Greetings in XC everyone,
I have been a catechumen in the Orthodox Church for close to a year and will be Chrismated this Nativity. I deeply love the Orthodox Church and have felt blessed among the Orthodox faithful. Most of the old Roman Catholic and Protestant hangups have been done away with, but one still remains: I still worry about iconography being idolatry. I have read St. John of Damascus' treatise on the veneration of icons and it totally makes sense, I truly get where the Orthodox are coming from in their defense. I also recognize that you cannot accidentally worship anything, therefor if a Roman Catholic with a very high Mariology tells you that despite the excessive devotion, they are not worshiping her, then they aren't. I also realize that there were loads of images in the Hebrew Tabernacle and Solomon's temple. What's funny about my reservations towards icons due mostly to Protestant condemnations, is that if I relied on Sola Scriptura to support Iconodulia I wouldn't lose a moment of sleep over it. What gets me in Protestant condemnations is their appeal to Tradition of all things. I cannot find a single ante-Nicene Church Father who supports iconography. Even as far forward as Jerome he is explicitly describing himself destroying an Icon of Christ sewn into a curtain in a Church.
If the apostles used iconography as popular piety says they did (I really don't think st. Luke ever made icons, that is a very late tradition) why don't the Early Church Fathers mention it? I am also well aware of Dura Europos, which is certainly compelling, but it bothers me that apologists for icons rely exclusively on one very old Church that may have been apostate or Orthodox (and we have no way of knowing).
Here's a link against iconography: http://www.cogwriter.com/idols.htm
It's full of purposeful omissions and clearly doesn't understand the Orthodox use of icons, and the COG is clearly a cult, but I find the use of Church Fathers disturbing.
Then there's a fairer link: http://www.tektonics.org/gk/icons.html
The official position of the website is that Icons are not idols and that middle eastern expressions of honor are just mushy and offensive to western sensibilities (kissing the priest's hand), however there is a Protestant who is adding to the article and has some very compelling collection of quotes from Church Fathers to back up his position.
I would really appreciate it if someone could look at these claims to assuage my doubts.
p.s. I am praying about this. I asked the Lord to reveal His truth in the situation, even if that means He smashes my icons like the Golden Calf and sends me into the desert for 40 years to repent. I just want to serve Him the right way