According to biblical culture this Commandment does not prohibit the production of images, but rather their improper use, their elevation to divinity. One must not worship other gods nor revere God according to others' customs, that is, turn Him into a fetish image. What is more, historical religious disputes within Christianity concerning this ban have also involved the difference between the authentic sacrament of divine presence and symbols of magic or superstition, such as amulets and talismans. In today's society the problem of idolatry has not faded away, but rather has undergone a banal transformation though the proliferation of novel, mass media icons and idols. How can one tell the difference between the enchantment of a sacred and artistic image and the perversion of a fetish?
Salvatore Natoli teaches Theoretical Philosophy at the Bicocca University in Milan and History of Ideas at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan.
Pierangelo Sequeri, a theologian and musician, teaches Basic Theology at the Theological Faculty in Milan and Aesthetics of the Sacred at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera.