God’s Bible

God's Bible cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward
“God’s Bible” (ink on paper, 8″x8″)

Someone might respond with, “The word of the Lord lasts forever” (1 Peter 1:25). But we all know that’s not talking about the bible. It’s talking about what is True. What is Reality.

That-Which-We-Call-God doesn’t have a favorite translation, doesn’t use the red-letter edition, doesn’t read it every day or any day.

That-Which-We-Call-God doesn’t have a bible.

Which is why in the cartoon God is laughing his head off, along with all kinds of other reasons.

Purchase my art, including cartoons, paintings, drawings and prints!

"Nice vid David - hilarious! We'll miss you and wish you all the best! (and ..."

nakedpastor’s goodbye video to patheos
"Good idea! I look forward to exciting developments at your own site. I like Patheos, ..."

nakedpastor’s goodbye video to patheos

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • True!

    The Bible was a re-calibration of that preached Word. But it certainly is one of the earthen vessels that God uses. Along with preaching, teaching, Baptism and Holy Communion, and the consolation of the brethren.

  • Gary

    Love it David.

  • Jana

    Love it!!!!

  • roger flyer

    So that you aren’t heretical :), could you connect the ‘three-in-one’ God with a ‘substance’ (a skinny line will do) ?

  • roger flyer

    Steve Martin-
    Wait. The ‘consolidation of the brethren?’ Are you punctuating that with your banjo?:)

  • roger flyer


  • John Sennett

    Another Great one, David.

  • Where’s that darn “like” button when you need it!

  • I wonder if God speaks in Bible verses quoted with an extremely serious and yet pitiful look.

    I suspect not!

  • Carol

    How easily we turn a “means of grace” into an object to worship.

    We usually think of “idols” as something sinful; but it is the “good” that is more likely to become the enemy of the best.

    Bibliolatry and ecclesiolatry are seldom recognized as spiritual disorders within formal religious institutions.

  • Brigitte

    Small problem: you are not in heaven and you are not a prophet. And your various “experiences” of “god” (or whatever–could be your dinner or what you smoked) are really quite irrelevant to me unless you come to political power, like a fascist might and your mythos becomes my state religion, as has happened before, and we now have to eliminate people because of dissent or racial inferioity or whatever the ideology might demand. Ah, no thanks I’ll stick with my Bible and the Ten Commandments and sin and grace. There I know where I’m at. Call it a box if you must.

  • Carol

    The problem is that we don’t know where we’re at; and so much of our religion gives us the illusion that we do. Not only that, we think we know where others are at and unless it is a place that makes life good for us, we demonize and accuse them of not doing the will of God.

    Becoming a Christian is not so much inviting Christ into one’s life as getting oneself into Christ’s life. ~Orthodox Study Bible

    Underlying Themes of Richard Rohr’s Teachings #8

    Both Groups Used (or Ignored)
    Scripture Inside of a Small Self Number 8 of 57

    Thomas Merton said it was actually dangerous to put the Scriptures in the hands of people whose inner self is not yet sufficiently awakened to encounter the Spirit, because they will try to use God for their own egocentric purposes. (This is why religion is so subject to corruption!) Now, if we are going to talk about conversion and penance, let me apply that to the two major groups that have occupied Western Christianity—Catholics and Protestants. Neither one has really let the Word of God guide their lives.

    Catholics need to be converted to giving the Scriptures some actual authority in their lives. Luther wasn’t wrong when he said that most Catholics did not read the Bible. Most Catholics are still not that interested in the Bible. (Historically they did not have the printing press, nor could most people read, so you can’t blame them entirely.) I have been a priest for 42 years now, and I would sadly say that most Catholics would rather hear quotes from saints, Popes, and bishops, the current news, or funny stories, if they are to pay attention. If I quote strongly from the Sermon on the Mount, they are almost throwaway lines. I can see Catholics glaze over because they have never read the New Testament, much less studied it, or been guided by it. I am very sad to have to admit this. It is the Achilles heel of much of the Catholic world, priests included. (The only good thing about it is that they never fight you like Protestants do about Scripture. They are easily duped, and the hierarchy has been able to take advantage of this.)

