religion is fear

religion is fear cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

“Religion is Fear” (ink on paper, 8″x8″)

Religion is fear. The institutions of religion capitalize on fear. And we capitulate. To justify and tame our fear we spiritualize it, theologize it, and institutionalize it in order for us to feel protected from it. But this strategy only empowers it further.

I know someone will say, “True religion is this: to help the widow and the orphan!” But then that’s not religion. Is it?! No, it’s just basic kindness. Even in the story of Jesus when he talks about the sheep and the goats, he is quoted as saying that those who practiced religion and expected entry were not known by him, whereas those who were known by him simply gave glasses of water, clothing, and visits to others. Not religious at all. Basic human kindness.

Once you see that fear is one of the most primal impulses of your brain and how the brain circulates this fear in order to entrap you even further in pathetic attempts to protect yourself with such things as religion, your deliverance is nigh.

(Many original cartoon drawings and prints are available, including this one! Email me if interested. Original drawings are $100 and prints are $25 plus shipping. Or you can look through my online gallery.)

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • http://JanetOberholtzer.com Janet Oberholtzer

    As you know, I’ve slowly been letting go of religion and going through a spiritual renewal and I have more peace than ever. And it’s been great to recently hear my husband talk about the lack of fear he feels since giving up religion over the past few years.

    peace…

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    The church is where one hears the promises of God. Gathers with fellow believers for comfort and receives what the world could never buy…the body and blood of Christ, given to real sinners who know their need of a Savior.

    Church is being done wrong (when they turn it into a religious ladder-climbing/navel gazing project) all over the place.

    But it is also being done right in many places.

  • Syl

    I think the key to the James quote is the word “true”. And the word “religion” should be in quotes or replaced with “prayer” or something similar. Like this: “Truly honoring God and the highest and best of all that is, is found in simple acts of kindness and human decency, such as taking care of orphans, widows, and those on the fringes of your society.” No, of course that’s not religion – no doctrine, no requirements, no belief required.

  • BW

    Absolutely! And the fear is promulgated in ALL Abrahamic churches around the world. If only people would start to think for themselves.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Did you have a chance to read the National Post this weekend with its large section on The State of the Faith in Canada? There are five or six different articles. http://life.nationalpost.com/tag/the-state-of-faith/

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    When I went to church in town, yesterday, there was no fear. We had communion and we sat together after for 2 hours figuring out who is doing what for Christmas, and what kind of help they might need, who has family and who might be lonely. We put our arms around each other and made lunch dates for early January… The pastor is dying of cancer and he shares freely of his struggles. He brought up all the children and hugged them and blessed them, because he could not serve communion because of his illness and could not bless anyone. There was no fear anywhere, yesterday, and I was so grateful for the community. The Lord cares about us and our lowly lives and bodies. He descends to be with us even now in our communion and community, nurturing us until we see him face to face. The fear is driven out. He is my body and blood, and he will draw us after him. He cannot leave us behind, we who are his body.

  • Kris

    Yep, fear is a big driver. I have never been motivated to do good because of the fear of hell. When I see someone suffering or in need, I empathize which relates to the Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

  • https://thedmergent.squarespace.com/articles/2012/12/17/responding-to-the-sandy-hook-elementary-massacre Doug Sloan

    An Advent Message
    Douglas C. Sloan
    December 24, 2012

    Dear Gun and Military Advocate,

    Here is what you don’t get…

    Two millennium ago, we were given the message that we are to think and live differently.

    That Good News message invites us to follow a narrow path:

    As individuals, we are to:
    * seek resurrection and transformation and live
    * simply and fearlessly and joyfully and hopefully,
    * gently and peacefully without violence and without vengeance.

    In relationship with others, we are to provide:
    * inclusive hospitality
    * joyous generosity
    * wise and healthy service

    As a community, our purpose is to provide education, stewardship, justice, and compassion:

    * Education as the respect for and nurture of each student as an individual with unique gifts to be discovered and developed while introducing students to the best of art, knowledge, scientific inquiry, logic, and philosophy and encouraging play, creativity, self-confidence, self-reliance, self-expression, independence, collaboration, and community.

    * Stewardship as the long-term protection, management, and replenishment of renewable resources, and that non-renewable resources require minimum use and maximum protection and maximum recycling and contemporaneous and complete reclamation;

    * Justice as repair, rehabilitation, restoration, and – where possible – reconciliation;

    * Compassion as feeding, quenching, clothing, sheltering, healing, visiting, welcoming, …

    As a congregation, our theology is simple:
    * The Divine is not distant. The Divine is with us.
    * The Divine is unrestrained love and unconditional grace.

    Implicit and integral to the Good News message is the rejection of violence and the threat of violence and the instruments of violence as solutions to violence. This does not mean we are unresponsive pacifists – it means we are actively peaceful and actively contrary to the ways of empire and violence. Our commitment to the Good News message means that we will live it and exude it and provoke it, here and now – constantly and forever, regardless of your response.

    If this makes you fearful; if this makes you consider us a threat; we understand and we will not be swayed. We know what you did to Jesus and the early disciples and the many others since then who dared to walk this path. To us, it is more important to live the Good News than to live your way. For each of us, death is inevitable. So the question is: In what manner will we live with ourselves, with others, with the Divine? We have given you our answer. What is yours?

  • http://associatedluke.blogspot.com Luke

    “Fear is your only god” -RATM

    “Almost all people, inside as well as outside the church, find that the notion of grace stands in contradiction to everything they understand by religion. For all our protestations to the contrary, we will sooner accept a God we are fed TO than a God we are fed BY. And however much we hate the law, we are more afraid of grace” – Robert Capon, – Between Noon and Three

    Amen. Amen.

  • Carol

    Steve & Brigitte, you both have no problem with any of the Lutheran Confessions that make up the Book of Concord. Of course, you experience acceptance within your faith community. I can asssure you, if you ever should find youself questioning Lutheran dogma–some of which Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Calvinists condemn as heresy, BTW–your experience of your religious community would become quite different. You would find yourself not only feared; but in many cases actually hated.

    Luther himself warned against ecclesiolatry and bibliolatry that is rife in contemporary MS Lutheran Churches.

    “Where God builds a church the devil builds a chapel.” –Martin Luther

    “God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” –Martin Luther

    Most of America’s Founders would call themselves “spiritual, not religious if they were alive today.

    I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature. –Thomas Jefferson

    The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. Read over again all the accounts we have of Hindoos, Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, Teutons, we shall find that priests had all the knowledge, and really governed mankind. Examine Mahometanism, trace Christianity from its first promulgation; knowledge has been almost exclusively confined to the clergy. And, even since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate a free inquiry? The blackest billingsgate, most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and eyes.
    ~John Adams, The Political Writings of John Adams (2001) edited by George W. Carey, p. 440

    The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and unchangeable, and will bear examination forever, but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, which I think will not bear examination, and they ought to be separated.~John Adams, Letter to Thomas Jefferson (22 January 1825). The section in bold is often attached to fragments from an earlier letter from Adams to Jefferson (17 January 1820).

    Every other sect supposes itself in possession of the truth, and that those who differ are so far in the wrong. Like a man traveling in foggy weather they see those at a distance before them wrapped up in a fog, as well as those behind them, and also people in the fields on each side; but near them, all appears clear, though in truth they are as much in the fog as any of them. –Benjamin Franklin

    I wish it (Christianity) were more productive of good works … I mean real good works … not holy day keeping, sermon-hearing … or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments despised by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity.– Benjamin Franklin

    “When a Religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and, when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support [it], so that its Professors are oblig’d to call for help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.” –Benjamin Franklin, letter to Richard Price, October 9, 1780

  • Mar

    Steve — as long as you think that church is a “where,” a location you need to go to in order to receive “body and blood” you’ll be stuck. The cartoon was saying more than that. But you have confirmed the thought in the cartoon exactly. You don’t believe life is found outside of that place. Longing for you to know freedom …

  • Mar

    Brigitte — so much if what you describe sounds beautiful … I didn’t understand the comment that he “could not serve communion or bless anyone because of his illness” … Do you mean because he is too weak to do so? It sounds to me like he blessed just right ….

  • Mar

    David, one of my favorite cartoons of yours ever … Reminds me of my other favorite, where “God” is contained in the church building, side by side with not being. That cartoon came along at just the right time in my journey.

    Wish I could say “like” to many comments … Janet, so happy for the freedom you’ve found,

    My experience is that once you stand outside the system, you can see the fear for the first time … It’s what got you in, it’s what keeps you in … If you begin to ask, what would this look like if there is no fear of punishment? the light begins to dawn …

  • Carol

    Br. David’s Christmas Letter speaks to me. The first thing I noticed was that he uses a small, rather than a capital, *i* when he refers to himself:

    http://www.gratefulness.org/readings/dsr_christmas_child.htm

    With a Child’s Trust: a Christmas letter
    by Br. David Steindl-Rast O.S.B.

    Central to Christmas is the image of the child. And doesn’t this image speak to every human heart?
    This year i have the privilege to celebrate Christmas once more at a small monastery in a lovely lake region of my native Austria. In these surroundings and especially at this festive season i am surrounded by images from the Christian tradition. As in the days of my childhood, their language speaks to me and makes all my senses tingle with joy.
    But nowadays i cannot help remembering that many people no longer understand that language. Can it be translated into a different idiom to make the insights and experiences it contains accessible? But then i realize: images need no translation; their language is universal. They speak to anyone who opens eyes and heart.
    Central to Christmas is the image of the child. And doesn’t this image speak to every human heart?
    How urgently we need the guiding image of the child in a world that has grown old. In one antiphon of the Christmas season we sing: “The old man carries the infant, but the infant guides the old man.” Although this refers to ancient Simeon taking the Christ-child in his arms, it always brings to my mind a little boy riding on the shoulders of his grandfather and guiding him by pulling now one ear, now the other.
    Aging can be a process of “saging,” as my revered friend Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi points out, or else it can lead to fear and anxiety. Only a child’s trust can re-direct our fear-ridden society. Paralyzing fear or childlike trust – the choice is ours.
    From fear springs violence – yes, not the other way around. Even a tiny mouse will attack when it gets frightened enough and can’t flee. Fear invented wars, weapons, and all the violence weapons can cause – all the way to the recent carnage in Connecticut that makes the mind reel with outrage and sorrow.
    From fear springs arrogance – from the frightened toad that inflates itself to impress an aggressor to a display of conspicuous consumption that thinly veils the fear of being outdone by a neighbor.
    From fear springs greed – beginning with a sense of scarcity (“Will there be enough for my wants?”) and ending with exploitation and economic collapse.
    No wonder, then, that violence, arrogance, and greed disfigure our fearful society. No wonder we long for the world of the fearless child, the world of non-violence, mutual respect, and joyful sharing.
    To let the child-in-you guide you – by the ears, if necessary – toward building this new world, this is what i wish you most of all for 2013. It will take courage, strength, and wisdom, but – ”fear not!” – together we can do it. Let us run with grateful joy toward the opportunities a new year holds out to us.
    ~ Your brother David

    “Fear will quench your faith, and faith will quench your fears. You can choose which will rule you…. Faith and fear are equal in this dimension—both demand to be fulfilled, and both project into the future.” ~ Henry Wright, A More Excellent Way

    “Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the skin, but giving up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair – these are the long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust. You are as young as your faith and as old as your doubts; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.” ? James E. Faust

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Yes, Mar, he felt too weak to serve, so he sat down and the elders served. We come to the front and kneel or stand and have it distributed to us and the children or not confirmed or baptized have a blessing.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Mar,it is not like life is not found outside walls, but the time and the place is where things happen. Like we go for dinner at mother’s… It’s not like there is no dinner somewhere else, or that you can’t meet mother and the others somewhere else. But there is a dinner date, and you know where and when you will meet someone and what you will have, then and there. It is an appointment, a gift, a hospitality. (Turning it down, makes mother not happy. :) Tell me about it. :) That’s not a threat, but turning down an invitation is somewhat insulting if the excuse is not that good.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Carol, if you have a problem with a teaching in the BOC, why don’t you say which one it is. Thanks.

  • Mar

    Brigitte, I like your description and I am glad it is a happy experience for you, truly. Your pastor sounds like a beautiful soul.

    And, for some of us that dinner date is an invitation to dysfunction and toxicity and abuse, not a gift or hospitality … Hope you understand that reality as well …

  • Mar

    It reminds me of a woman sharing that her husband beats her and thst her home is a terror zone. A “friend” responds “really? My husband is the greatest. Kind, loving, always considers me …” Good. But that’s not a lot of help to the one who just shared an important reality of her life with you. It’s not empathetic, and can seem dismissive to those who have another experience. She goes away without comfort and without your help. Make sense?

  • Mar

    She’s genuinely happy you don’t live in terror like she does, but sharing your experience doesn’t actually change her situation or give her the idea that you care to hear about it …. Or acknowledge it … Or understand it to be reality ….

  • BW

    Mar,

    Yes, what you say makes complete sense to me. It is what I for one have felt from the likes of Brigette and Steve Martin for quite awhile now. You have explained it well and I appreciate that.

  • mikespeir

    This graphic has earned a place on my computer as wallpaper for a while.

  • Carol

    Brigitte, It has been decades since I read the BOC and I have given it away long ago, so I will state the fundamental disagreements I have with Reformation theology:
    1. It is dualistic, setting the complementary opposites of Grace & nature, Bible and Tradition, faith and reason, and Grace and faith in radical opposition to each other so that, becoming “spiritual” requires us to despise our own humanity–a humanity that God merely loved; but assumed in the Mystery of the Incarnation. How christians could turn the Religious Tradition that reveals most clearly a Divine affirmation of our humanity into a religious tradition that despises our humanity is beyond my comprehension.

    2. The imputation of Christ’s righteousness as the basis for reconciliation with God. First of all, there is no reconciliation if the Mediator and the First Party are the only participants. The function of a mediator is to bring two parties together, not to become a stand-in for one of the parties. The imputation of Christ’s righteousness is the same legal fiction that is the foundation for Anselm’s Substitutionary Atonement Theory. The Latin/Western Church is obsessed with basing reconciliation with God on the Law rather than on God’s Unconditional Love. Unconditional Love is, by its very definition, beyond good and evil. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t be unconditional! What the Reformation ends up with is not a God whose very Nature is Unconditional Love; but a Father God whose Love can never be immediately experienced by the believer; but only through a scape-goated Son cruelly sacrificed in our stead–Calvin’s Cosmic Bully! An impartial reading of the Gospels, apart from the conditioning of an excessively juridical and rationalistic theological tradition, makes it unmistakeably clear that it was not God who demanded the death of Jesus; but the Jewish religious leaders and the imperial Roman government whose hierarchial power was threatened by the Gospel Message Jesus was preaching. The poor and marginalized were beginning to realize that God’s Love gave them a worth and dignity that their human society had denied them which threatened both the religious and the secular power structures that always seek stability at the expense of justice rather than through justice. Christendom, not Christianity (Law, not Gospel) has always been the official Western State religion and, more often than not, in the Latin/Western Church as well with the exception of the contemplative Religious Orders that have remained faithful to the visions of their Founders.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Mar, I understand what you are saying and listening is really important and people’s experiences are different and if we’ve not been through it, it can be very difficult to have empathy, but we should all try.

    But NP’s agenda is more than exposing abuse and making people feel cared for. He is also painting thing with the same brush and saying the Bible can’t be trusted, etc. Carol is constantly up and down about the evil of doctrine, etc. So there are a number of things happening. Peace, to you. I am going to be a way for a couple of days and can’t give any better replies right now.

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    Brigitte: The bible can’t be trusted? I’m not sure what you mean by that. I think the bible can be trusted for what it is. I trust any book for what it is. Any document for what it is. Now if you’re saying that the bible is a holy book direct from God inspired by the Spirit through men and that it should be trusted as such, then I would say it can’t be trusted in that way. Just a clarification.

  • Carol

    A dualistic radical opposition of Grace to nature has led to bibliolatry, the denial of the human element in the process of Revelation.

    Until the 16th century Christianity was a synergistic religion, the story of a relationship between the Divine and the human. This remains one of the fundamental differences between the Orthodox Churches of the East/Catholicism and Protestantism.

    The radical opposition of Grace to nature in classical Protestantism has resulted in a Western civilization that despises our humanity and ignores our responsibility to practice stewardship rather than exploit our natural resources.

    The natural is either pantheistically absolutized and deified or despised and exploited when the synergistic relationship of God to his creation is denied.

    The quest for an “historical Jesus” apart from the “Christ of faith” by liberal Protestant biblical demythologizers is the logical theological result of radically opposing Grace to nature. A myth is not something that never happened; but an archetypal event that happens all the time.

    This radical separation of the sacred and the secular has made the on-going redemption of the world through the lives of faithful individuals and communities as a transformational process impossible.

    We are left with a fear-driven religion of coercive Law rather than a love-inspired religion of Grace. The doctrine of *Grace Alone* leaves no place for the human response to God’s immanent transformational Presence. Western Christianity has become more deistic than theistic and Scriptures that reveal a metaphysics of Divine Transcendence and a deterministic legal agenda rather than a love story of God’s relationship with the people S/He has chosen to prepare to become sacraments of Divine Love in the world.

    “In Judaism it was possible simultaneously to ascribe change of purpose to God and to declare that God did not change, without resolving the paradox; for the immutability of God was seen as the trustworthiness of covenanted relation to his people in the concrete history of his judgment and mercy, rather than as a primarily ontological category.” –Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition—Vol. 1.

    Western Christianity has become more of an ideology than a religious Tradition.

    “Faith is not a competing ideology with other religions or “gods.” Biblical faith is more a process than a conclusion, more a way of relating than a way of explaining, more a wrestling match than a classroom lesson—a growing dialogue of constant give and take, and not just give and not just take.” ~Richard Rohr

    “As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished.  No reality fits an ideology.  Life is beyond that.  That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life.  But life has no meaning; it cannot have meaning because meaning is a formula; meaning is something that makes sense to the mind. Every time you make sense out of reality, you bump into something that destroys the sense you made. Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning.  Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.”– Anthony De Mello

    http://www.calebwilde.com/category/ecumenicalism/dogmatism-and-absolutism/

    Dogmatism and Absolutism

    There are religious and political fundamentalists. Some people are both. Right now, many people are of the latter.
    Based on the works of Ernest Becker, a connection can be made between death and fundamentalism. Richard Beck, in his book The Authenticity of Faith (which I’ve been reading of late), writes this about the relationship between death and fundies. This quote is like ice cream … if you eat it too fast, you’ll get a brain freeze, but if you eat it slow, you may find it delightful.
    Human personality and culture are inherently about the denial of death, about helping the human animal achieve day-to-day equanimity in the face of our existential burden and helping us manage our instinct for self-preservation in the face of a cognitive awareness that we are bound for death, that we cannot run away or escape our fate. Death activates a fight or flight response in us, but we have nowhere to run. No one to fight. So the anxiety just sits there, churning away. To handle this anxiety, we repress death awareness or sublimate the anxiety it causes by working on projects our culture deems significant and valuable. Through these efforts we attach our life stories to goods that can outlive us. And by doing so, we achieve both self-esteem and a symbolic immortality. We feel that we made a difference. And our culture declares our life meaningful.
    …. This daily exposure to alternate hero systems threatens our belief that our particular cultural heroics, our way of life are eternal and timeless. As noted earlier, in our modern, pluralistic society there is a fragility of meaning. We see now that this is largely due to the clash of worldviews we encounter on a daily basis. Pluralism hints that worldviews are relative and not timeless and eternal. And if this is so, is anything to be counted on? Where am I to find meaning, truth, and significance in the face death if the foundations have all turned to sand?
    The fear inherent within modernity, the anxiety that the ideological Other calls my worldview into question, is one explanation for rise of fundamentalism in the modern era.
    Religious and ideological fundamentalism, then, appears within modernity (perhaps paradoxically) as a defense against these questions. Fundamentalism, of all stripes, is the individual and collective effort to defend the truth of your worldview against the relativization inherent in the existence of the Other. Becoming a true believer is one way to defend against the existential predicament of modern day pluralism. And this leads to a surprising conclusion. Rather than making humanity less religious, as Freud believed, secularlism is driving an increase in religious fundamentalism and often violent fundamentalism. Modernity is shaping up to be less an age of reason than a violent battle between ideologies, ways of life and worldviews. Pages 75 – 77

    “In order to justify their behavior, they turn their theories into dogmas, their bylaws into First Principles, their political bosses into God and all those who disagree with them into incarnate devils.  This idolatrous transformation of the relative into the Absolute and the all to human into the Divine, makes it possible for them to indulge their ugliest passions with a clear conscience and in the certainty that they are working for the Highest Good.  And when the current beliefs come, in their turn, to look silly, a new set will be invented, so that the immemorial madness may continue to wear its customary mask of legality, idealism and true religion.” ~Aldous Huxley

  • Carol

    Socrates taught that “knowing that we do not know is the beginning of wisdom.” If true, then dogmatic absolutism is the end of wisdom. It is certainly the end of continuing to grow in both knowledge and wisdom is any meaningful sense.

    Seven Underlying Themes of
    Richard Rohr’s Teachings
    First Theme: Scripture as validated by experience, and experience as validated by Tradition, are good scales for one’s spiritual worldview (METHODOLOGY).
    Foundational Authorities Number 2 of 56

    Since the Reformation in the 16th Century, much Christian infighting and misunderstanding has occurred over the Catholic and Orthodox emphasis on Tradition (which usually got confused with small cultural “traditions”) versus the new Protestant emphasis on Scripture, even “Scripture alone!” (which gradually devolved into each group choosing among the Scriptures it would emphasize and the ones it would ignore). Both currents have now shown their weaknesses, their blind spots, and their biases. They lacked the “dynamic third” principle of God Experience: personal experience that is processed and held accountable by both Scripture and Tradition, and by solid spiritual direction and counseling. This will be our trilateral principle at the Living School. (I am aware of John Wesley’s later-named “quadrilateral method” which also included reason as a fourth principle. I see the use of reason as precisely our ability to use Scripture, Tradition, and experience in a consistent, balanced, and “reasonable” way. But I do not want to give reason the importance of a fourth principle, because it now tends to trump the other three.)

    John the Baptist let his personal God experience trump both Scripture (which he hardly ever quotes directly) and his own Tradition (which is why this son of the priestly class had to move his own ritual down to the riverside). Jesus and Paul also clearly use and respect their own Scriptures and Jewish Tradition, yet courageously interpret them both in light of their personal experience of God. There is an essential message here from our central Biblical figures.
    ~ Richard Rohr, June 2012

    In a rare interview in 1967 with Thomas McDonnell, [Thomas] Merton pronounced that the great crisis in the church is a crisis of authority precipitated because the church, as institution and organization, has overshadowed the reality of the church as a community of persons united in love and in Christ. He now charged that obedience and conformity with the impersonal corporation-church are a fact in the life of Christians. “The Church is preached as a communion, but is run in fact as a collectivity, and even as a totalitarian collectivity. ~ George Kilcourse, ACE OF FREEDOMS: Thomas Merton’s Christ

    Cardinal Newman said there were three authorities in the Church: the authority of tradition, the authority of reason and the authority of experience, which he placed respectively in the hierarchy, the university and the body of the faithful.
    He added that if one of these three became too dominant, the right exercise of authority in the Church risked being compromised. Each needs to be strong; for example, the theological faculties have their authority. Charismatic movements, for example, easily tend to give too much authority to experience. There have been moments when reason appeared to be absolutized, as in some countries in eighteenth-century Europe. Today, I think that some groups within the Church give too exclusive a stress to tradition, to the detriment of reason and experience. —Timothy Radcliffe, OP

    “Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition lives in conversation with the past, while remembering where we are and when we are and that it is we who have to decide.
    Traditionalism supposes that nothing should ever be done for the first time, so all that is needed to solve any problem is to arrive at the supposedly unanimous testimony of this homogenized tradition.” –Jaroslav Pelikan

  • Carol

    Why we should not confuse Christianity with Churchianity:

    http://ncronline.org/node/42506/

    http://www.cta-usa.org/Reprint200412/Estes200412.html

  • Carol

    Steve & Brigitte,
    FYI:

    The Writer’s Almanac for January 12, 2013

    It’s the birthday of John Winthrop, born in Suffolk, England (1588). He is best known as the Puritan governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the leader of The Winthrop Fleet of 1630, the largest fleet of Englishmen ever to depart for the New World.
    Winthrop was a deeply religious man, and he believed that the Anglican Church needed to rid itself of Catholic ceremonies. He and his followers decided to leave England because they thought that God would punish their country for this heresy, and they thought they would be safe in the New World.
    He was elected governor of the colony before their departure in 1630, and he was re-elected several times after they had arrived in the New World. As governor, he tried to keep the number of executions for heresy to a minimum, and he opposed the veiling of women, which many colonists supported.

    ***

    Executions for heresy??? Veiling of women???

    That sounds like Islam!!!!!!!!


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