Belief or Deed

Belief or Deed May 9, 2011

Faith without works is dead. (Saint James)

Believing something is nothing without the corresponding action. James says that even the devil believes. The problem is in the deed. The deed.

Add on top of the belief the talk of the belief without the action… that’s even more diabolical. It’s a false boast in the nothing. It is a beautiful façade attempting to conceal the falsity of the nothing.

Because without the corresponding deed the talk about the nothing is pretension. To say one thing while doing another exposes the hypocrisy. One might believe their belief is admirable and therefore boast about it. But this only publishes the lie.

Anyone with any discernment will detect this. It is very very simple: if we say one thing but do another, proclaim one thing but practice another, promise one thing but legislate another… then we are lying. Plain and simple.

So if we say that our slaves are equal but still overwork them, own them, mistreat them, and grossly underpay them, then we still deep down believe in, endorse, support and promote slavery. If we say women should share power but they don’t, then our words are nothing more than peacock feathers. If we say that gays are equal but refuse them equal opportunity, block them from leadership, withhold certain privileges, and restrict their voice, then we unveil our true beliefs of inequality and injustice.

In other words, unless our beliefs form policies that stimulate justice, then they aren’t real. They are nothing.

*My cartoon is an older one from a couple of years ago.

(You can buy many of my original cartoons, or prints of them. Just contact me.)

I already have a book of cartoons. For just $9, order Nakedpastor101: Cartoons by David Hayward“, from amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.de.


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  • Great post and love the cartoon! We met briefly over a year ago at a teacher conference in Fredericton! Keep up the great work!

  • nathan: we met?

  • MLE

    “It is a beautiful façade attempting to conceal the falsity of the nothing.”

    Burn.

    David, your words cut to the quick. In a good way.

  • Diggin’ the James reference. We are going through James right now at my church (Solomon’s Porch MPLS).

  • thanks MLE. i like “Burn”!

  • you’re at solomon’s porch? say hi to Doug! we met in Haiti!

  • MLE

    Also, could I perchance use the quote below for the “Thought of the Day” bit of my blog (giving you credit, of course)?

    Believing something is nothing without the corresponding action. James says that even the devil believes. The problem is in the deed. The deed.

    Add on top of the belief the talk of the belief without the action… that’s even more diabolical. It’s a false boast in the nothing. It is a beautiful façade attempting to conceal the falsity of the nothing.

  • I remember passing by an old German church in Toronto that had an english service as well. They wanted everyone to know that all were welcome but listed their worship times as follows–

    Deutsches Gottesdienst 9am
    English Gottesdienst 10:30am

    Hilarious, but sad! No deed indeed.

  • This smacks of “love the sinner, hate the sin” biz I (and a host of others) bought into in the early ’90s. I’ve now come to realize that “Love Wins” and you show your love not with your creeds but your actual deeds.

    What you’re finding in the author/speaker world of progressive evangelicalism is a host of speakers who fell from grace so they can bring in an Zizek inspired new form of Christianity where love wins — but do the math and it’s clear that the funding streams and power lie with the white straight males.

    Here’s a reply Sojourners gave when they were pushed about their refusal to run an ad from Believe Out Loud that wanted to welcome gay families to church on Mother’s Day … http://blog.sojo.net/2011/05/09/love-comes-first/

    Full of nice soundbites but in the words of a famous ’80s era Wendy’s commercial … Where’s the Beef?

  • Here is a follow-up posting that Sojourners just did – http://blog.sojo.net/2011/05/09/a-statement-on-sojourners-mission-and-lgbtq-issues/

    I kid you not.

  • Yes! I was the invited keynote speaker from U of T that spoke at the Pride in Education conference in November 2009. You and your (maybe daughter?) was it approached me after and told me about your blog (and also about a cool button she had forgotten to bring!)

  • hm. i wasn’t there.

  • That’s strange… I even have the piece of paper you wrote it down on! Maybe it was one of your fans and I just mistook them for being you? It’s been awhile now…

  • i can’t imagine anyone posing as me. lol. what a thought! we should meet though nathan.

  • Ha! How horrible if my memory is serving me this badly… I’m not that old yet! That would be great. I’ll be back in the Maritimes next year in order to start my thesis work!

  • let’s do it. make sure you contact me.

  • Rod

    I couldn’t pass this by without commenting.

    ‘Love Wins’ is a statement based on a biblical (O.T and N.T) understanding of who God is. People cannot demand that the Church affirm social trends that are counter to living right within the righteousness of Christ. The same applies to the gay community – e.g.: a gay christian similar to a greedy christian are oxymorons.

    Furthermore, to disagree with someone and their ”chosen” behavior et.al does not equate to disrespect of that person or people group. There are way too many generalizations here. The Church needs to stand by the biblical text and the clear exegesis that outlines a persons rejection of grace by their abuse of it.

  • I think Naked Pastor and Nathan need to get a room maybe. 🙂 🙂

  • Javon

    “To believe in something,and not live it, is dishonest.”–Gandhi

  • Tolerance is not a gift to those being tolerated.