    If Catholics need to be converted, Protestants need to do penance. Their shout of “sola Scriptura” (only Scripture) has left them at the mercy of their own cultures, their own limited education, their own prejudices, and their own selective reading of some texts while avoiding others. Partly as a result, slavery, racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, and homophobia have lasted authoritatively into our time—by people who claim to love Jesus! I think they need to do penance for what they have often done with the Bible! They largely interpreted the Bible in a very individualistic and otherworldly way. It was “an evacuation plan for the next world” to use Brian McLaren’s phrase—and just for their group. Most of Evangelical Protestantism has no cosmic message, no social message, and little sense of social justice or care for the outsider. Both Catholics and Protestants (Orthodox too!) found a way to do our own thing while posturing friendship with Jesus.

    Adapted from the webcast A Teaching on Wondrous Encounters (CD, DVD, MP3)


  • Carol

    Brigitte, BTW it is not necessary to ingest natural or synthetic chemicals to have an illusory spiritual experience.

    I’ve known people to get spiritually high on bible texts, hymns, praying, the *testimonies* of others, etc.

    “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” –Oswald Chambers

    “All truly contemplative souls have this in common: not that they gather exclusively in the desert, or that they shut themselves up in reclusion, but that where He is, there they are. And how do they find Him? By technique? There is no technique for finding Him. They find Him by His will. And His will, bringing them grace within and arranging their lives exteriorly, carries them infallibly to the precise place in which they can find Him. Even there they do not know how they have got there, or what they are really doing.” ~Thomas Merton. Thoughts in Solitude

    “Knowing that you do not know is the beginning of wisdom.” ~Socrates

    “Fundamentalism, I believe, appeals to people who need rigid structures and uncomplicated explanations of faith. … Essentially, then the attraction of fundamentalism is psychological, not theological.” –Fr. Joseph Breighner

    “People have bought into Fundamentalism, with the accent not on the fun, so their universe can be explained and outlined to them. You know, here’s your manual for being alive – follow these rules exactly. It’s a way of pathological safety. ~Steve Bhaerman, The Translucent Revolution

    “Fundamentalism is the antithesis of any religion’s orthodoxy thus not even a property of Christianity. There is a fundamentalist version of every religion.
    Christian fundamentalism is gnostic and narcissistic, and thus not orthodox. It’s heretical. A heresy is by definition not a property of orthodoxy.” –Rev. Ken Collins

    “Fundamentalism isn’t about religion, it’s about power.” –Salman Rushdie

  • @ David:
    When this popped up on my smartphone it put a huge smile on my face. It is so perfect. It cuts at the heart of most of religion and yet is inclusive enough to join different beliefs. Superbly done. Fantastic.

    Tom Rees, at my favorite religious research site, Epiphenom, just put out a one page summary of what research has shown us about the religious mind in 2012. He summarizes each of his 70 posts from this year in one short page.

    Anyway, one paragraph states:

    “On an international level, education may be one of the most important factors explaining the falling away of religion – although once a high level of disbelief has been achieved, it seems that the main effect is to change the kind of god people believe in.”

    People sympathetic to your writings and cartoons have had their god altered over the years — some by education, some by experiences or both. Such an experience is unsettling because one if forced to realizing that the
    “relationship” one has with a “god” is a relationship to concepts in your head which can change radically. Your “relationship” to god is clearly a relationship to yourself. This insight is unnerving. Some create very complex theologies to absorb that, others completely leave their faith. But either way, “God” changes. One of those changes is to see that God does not have a Bible.

    Nicely done — I took it farther than you have, of course. But that is what comment threads are for, eh? 🙂

    Happy New Year again!

    Ah yes, to religious folks I highly recommend following Epiphenom. But beware, it will increase education and we know what that can do! 🙂

    Even more, I recommend Epiphenom to non-believers, it helps them understand that all of us have a religious mind – it is just a matter of how we use or don’t use it.

  • Carol, I agree with you on the opinion that most Catholics don’t read their bibles and most don’t understand that works doesn’t get them into heaven, faith in Jesus Christ and repentance does.

    As far as protestants and those who claim to be Christians…Christians are just forgiven, not perfect. They still have a sin nature, still sin, and must fight the tendencies to be assholes, jerks and nut jobs every day. I know. I’m one of them! The good news is that those who take Jesus Christ literally and seriously ARE working on changing themselves.

    The New Testament has many incidences of both Apostles and Disciples being assholes, jerks and narcissists…like Luke 9:54 and James and John (remember them? The mama’s boys? Their mother asked Jesus if they could sit at his right and left hands in heaven) They get all uptight and indignant and say, “Shall we call down fire from heaven and destroy them?” referring to unbelieving Samaritans. Their hearts were full of ambition, arrogance and pride – much like most Christians (self included) today. And they WALKED, TALKED and LIVED with Christ himself!!

    After Christ died and rose again and the Holy Spirit touched and indwelt believers the Apostles still bickered and fought among themselves. So, if the very men who lived with God and Christ and were indwelt with the Holy Spirit were jerks from time to time, there’s not much hope that things have changed all that much. Rather than base our belief on the way believers act, it’s so much better to base it on whether or not Jesus was who he said he was, and did what he said he did. NONE of us is going to be much to look at until he transforms us at the rapture. Until then, we should be ecstatic that HE loved us just as we are, sinners and sh** heads that we can all be, and died for us. THAT is true mercy and compassion and the gift of a lifetime – literally.

  • Brigitte

    Sabio, you must be the first educated person in the world. Carol, Rushdie is right when he speaks about Islam. It is coming to me overnight that Islam easily fits into some definitions of fascism. Going back to bed.

  • Carol


    “Beware your enemy for he is the one you will become most like.” ~ Source Unknown


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Christofascism (the name being a portmanteau of Christianity and Fascism) is a concept in Christian theology first mentioned by Dorothee Sölle, a Christian theologian and writer, in her book Beyond Mere Obedience: Reflections on a Christian Ethic for the Future in 1970.[1][2][3] To Sölle, Christofascism was caused by the embracing of authoritarian theology by the Christian church. According to Sölle, it is an arrogant, totalitarian, imperialistic attitude, characteristic of the church in Germany under Nazism, that she believed to be alive and well in the theological scene of the late 20th and turn of the 21st century.[4][5] Usage of the term became much more prominent in 2006–8,[6] as a backlash against increasing usage of the word “Islamofascism” by conservatives in the USA such as David Horowitz.[7]

    Christianity and Fascism
    Christians have been desperate to distance themselves from European fascism and Nazism, and apologists like to argue that fascist leaders were not practising Christians. Yet, all the Nazi leaders were born, baptized, and raised Christian, mainly in authoritarian, pious households where tolerance and democratic values were not valued. Catholic Nazis, besides Hitler, included Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, and Joseph Goebbels. Hermann Goering had mixed Catholic-Protestant parentage, while Rudolf Hess, Martin Bormann, Albert Speer, and Adolf Eichmann had Protestant backgrounds. Roughly two-thirds of German Christians repeatedly voted for candidates who promised to overthrow democracy. Protestants had given the Nazi party its main backing leading up to 1933. Evangelical youth was especially pro-Nazi. 90 percent of Protestant university theologians supported the Nazis. Christians were Nazis and took part in Nazi atrocities. Any who turned to outright criticism of fascism made their last appeals from the death cell.

    The Rise of Christian Fascism and Its Threat to American Democracy
    February 7, 2007 |
    Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, told his students that when we were his age — he was then close to 80 — we would all be fighting the “Christian fascists.”

    The warning, given 25 years ago, came at the moment Pat Robertson and other radio and television evangelists began speaking about a new political religion that would direct its efforts toward taking control of all institutions, including mainstream denominations and the government. Its stated goal was to use the United States to create a global Christian empire. This call for fundamentalists and evangelicals to take political power was a radical and ominous mutation of traditional Christianity. It was hard, at the time, to take such fantastic rhetoric seriously, especially given the buffoonish quality of those who expounded it. But Adams warned us against the blindness caused by intellectual snobbery. The Nazis, he said, were not going to return with swastikas and brown shirts. Their ideological inheritors had found a mask for fascism in the pages of the Bible.

    He was not a man to use the word fascist lightly. He had been in Germany in 1935 and 1936 and worked with the underground anti-Nazi church, known as the Confessing Church, led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Adams was eventually detained and interrogated by the Gestapo, who suggested he might want to consider returning to the United States. It was a suggestion he followed. He left on a night train with framed portraits of Adolf Hitler placed over the contents of his suitcases to hide the rolls of home-movie film he had taken of the so-called German Christian Church, which was pro-Nazi, and the few individuals who defied the Nazis, including the theologians Karl Barth and Albert Schweitzer. The ruse worked when the border police lifted the tops of the suitcases, saw the portraits of the Führer and closed them up again. I watched hours of the grainy black-and-white films as he narrated in his apartment in Cambridge.

