CHAPTER ONESYMBOLS : WHAT ARE THEY
1.1 WHAT IS A SYMBOL?
We are all familiar with symbols because they pervade all our lives. It is a representationof an idea in a way that is sensible to our senses. Some examples will make this ideaclear. Among the Christians we are familiar with the cross which appears in mostchurches. The symbol of fish was used by the early Church. Other familiar Christiansymbols are the lamb and the open book. Each religion has a symbol which representtheir core teaching. Thus we have cross for Christians, the crescent for Islam, the star of David for Jews, sign of Om for Hindus etc. These are visual symbols. Visual symbols arealso used by institutions, clubs, organizations, companies, political parties etc.While visual symbols are widely used, the audible symbols are not that much popular.However they are found in all walks of life. Command whistles, siren soundings, themesongs of music groups, radio stations etc are examples of these.The written word and the spoken word are the ultimate in symbols because of theircommunicative power. An essay or a a speech communicates more powerfully than astatic symbol. That is why the title of "The Word of God", "Kalimut Allah" is given toJesus to emphasize that the ultimate and clearest revelation of God came to man throughChrist Jesus. We get the maximum communication power when the carrier itself is thecontent.What then is a symbol? A symbol is something which communicates ideas and conceptsof realities which are otherwise difficult to communicate. It is simply a means of communication or a medium of communication. The process of communication is asfollows: