does religion inflict suffering then offer the cure?

religion inflicts suffering then offers the cure cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

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I saw this quote by Jon Stewart:

“Religion: It’s given people hope in world torn apart by religion.”

I can hear somebody now saying that we just need to give people Jesus. But I suggest you can’t just give anybody Jesus because you aren’t just delivering the product but the packaging. As soon as you touch it, it changes into something else with it’s own wrapping, instructions, expiry date, outlets and price.

Some like to say that this is the way it should be: preach the law to convict people of their sin, then preach grace to rescue them from it.

I say skip the middle man. We’re already there.

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.

  • Pat68

    Kind of like crooked mechanics: you take your car in to be fixed and they rig up something else so that you have to come back in to get the “new problem” fixed.

  • Shary Hauber

    It is strange that through out history. Religion of all kinds have inflicted pain on the other. The other have found comfort in religion. Very strange how we humans think. I don’t know if it can be changed, but it is good to try to stop the giving of pain to others.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    Wrong wrong wrong wrong.

    “Faith comes by hearing.”
    “How can they hear if they do not have a preacher.”

    We aren’t “already there”. It’s a process. St. Paul says, “For those of us who are BEING SAVED…”

    We constantly walk away from Jesus. We need to be kept in faith. We need a lifetime of preaching and of receiving His Supper.

    Do many churches screw this up? No doubt. But that doesn’t negate the fact that the job still needs to be done?

  • Brigitte

    “’Confess your faults one to another’” (Jas. 5:16). He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship,common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. This pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. so we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners! But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you. He wants you as you are; He does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; He wants you alone. “My son, give me thine heart” (Prov. 23:26). God has come to you to save the sinner. Be glad! This message is liberation through truth. You can hide nothing from God. The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him. He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to on lying to yourself and your brothers, as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner. Thank God for that; He loves the sinner but He hates sin.”
    –Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I’m not sure about religion in general, but I definitely think this is true about Christianity in particular. Step one convince people that they are broken fallen people in need of being saved by some outside agent, Step two provide a system where this outside agent can do the saving.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    Brigitte, ironically your choice of quoted passage put in words exactly what David’s drawing was about.

  • Al Cruise

    Steve finally I agree with you, “How can they they hear if they do not have a preacher” That’s the problem there just aren’t any. [ at best very, very, very few]. By there fruits you will know them.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    You are right, Al.

    Most preachers do not understand how to preach, and what they should preach. And so they default to putting the lash on the backs of those in the pews.

  • Al Cruise

    Exactly, { sorry David your probably going to be angry with me for this} David is one of the very few today who know how to preach. A preacher must seek the truth. Dallas Willard used to say ” I’m sure Jesus is the kind of person who would be the first to say you must ruthlessly follow the truth wherever it leads.” The pursuing and telling of the truth has moved from the pulpit and building, to social media and the electronic device. Many are having a hard time accept this but look at history and how things become obsolete. Right now there are approx 70 million smart phones and tablets being sold in a month. People can communicate in a way that was never possible. People will chose to communicate with someone who is loving and caring for their Spiritual direction even though they might be miles away from them, over someone who stands in front of them Sunday morning who only wants to judge and control them. In the horse and buggy days there were blacksmith shops everywhere, now you see them mostly in theme parks. If there is one thing history shows is that people are always adapting to a new way.

  • http://nakedpastor.com/ nakedpastor

    Not angry :)

  • klhayes

    This explains why Christians in power have convinced their followers to fear the government…they warn them of dependency on the government but have no problem with them being dependent on the church.

  • mteston1

    In my experience from early on as a teen I began to pick up on this duplicitous message. Early on one needed to acknowledge their “sin.” Then “repent” or turn in a new direction. Then this was where it got well . . . quite confusing. Grace was extended to forgive but at the end of the day, you would remain the same miserable piece of garbage as before. All of a sudden a “bait and switch.” The early impulse I had to actually “change/repent” and be the human being I was created to be, loving and caring, was now met with, “you can’t really change, and any effort on your part to change, well thats a form of ‘work’s righteousness.’” Ugggggggggggggg! You’ll always be a “sinner.” Uggggggggggggggg! My desire to come to faith was around my deep desire not to be a miserable piece of garbage. Now I’m really confused. In my reading of the Jesus narratives, it appeared to me to be that Jesus got into some serious hot water because he extended a kind of grace that both forgave and changed the trajectory of a person’s life. No longer a need to “sacrifice” at the temple, ie. breaking the financial back of a religious system that paralyzed those coming with shame, guilt, helplessness, and hopelessness. But hey, what do I know.

  • Brigitte

    The thing is many of us know deep down that we are broken people. This is why religion always resonates. This is why we have laws in the country. etc. We have these needs built in. It is not an artificial construct.

  • Brigitte

    In the “simul justus et peccator” paradigm (at the same time sinner and saint, and completely both) we realize that we are completely accepted by God as we are, broken will and execution and all, yet we are in the continual race and struggle, keep working and trying… In the Lord’s Supper we find our regular grace and forgiveness and getting up to try again. Grace is the daily bread. The need for it never goes away.


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