    Adams understood that totalitarian movements are built out of deep personal and economic despair. He warned that the flight of manufacturing jobs, the impoverishment of the American working class, the physical obliteration of communities in the vast, soulless exurbs and decaying Rust Belt, were swiftly deforming our society. The current assault on the middle class, which now lives in a world in which anything that can be put on software can be outsourced, would have terrified him. The stories that many in this movement told me over the past two years as I worked on “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” were stories of this failure — personal, communal and often economic. This despair, Adams said, would empower dangerous dreamers — those who today bombard the airwaves with an idealistic and religious utopianism that promises, through violent apocalyptic purification, to eradicate the old, sinful world that has failed many Americans.

    These Christian utopians promise to replace this internal and external emptiness with a mythical world where time stops and all problems are solved. The mounting despair rippling across the United States, one I witnessed repeatedly as I traveled the country, remains unaddressed by the Democratic Party, which has abandoned the working class, like its Republican counterpart, for massive corporate funding.

    The Christian right has lured tens of millions of Americans, who rightly feel abandoned and betrayed by the political system, from the reality-based world to one of magic — to fantastic visions of angels and miracles, to a childlike belief that God has a plan for them and Jesus will guide and protect them. This mythological worldview, one that has no use for science or dispassionate, honest intellectual inquiry, one that promises that the loss of jobs and health insurance does not matter, as long as you are right with Jesus, offers a lying world of consistency that addresses the emotional yearnings of desperate followers at the expense of reality. It creates a world where facts become interchangeable with opinions, where lies become true — the very essence of the totalitarian state. It includes a dark license to kill, to obliterate all those who do not conform to this vision, from Muslims in the Middle East to those at home who refuse to submit to the movement. And it conveniently empowers a rapacious oligarchy whose god is maximum profit at the expense of citizens.

    We now live in a nation where the top 1 percent control more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined, where we have legalized torture and can lock up citizens without trial. Arthur Schlesinger, in “The Cycles of American History,” wrote that “the great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights in the contemporary sense — not only for their acquiescence in poverty, inequality and oppression, but for their enthusiastic justification of slavery, persecution, torture and genocide.”

    Adams saw in the Christian right, long before we did, disturbing similarities with the German Christian Church and the Nazi Party, similarities that he said would, in the event of prolonged social instability or a national crisis, see American fascists rise under the guise of religion to dismantle the open society. He despaired of U.S. liberals, who, he said, as in Nazi Germany, mouthed silly platitudes about dialogue and inclusiveness that made them ineffectual and impotent. Liberals, he said, did not understand the power and allure of evil or the cold reality of how the world worked. The current hand-wringing by Democrats, with many asking how they can reach out to a movement whose leaders brand them “demonic” and “satanic,” would not have surprised Adams. Like Bonhoeffer, he did not believe that those who would fight effectively in coming times of turmoil, a fight that for him was an integral part of the biblical message, would come from the church or the liberal, secular elite.

    His critique of the prominent research universities, along with the media, was no less withering. These institutions, self-absorbed, compromised by their close relationship with government and corporations, given enough of the pie to be complacent, were unwilling to deal with the fundamental moral questions and inequities of the age. They had no stomach for a battle that might cost them their prestige and comfort. He told me, I suspect half in jest, that if the Nazis took over America “60 percent of the Harvard faculty would begin their lectures with the Nazi salute.” But this too was not an abstraction. He had watched academics at the University of Heidelberg, including the philosopher Martin Heidegger, raise their arms stiffly to students before class.

    Two decades later, even in the face of the growing reach of the Christian right, his prediction seems apocalyptic. And yet the powerbrokers in the Christian right have moved from the fringes of society to the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Forty-five senators and 186 members of the House before the last elections earned approval ratings of 80 to100 percent from the three most influential Christian right advocacy groups — the Christian Coalition, Eagle Forum, and Family Resource Council. President Bush has handed hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid to these groups and dismantled federal programs in science, reproductive rights and AIDS research to pay homage to the pseudo-science and quackery of the Christian right.

    Bush will, I suspect, turn out to be no more than a weak transition figure, our version of Otto von Bismarck — who also used “values” to energize his base at the end of the 19th century and launched “Kulturkampf,” the word from which we get culture wars, against Catholics and Jews. Bismarck’s attacks, which split Germany and made the discrediting of whole segments of the society an acceptable part of the civil discourse, paved the way for the Nazis’ more virulent racism and repression.

