fornication.  Would the Apostles have burdened the Gentile Christians with the many quite obscure laws which many conservative Churches burden their people with in our day?       bQ-17
     Concerning the tape recorder various conservative Christian groups disallow the tape recorder.  One Christian group in dealing with the recorder, in 1950 made a rule against the recorder, simply writing it is inconsistent to Christian welfare with no other reasons or Scriptures given.  Six years later in 1956 the recorder again was considered by the same group and the earlier statement confirmed.  Three years later in 1959 the recorder again was considered and now was decided it's usefulness with regards to language study etc, should be studied.  Then three years later in 1962 when it was brought up again it was decided that the original decision should be reconfirmed which states that the recorder is inconsistent to Christian welfare.  Often times when groups make a particular rule after that rule is made and established it continues on and on, and possibly for a quite minimal reason.       bQ-18
     This group neither gave any special permission to use recorders for listening to the Bible.  Yet they do allow the use of artificial voices as come out of speakers such as while they use the telephone.  They now also freely allow the use of recorders as in answering machines for telephones.  Yet these spend much time, money, and effort on language study for their mission efforts while the powerful tool of the recorder is counted to be against Christian warfare.  Are such the type of laws the Apostles would have placed upon the believing Gentile Christians?  Or might such laws be the type of laws the erring Scribes and Pharisees placed upon their people?  To often Christians get stuck in the mud or bog of man's tradition and can't get out.       bQ-19
     The tape recorder records data audibly or vocally, while paper and ink records data with written (photographic) words.  The main difference between the written message and the recorded message is that the recorder can include musical tunes and the expression of the speaker, while the written message cannot.  One should consider that with the recorder one has complete control of what he listens to, just as much as one has control of what he reads.  One should consider that although the recorder can be misused, books can also be misused.  One should consider the recorder like a book can be very useful in study and education as well as simply storing speeches or conversations for later listening.  The recorder which some Christians consider to be against christian welfare, has been used by other Christians as a means to spread the Gospel and likely many have found the truth and salvation through it's use.      bQ-20
     Yet concerning some items such and TV and radio where one has little control of what he hears or sees, it might be somewhat like looking through a garbage can to find something good, and the garbage he must see and hear in searching for something good might do him more harm than the little good he finds helps him.  Why not look for the good where it abounds rather than through the garbage?  Recorders are not a garbage can, because with recorders one can easily control what he listens too.  May God help us to judge righteous judgment in these and all things.  Farewell.       bQ-21
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