force fed

force fed cartoon drawing by nakedpastor david hayward

Purchase the original or a print of this drawing.

I was talking with a friend the other day about the whole idea of the importance of being able to question beliefs, ideas or theologies that are passed on to us. He told me how he grew up in church and how he loved it. But one day in Sunday school, when he was about 12 years old, he asked the priest a question about what he was teaching. The priest just looked at him and said, “You just have to have faith!” My friend said that’s precisely the moment when he began to lose his faith.

Yep. That’s pretty much how it can happen.

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  • greggmac

    Still waiting for a cartoon with a koran or imam to show up or an update of your description to graffiti artist on the walls of christianity. It’s not that I don’t agree with some of your observations it’s just that “religion” encompasses all faiths and you focus exclusively on one.

  • Stu

    As do all prophets, surely?

  • Eloise

    I look at this and agree it is not the way to pass along faith. I celebrate God wants a relationship with me and look to explore that relationship. Hopefully others, including my son, will want to join me in that journey.

  • Greg: I appreciate your concern that you have expressed here again. My claim is that judgement begins with the household of God… and that’s where I live. Christianity, which I critique, is a religion, and my critiques can be universally applied to all religions and organizations. People like you are smart enough to make comparisons and parallels. People from all different kinds of religions and non-religions appreciate my cartoons, including Imams, priests, rabbis, etc… and they have no problem crossing the cartoons over to their own applications.

  • bjvl

    Made me think of this song….

    “…Borders soft with refugees
    Streets a’swimming with amputees
    It’s a Bible or a bullet they put over your heart
    It’s getting harder and harder to tell them apart
    Days are nights and the nights are long
    Beating hearts blossom into walking bombs
    And those still looking in the clear blue sky for a sign
    Get missiles from so high they might as well be divine
    Now the wolves are howling at our door
    Singing bout vengeance like it’s the joy of the Lord
    Bringing justice to the enemies not the other way round
    They’re guilty when killed and they’re killed where they’re found
    If what’s loosed on earth will be loosed up on high
    It’s a Hell of a Heaven we must go to when we die…”

  • I lay on this bed for 15 years or so absorbing 100s of hours of bible teaching from the great, the good and the not so good.

    A form of evangelical brainwashing I guess!

    No wonder I rarely read the Book anymore – it’s all stored away in my soul/psyche, now coming out in a much more compassionate and inclusive take on our broken but Divine Loved world.

  • Randy

    While surely there are far too many in our 21st century who will “force feed” their own beliefs and their version of doctrine into others, that does not imply that Christian teaching, with the humility that was the focus of Jesus’ message, is untrue.
    God’s (infinite) perspective is so much greater than that of the sum total of humanity that, yes, faith is required; a faith and trust in God’s love for each of us, no matter how desperate our current situations may seem.
    As I mentioned, too many of my fellow clergy (and many lay-persons, as well) will try to force on you the ideas that they have decided are the only truth. Don’t let the messenger ruin the message. If you read the Bible often, with an open mind and considering the entirety of the context, God’s love will shine through for you, and give you the strength & courage to reflect His love upon those around.

  • We can’t shoehorn anyone into believing.

    “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.”

    The Holy Spirit creates faith when and where He wills.

    And that’s it.

  • Gary

    “You just have to have faith”.

    Ugh…what a bastion of abuse and blind teaching has been heaped on this little phrase. For me it was when I was told this by my father who wanted me to forgo the surgery to remove my cancer tumor because if I had faith, I would know God had already removed it. It was when I was told this is why I had to accept the earth and the universe are only 6000 years old. This is why I was tld I had to believe in a Dante’s Inferno version of Hell created by a loving God who intended to keep some 90% of everyone who ever lived, alive for all eternity, so he could pour his wrath and vengeance out upon them, forever, and ever, and ever. (In spite of the fact the bible teaches his anger does NOT burn forever)

    When I have seen this term used it has not been to inspire, or to draw us into a closer relationship with God…but to defend the indefensible. It has been the eternal cop-out for those too lazy or stubborn to think.

  • Gary

    “The Holy Spirit creates faith when and where He wills.

    And that’s it.”

    Well Fuck Me…why the hell do I even need to worry about it then?

  • “The Holy Spirit creates faith when and where He wills.

