Invalidating Idols

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Notes from the Underground, and “Appendix: The Spiritual Emptiness of Our Time and the Meeting with the Living God” all comment on the idea of believing in idols, which is comparable to being superstitious. Notes from the Underground and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner both view believing in idols with distaste, therefore they agree with “Appendix: The Spiritual Emptiness of Our Time and the Meeting with the Living God.” In The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, shipmates cry out against the ancient Mariner for killing the bird they gave meaning to in the form of good luck. Nevertheless, when the fog cleared, they change their minds and claim that the bird instead symbolized bad luck. The shipmates who yelled at the death of the bird said, “ ‘Twas right.. such birds to slay, that bring the fog a mist” (Coleridge, 101-102). Thus, within a few lines the men completely switched the meaning of their idol, alluding to the lack of importance given to idols themselves in the poem. In addition, when trouble came again, the bird returned again as a symbol for good luck that was killed. This corresponds to a scene in Notes from the Underground when the narrator proclaims,  “But man is so partial to systems and abstract conclusions that he is ready intentionally to distort the truth, to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear, only so as to justify his logic” (Dostoevsky, 23). Therefore, it is clear that idols are abstract conclusions, and the narrator despises giving meaning to meaningless objects. A bird is a natural creature, flying creature, winged creature. * It is not representative of good luck. 

All in all, this is corroborated by “Appendix: The Spiritual Emptiness of Our Time and the Meeting with the Living God” written by S.L. Frank. In this piece of spiritual work, Frank completely invalidates the idea of believing in idols. He claims that after following his ways, “all these idols [should] have lost their enchantment and cannot attract our souls, no matter how many people around us continue to worship them” (Frank, 115). Frank also writes that the temptation to give into superstitious beliefs should be quick, as it is “easily exposed as falsehood; only the most naïve and inexperienced souls can, for a time, succumb to it” (Frank, 116). However, one who values idols might remark that giving meaning to say a bird, does not do any harm. In a sense, this is true. However, superstitious beliefs stray away from solid reasoning and all that is Divine. In addition, believing in idols is a gateway to more serious evil belief systems. Solid reasoning entails a logical way of thinking, and this by definition clashes with swaying idol-based beliefs. **

*Epistrophe; word creature