    The radical Christian right, calling for a “Christian state” — where whole segments of American society, from gays and lesbians to liberals to immigrants to artists to intellectuals, will have no legitimacy and be reduced, at best, to second-class citizens — awaits a crisis, an economic meltdown, another catastrophic terrorist strike or a series of environmental disasters. A period of instability will permit them to push through their radical agenda, one that will be sold to a frightened American public as a return to security and law and order, as well as moral purity and prosperity. This movement — the most dangerous mass movement in American history — will not be blunted until the growing social and economic inequities that blight this nation are addressed, until tens of millions of Americans, now locked in hermetic systems of indoctrination through Christian television and radio, as well as Christian schools, are reincorporated into American society and given a future, one with hope, adequate wages, job security and generous federal and state assistance.

    The unchecked rape of America, which continues with the blessing of both political parties, heralds not only the empowerment of this American oligarchy but the eventual death of the democratic state and birth of American fascism.

    Source URL: http://www.alternet.org/story/47679/the_rise_of_christian_fascism_and_its_threat_to_american_democracy

  • @ Carol :
    Geeeeez, huge cut and paste — links are enough — don’t you think?

    @ Brigitte :
    Can’t tell what your sarcasm means. But you will have to argue with the statistics.
    BUT, just because the stats show a tendency, it may only point at one factor. Our minds are formed by multi-factoral demographics. Understanding this complexity itself is one of the educational influences that CAN be undermining to religious thinking.

    You can be highly educated and still religious. The stats only reveal part of the causality.

  • Carol

    Sabio, links are usually sufficient. I guess I got carried away with Brigitte’s “Christians aren’t perfect” while Islamic believers are fascists comparison.

    Double standards always hit my hot button.

    Religious sectarianism is just tribalism cloaked in God-words, IMO. They may be bastards; but they are our bastards, so they get a pass just doesn’t fly with me.

    If a post seems too long to you, try scrolling down or hitting the delete button. Just a suggestion.

  • Brigitte

    Carol, you and your sources are wrong, very wrong. “Nazi Christians” were of “German Faith ” , which was pagan and full of the feeling of what they called ” gottergriffenheit” ( grasped by God ). They thoroughly hated conservative Christianity and oppressed it the best they could. They employed a kind of double-speak. They were mythical in orientation and their followers today still employ similar tactics of hate. We should be very wary of it.

  • @ Brigitte :
    Your comment made me think of an interesting German film I watched called “The Ninth Day” about Catholic priest and other Christian cleric imprisoned and killed by the Nazis. Hitler used religion to manipulate to his ends as many have before him. Interestingly, the movie is based on the priest’s diary. The strength of many Christians imprisoned is impressive. To bad so many Christians were OK with Jews being exterminated. Complicated — “being Christian” doesn’t tell us much. “Being a non-believer” doesn’t tell us much either. Tis the person we must see.

    I saw the through NetFlix. Thought you’d be interested.

  • Carol

    Brigitte, it is true that most of the German people did not overtly or even consciously, support the ideologies of Nazism.

    It is also true that their “Christian” faith was not mature or genuine enough to give them the courage to oppose a pagan government as the early Christians had when confronted with the barbaric injustices of the Roman Empire.

    There was a small Confessing Church whose members risked martyrdom–both “red” (death) and “white” (socioeconomic marginalization), but most German “Christians” were members of a Professing Church that supported the Third Reich while ignoring its genocidal policies because it offered a promising way out of the economic woes imposed on Germany by the peace treaty imposed after WWI.

    An excellent book on the complexities of the socioeconomic/political circumstances that brought the Nazis to power is They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45 ~Milton Mayer, author.

    An excerpt from the book is posted on this website:


  • Carol

    Brigitte, whatever else his theological errors might have been (and there are some), Luther was no bibliolater:


    Luther’s canon is the name of the biblical canon attributed to Martin Luther, which has influenced Protestants since the 16th century Protestant Reformation. As of today, it is the official canon of the Lutheran Church. It differs from the 1546 Roman Catholic canon of the Council of Trent in that it rejects the Deuterocanon and questions the seven New Testament books, called “Luther’s Antilegomena”,[1] four of which are still ordered last in German-language Luther Bibles to this day.[2][3]

    Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation
    Main article: Antilegomena
    Luther made an attempt to remove the books of Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation from the canon (notably, he perceived them to go against certain Protestant doctrines such as sola gratia and sola fide), but this was not generally accepted among his followers. However, these books are ordered last in the German-language Luther Bible to this day.[4]

    If Luther’s negative view of these books were based only upon the fact that their canonicity was disputed in early times, 2 Peter might have been included among them, because this epistle was doubted more than any other in ancient times. However, the prefaces that Luther affixed to these four books makes it evident that his low view of them was more due to his theological reservations than with any historical investigation of the canon.

    Luther’s views on James
    In his book Basic Theology, Charles Caldwell Ryrie countered the claim that Luther rejected the Book of James as being canonical.[5] In his preface to the New Testament, Luther ascribed to the several books of the New Testament different degrees of doctrinal value: “St. John’s Gospel and his first Epistle, St. Paul’s Epistles, especially those to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and St. Peter’s Epistle-these are the books which show to thee Christ, and teach everything that is necessary and blessed for thee to know, even if you were never to see or hear any other book of doctrine. Therefore, St. James’ Epistle is a perfect straw-epistle compared with them, for it has in it nothing of an evangelic kind.” Thus Luther was comparing (in his opinion) doctrinal value, not canonical validity.

    However, Ryrie’s theory is countered by other Biblical scholars, including William Barclay, who note that Luther stated plainly, if not bluntly: “I think highly of the epistle of James, and regard it as valuable although it was rejected in early days. It does not expound human doctrines, but lays much emphasis on God’s law. …I do not hold it to be of apostolic authorship.”[6]

    Sola fide doctrine
    Main article: Sola fide
    In The Protestant Spirit of Luther’s Version, Philip Schaff asserts that:

    “ The most important example of dogmatic influence in Luther’s version is the famous interpolation of the word alone in Rom. 3:28 (allein durch den Glauben), by which he intended to emphasize his solifidian doctrine of justification, on the plea that the German idiom required the insertion for the sake of clearness. But he thereby brought Paul into direct verbal conflict with James, who says (James 2:24), “by works a man is justified, and not only by faith” (“nicht durch den Glauben allein”). It is well known that Luther deemed it impossible to harmonize the two apostles in this article, and characterized the Epistle of James as an “epistle of straw,” because it had no evangelical character (“keine evangelische Art”).[7]

    See Also:


  • Sabio, thank you very much for the recommendation. I will watch it on Netflix.

    Lately, through our severe winter, my husband and I have taken to watching Netflix on our I-pads while on the exercise machines, getting less and less motivated to go outside and slip-slide on the sidewalks or drag oneself to the gym.

    I also have remembered something else you’ve said about people not exercising before it’s too late, Sabio. It stuck with me. Thanks.

  • Dear Carol, please don’t lecture me on Luther or Germans. If you have a particular point to make, just make it and we can discuss it. I have links on my blog about antilegoumena, etc., if that is something you are interested in. The stuff you post is such a hodge-podge. You will understand that this is frustrating to discuss.

  • Carol

    Brigitte, it is not my intention to “lecture”; but to share the sources that have formed my opinions.

    What is “hodge-podge” to you are the details that form the “big picture” to me. I guess our brains must be wired differently. I am a dynamic/process thinker who tends to connect the dots, not a static/discreet data thinker.

    We are in the midst of a paradigm shift in human consciousness which accounts for much of the polarization in world views. That is why so many people can no longer relate to the dogma/doctrine of the Church as it has been traditionally expressed.

    The cultural disagreements of the past used to be about simply about WHAT we think as a result of our subjective experiences. Now they are also about HOW we think, a much more complex problem. Behind many conceptual differences there is a cognitive divide: static vs. dynamic, reductionistic vs. holistic, discrete data vs. process, etc.

