ANSWER: The Greek word stauros, Strong's Concordance Number #4716, is often translated as "cross." This is an error in translation. Stauros should be translated as "stake" or "post." The instrument of torture on which Jesus died was NOT in the shape of the letter "T". It was simply a post or stake on which the victim was hung by nailing both hands over his head. The feet were also impaled so the victim not only suffered more pain, but also was unable to move enough to dislodge the hands. This caused suffocation if the victim did not die from other afflictions.
The representation of the crucifixion many people possess originated well before Jesus was born on planet earth! In certain cultures, it was called a Tau and represented a female. Because of this symbolism, it was used by quite a few pagan (non-Christian) religions to present their female goddesses such as Venus or Astarte. Christianity was first introduced to this symbol Constantine the Great in 313 A. D. The well-known book The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop states that Catholics believed the cross was some great charm and that they adored it as much as God himself!
|"The cross is looked upon as the grand charm, as the great refuge in every season of danger, in every hour of temptation as the infallible preservative from all the powers of darkness. The cross is adored with all the homage due only to the Most High . . ." (Two Babylons, Chapter V, Section VI)|
In reality, in terms of what the Bible teaches, the Tau has nothing to do with Jesus or Christianity. The word stauros is also used figuratively in Scripture, for instance, in Matthew 10:38 where Jesus told His followers to take up their "cross" and follow Him. In this instance, it represents the sacrifice one makes when leaving the ways of the world and following Jesus.
We are cautioned in the Ten Commandments to NOT make idols (things that we would worship as a god or even use to worship the REAL God) that look like anything either in space or the sky, on the earth itself or even in the oceans (Exodus 20:4).
One who uses the Tau to represent Jesus or God, even those wearing one as a cross, would be coming dangerously close to idolatry. Although it may remind people of the Lord taking away our sins, it was not the instrument of His death and you can probably find some other way of remembering His great sacrifice rather than using a pagan symbol to do so. And we can be certain that a cross does not remind God of His Son's sacrifice and suffering either.
Someone once said that it was a good thing they did not have electrocution for capital punishment in the time of Jesus because people would be wearing little electric chairs on chains around their necks and put them on top of steeples on their church buildings. Steeples are also a pagan symbol. They are a male phallic symbol (e.g. made to represent a penis) and were worshipped by pagans throughout Scripture. It was these stakes in the "high places" that made God so angry at the Israelites who were worshipping idols.
It would be more appropriate to hate the instrument of torture on which our God and Savior died rather than venerating it. Your son's comment about not displaying or even wearing a cross is good advice that deserves serious consideration.