    And that’s it.”

    See, Brigitte. Your fellow Lutheran affirms predestination just fine.

  • It happened to me at church also. Everyone was “praying” to protect our leaders, etc., etc., etc. Later they were all saying hateful things about our leaders. When I asked about it, I was put off. I never went back to church until I got much older and found out more.

  • i’ve experienced those kind of prayers.

  • Carol

    The worst thing that can happen to an authentic spiritual/religious Tradition is for it to become a civil religion.

    There is a world of difference between faith and fideism.

    Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.– Elton Trueblood

    It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt. –Fyodor Dostoyevski

    “I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe. I know what torment this is, but I can only see it, in myself anyway, as the process by which faith is deepened. A faith that just accepts is a child’s faith and all right for children, but eventually you have to grow religiously as every other way, though some never do.
    What people don’t realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than not to believe. If you feel you can’t believe, you must at least do this: keep an open mind. Keep it open toward faith, keep wanting it, keep asking for it, and leave the rest to God. ”
    — Flannery O’Connor , The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor

    “Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.”–Martin Luther

  • In the minds of many, some religious definitions of faith will lead to false impressions and chips on shoulders. The difference between these definitions and Bible definitions is quite striking.

    Of course, if we dismiss or dispute the Bible for whatever reason, we can define as we please.

    It may come down to how highly valued New Testament descriptions are, because it is here the very essence of Christianity was originally defined, and still is.

    After that religious minds put their various spins on just about anything to suit unique doctrines and personal predilections.

  • Carol

    Samuel, you are correct, we all interpret Scripture from the perspective of our own subjective beliefs and experiences of life. However, there are some fundamental principles that can challenge this tendency. The Christian is called to interpret the Old Testament in light of the New Testament; not the NT in light of the OT.

    Classsical Calvinism fails to follow this principle explains why so many Reformed Evangelicals stridently beat the drum for the Ten Commandmants, while any teaching on the Beatitudes is notable for its absense.

    The need for external coercive laws diminishes as internal transformation increases.

    All great religious Traditions teach a negative version of the Golden Rule–“you shalt not do unto others that which you would not have they do unto you.”

    What is uniquely Christian is the positive version–“Do unto others that which you would have them do unto you.” Jesus really raised the ethical bar when he preached that there are “sins of omission” as well as “sins of commission.”

  • PastorM

    Unfortunately, there are many people who want to be force-fed so as not to have to think for themselves. “Just tell us what to believe and do,” would sum up the desires of many in places of worship each week.

  • I saw this cartoon the other day and was impressed. To me, the cartoon showed the following being crammed into Jesus:

    the cross[all the various salvation plans],

    the Bible [bibliolotry of his future deifiers],

    the fish [the culture of Christianity], and

    the WWJD IV drip of [the self-righteous, hypocritical holiness of followers]

    Your cartoon seemed to be saying that Jesus was just a guy that got killed and everyone else crammed this stuff into him to make their religions.

    But maybe you did not intend to go that far. Today I read your prose about “being able to question beliefs, ideas or theologies that are passed on to us”. Maybe that is all you meant, but I doubt it.

    And just now I see that the guy on the table is probably not your Jesus, but just some guy. The table is sort of cross shaped. I remember being surprised that he was tied and not nailed. Then, just now, I realized I got it wrong. See how we can each read into something what we want to see! 🙂

    I read the comments and saw that those who would see your cartoons as nasty grafetti are still around – I guess they did not go over to your other site. And those who view your work as “Art” are still here too. I am curious how your other site it doing? I hope very well. It must be hard to be divided between two sites.

    Oh yeah, sometimes I see your art as your questions, explorations, chance-taking …. Bravo!

  • actually, that’s not Jesus Sabio. but wow, interesting commentary from that perspective!!

  • @ nakedpastor: Yeah, funny, I realized it at the last minute. It is a classic phenomena: My biases influenced my perceptions. We must pause and watch our watching, eh?
    How is the new site doing — Have you given a report recently? I suspect it is going marvelously well.

  • thanks for asking Sabio. We have 100 amazing members… Almost all are post-church. Some are post-Christian. A few atheists. Many agnostics. All wonderful people, really. With incredible stories.

  • Fantastic! — Fantastic for everyone. Good job.

  • it is awesome!