    “You cannot claim absolute finality for a dogma without claiming a commensurate finality for the sphere of thought within which it arose. If the dogmas of the Christian Church from the second to the sixth century centuries express finally and sufficiently the truths concerning the topics about which they deal, then the Greek philosophy of that period had developed a system of ideas of equal finality. You cannot limit the inspiration to a narrow circle of creeds. A dogma – in the sense of a precise statement – can never be final; it can only be adequate in its adjustment of certain abstract concepts…. Progress in truth – truth of science and truth of religion – is mainly a progress in the framing of concepts, in discarding artificial abstractions or partial metaphors, and in evolving notions which strike more deeply into the root of reality.” –Alfred North Whitehead

    I have always been facinated by the affect the Shoah had on people. Although most who survived the Nazi ethnic cleansing policies were permanently wounded, there are a few who were were tempered like fine steel by their suffering. Same experience, totally different result. Sometimes the difference can be explained by a strong religious belief; but not always. There are secular Jews and others who became deeply humanitarian as a result of their intense experience of evil without the obvious influence of faith.

  • Brigitte

    Carol, how are you going to get at the “big picture” when you are just cutting and pasting from all over the place avoiding all systematics? How are you going to get the big picture when you are wrong so often? As you just were pinning National Socialism on confessing Christianity. This is a facile handling of history, but famous people like Hitchens have indulged in it also. We know there is lots of company. This is just an example. In essence, however, this method betrays an eclecticism which is opportunistic, picking and choosing what one likes–today and changing as necessary. At the very bottom of is the rejection of substitutionary atonement, which you have already clearly rejected. That’s what it is really about. The “big picture” is this: God could not have said this. God could not have done this and meant this. God could not have become man and died for a sinner like you and me.–But this is exactly it. He said it, he meant it and he did it. If you are going to pass this by, you will have missed what matters most. In him you have the foundation.

  • “The Ninth Day” is no longer on Netflix, but can be had on CinemaDen if one becomes a member, which I didn’t do, seeing they were pretty unclear in their advertising. Amazon has reviews and Youtube has a 13 min. introduction. http://www.amazon.com/The-Ninth-Day-Ulrich-Matthes/product-reviews/B000BB1NTU/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

    What astounds me about the comments on Amazon is that two themes emerge. One that the film has incredible depth and why can’t Americans make movies like Germans. And second was amazement that Germans can take such a hard look at themselves finally. The latter to me is kind of sad, because Germany has had contrition and mea-culpas and kneeling on the ground for this for nearly 60 years now.

    In any case, however, I am trying to point out, that National Socialism was in no way, shape or form a Christian movement. There were ways to make Jesus into an Aryan and perhaps palpable, and so you could call yourself a German Christian. There were all kinds of movements and religion-wise the whole thing was a mess. I know from my own relatives what kind of pressure was put on them to quit the church and take the oath of the party. You lost your job and worse. Aryanism is aligned with pantheism and paganism, religiously speaking, though it tried to put on a Christian veneer here and there and also tried its best to corrupt the church as can be seen by the Ninth Day.

  • I watch tons of foreign films — and the best way to do that is get DVDs by mail, which we do — in addition to streaming. So “The Ninth Day” IS available on Netflix if you get mailed discs.

    I agree — I see Germans taking a much better hard look at themselves than Japanese, for instance.

    I agree that movements USE religion — to hug trees, stop abortions, support Israel, Vegetarianism, Social Darwinism and much more. Hell, the early church used it to set up socialism which failed and many tried to mimic the early church’s mistake. Religion is a tool — clear as a bell. And tools can be used well or poorly.

  • Carol

    Brigitte, America was often believed to be an ethnic mixing pot; but a renewed mass interest in our “roots” has turned us into more of a stewpot than a mixing pot.

    My maternal Grandfather is German. My maternal Grandmother is Welsh/Celtic mix. My paternal Grandfather is English with a bit of Dutch and my paternal Grandmother is English whose ancesters were already in America before the Revolutionary War.

    With a genetic mix like that, I never acquired a strong European ethnic identity. I am pure American mongrel, one quarter German, one quarter Welsh/Celtic Mix, three eighths English and one eighth Dutch.

    I appreciate the strengths of my ethnic genetic heritage; but also recognize the corresponding faults/weaknesses. The problem is that what is a “strength” under one set of circumstances can be a “fault/weakness’ under another. Who has not heard the phrase “kind” or “generous” to a fault. The hero on the battlefield is often the abuser/bully in the home.

    I never equated Christianity with German Nazism. Whenever a formal/organized religious Tradition becomes a civil religion it becomes corrupted by tribalism, gingoistic nationalism and ethnic personality traits.

    “Christianity” and most of the people whose theological/spiritual formation occured in State Churches in Europe, including Germany was corrupted by nationalism and mixed with the pagan myths that also supported gingoistic nationalism.

