Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol or a physical object such as a cult image as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving honour and regard to created forms. In all the Abrahamic religions idolatry is strongly forbidden, although views as to what constitutes idolatry may differ within and between them. In other religions the use of cult images is accepted. Which images, ideas, and objects constitute idolatry is often a matter of considerable contention.
Behaviour considered idolatrous or potentially idolatrous may include the creation of any type of image of the deity, or of other figures of religious significance such as prophets, saints, and clergy, the creation of images of any person or animal at all, and the use of religious symbols, or secular ones. In addition, Christian theologians, following Saint Paul, have extended the concept to include giving undue importance to other aspects of religion, or to non-religious aspects of life in general, with no involvement of images specifically. For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. Man commits idolatry whenever he honours and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods, or demons (for example satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money etc.” In some ultra-conservative Islamic societies with sharia law, idolaters may face the death penalty.
Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a neologism for a perceptual phenomenon characterized as a distinct, pleasurable tingling sensation in the head, scalp, back, or peripheral regions of the body in response to visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and/or cognitive stimuli. The nature and classification of the ASMR phenomenon is controversial, though there is a considerable cult following and strong anecdotal evidence to support the phenomenon despite the lack of verifiable data.
The avoidance of the use of images for religious reasons is called aniconism. The destruction of religious images within a culture is called iconoclasm, of which there have been many major episodes in history.
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