    It is no different from the corruption of Islam by Middle Eastern tribalism. To claim that Islam is more fascist than, say, Italian Catholicism or German Nazism is simply unhistorical.

    It was Islam and Judaism that relieved the Dark Ages of European Christianity through the theology of Thomas Aquinas who studied the philosphical thought of Mamonides the Jew and Averroes the Islamic philosopher.

    BTW, the dark side of the German character are tendencies toward authoritarianism and conformity. My mother told me that her father forbid any conversation at the dinner table. Her elder sister, a bit of a rebel, spoke once and he threw his bowl of soup at her. She ducked and it hit the wall. Her mother was so angry that she didn’t clean up the mess for almost a week. My maternal grandmother passed before I was born; but whenever my mother’s siblings spoke of her their faces and voices softened. Whenever they spoke of their father their voices and faces hardened.

    Of course, there are Germans and then there are Germans. My grandfather probably had more jackbooted Prussian than beer garden Bavarian in him.

  • Carol

    Sabio, comparing the Germans to the Japanese in WWII is comparing apples to oranges.

    The Japanese were reacting to the expansion of the United States and European interests in the Asian Pacific. If they had won the war American influence in the Philipines would have been virtually wiped out and Hawaii would not have become an American state.

    The Germans were not just attempting to extend their Empire into all of Europe, they were conducting an ethnic cleansing on minorities that were German citizens.

  • @Carol,
    Nah, it is comparing Germans to Japanese! 🙂
    Really, so the German situation was ethnic cleansing and had no economic component. Wow, not how I read history. But I won’t debate that here. I’ll have to take your class sometime.

    I am not feeling argumentative here today — you can keep going with Brigitte. I was simply sharing with her a film I enjoyed.

  • Carol

    Where did I claim that there was “no economic component” in the German motivation?

    I merely pointed out a major difference. There is AlWAYS an economic motive driving pragmatic political strategies. Politics, although policies may be cloaked in values-laden principles, is always about interests, not values–who gets what, when and how. That is why it is necessary to “follow the money trail” to cut through the partisan “spin.”

    The good news is that, although short term interests and values tend to conflict; long term interests and values tend to converge. Our great statesmen, as opposed to the current crop of celebrity politicians, have always crafted policies that were guided by long term vision rather than short term advantage.

    Sabio, I wish you would just address what I have posted instead of attributing statements to me that I have not made, setting up an easily discredited strawman that redefines and distracts from the original issue.

  • Wow, Carol, you are in rare form.
    You have the podium. Go girl!

  • Carol


    Argumentum Ad-hominem: Shoot the messenger fallacy.
    This is a common logical fallacy. Argumentum ad hominem basically means that the argument becomes directed towards the individual as opposed towards the crucial issues being discussed. It is succinctly described as, attack the messenger not the message (hence – shoot the messenger). It is often seen in both politics and pseudoscience. Its aim is to undermine the position of ones opponent, by undermining the opponent personally (in a manner that is actually completely irrelevant to the debate). The hope here is that if one can discredit the individual, this by default, discredits his / her argument. It does not. The fallacy here relates to the irrelevance of the attack. It is not viable to argue against a position and then justify that argument by criticising the individual who holds it. Arguing that the proposals from the Educational minister are unlikely to work because he / she have no children of their own is hardly convincing. Furthermore, saying that Einstein or Darwin were selfish men does nothing to discredit the theories of Relativity and Evolution. They may have been the most selfish or the most unselfish of men, but this is an irrelevance as to the ‘truth’ of their scientific claims. Similarly, a cognitive neuroscientific account of strange experiences (i.e., near-death experiences) is not incorrect simply because the scientist proposing it is a skeptic. These are all examples of the ad-hominem fallacy. Any claim or theory should not be rejected solely on the basis of who holds it.

  • Take it away, Carol!
    And to think I just came to share a movie. 🙂

  • Oh, Netflix disc sending. I haven’t looked into that. I wonder if we get that here.

    You are right Carol, about the problems with the state church. It had for sometime not been allowed to stand on its confession with the Prussian king forcing a uniting of Reformed and Lutheran churches, and liberal theology coming along and really allowing no confession or standing on the truth of testaments. The Catholic church comes along and says, see it’s better to have a pope and a papal state… Church and state is always a tension.