  • Since the Bible tells us that we are saved by grace through faith, not of works…then we are saved by belief, and not deeds.

    Christ dying for the ‘ungodly’ bears this out. He didn’t die for the godly…for they don’t need Him.

  • MLE

    Saved by grace, uh-huh, but shouldn’t our actions, individually and collectively, then reflect this change? If a transformation’s happened, then that will show in a person’s life, IMO. If we aren’t acting like we really believe these things, then do we really believe them? What would the world be like if Christians actually started following Jesus’ example?

    I get what you’re saying, Steve, with the whole godly and ungodly thing, and I can only speak for myself, but I dare say there’s far more ungodly Christians than not. Also, I’m not sure I can fathom a time when I won’t need Christ. So, taking that a somewhat facetious, albeit honest step further, are the godly the ones who say they don’t need Christ? And if we always need Christ, are we then perpetually ungodly?

  • Steve – don’t forget though that Jesus overturned the temple tables – and all throughout his ministry, he broke every conceivable law to bring forth radical love. The woman in the well story sums this up beautifully – he blew EVERY chance he had to be a proper rabbi by talking to 1) a woman )(ergo property), 2) in public, 3) who was of questionable moral character and 5) a foreigner. He never could get temple tidy after this encounter.

    compare this to the radio silence by almost all of the religious progressives who market themselves as change agents for a new kind of christinity where a zizek inspired faith proves Love Wins?

    To quote a cheesy as hell Xn song “they will know we are Christians by our love.”

  • Christine

    Steve – I have to echo MLE, here. Saved by garce doesn’t mean deeds are unimportant.

    Rod – There must be very few actual Christians in your world if “greedy Christian” is an oxymoron. I think we all get a little greedy at times, doesn’t mean we completely lose our faith each time.

    By contrast, not everyone gets “a little gay at times” – not soemthing that comes in goes, or comes in gradiations. It’s not something you do or don’t do, frequently or not. It’s something you are or aren’t (with or without any corresponding action).

    This cartoon was for you. Because we’ve all heard your explanation before – oh so many times. And some of us are getting sick of and disgusted by it. A lie masquarading as the truth.

    David – Your original post made me think of Paul. Of the place where he says slaves are equal, then tells them to obey even harsh masters. Of where he does away with all gender distinction, then directs that women should not be allowed to speak in church. He doesn’t say anything about being “gay” – because the concept didn’t exist, but Paul doesn’t seem to be passing your test so far.

    That’s the confusing thing about Paul. He plays both the idealist that radically transforms everything (and puts out a pretty harsh criticism of anyone trying to hold on to the old ways), then flips it and plays the pragmatist, giving in to “social trends that are counter to living right within the righteousness of Christ” so it seems. Maybe to keep the peace, or put a good, policially/socially responsible face on the church. But he definitely goes both ways, so to speak. 🙂

    We don’t see Jesus doing that so much. “Render unto Ceasar” seems to be the sole pragmatist/compromising moment. The rest seems unrestrained (conscious of but not determined by) social expectations.

    Thoughts anyone?

  • Tony

    I’d rather walk into a militant vegan convention eating a hamburger than comment in this thread…

  • Rod

    One thing you cannot avoid in the scriptures and that is the dominant theme of self-denial and grace. These two things cannot be separated. Christine, while I value your comments I do not agree. This does not mean I disrespect you 🙂 However, the church and it’s teaching is held to ransom by a group of people who demand affirmation of their sinful self-fulfillment. Your argument presupposes that being gay is something people are born with. There is absolutely no science to back this claim up, there is however a bunch of science that does support the fact that social conditioning is the single most contributing factor..anyways I think I’ll join Tony and walk into a militant vegan convention eating a hamburger. Cause frankly I am tired of being told I am vilifying gays if say I disagree with homosexuality. If they are that insecure than maybe it is because they are not the perfect human being that our pro-leftist media portrays them as being.

  • Steve: surely the gospel is political.
    Rod: I am not aware of any media portraying gays as perfect human beings, but human beings denied rights and privileges because of their sexual orientation. This issue is going to become more and more important. I know pastors who have left leadership in the church because they realize this, don’t know how to deal with it, and don’t want to be involved in the battle.

  • Ant

    Rod, with all due respect I will disagree. Dont you think its strange there is not one word from Jesus regarding homosexuality – you’d think that if it was really important Jesus would have said something, but he didnt. Where is the hard evidence from the person central to Christianity? If the bible is the inerrant Word of God for all time then surely on what seems to be such an important issue concerning Christianity something would have been said about homosexuality by its leader. If Jesus wasnt concerned about homosexuality then neither should Christians be concerned about this. Imho there is an unholy fixation upon sin amongst Christians which isnt what Jesus was about.

  • Rod:

    There is much scientific evidence supporting that homosexuality as inherent and not choice. Here is one place to start your research. At the bottom of the this supplement from the American Psychiatric Association is a list of 46 references that should enable you to find and examine the evidence.

    “Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies)”

    http://psych.org/Departments/EDU/Library/APAOfficialDocumentsandRelated/PositionStatements/200001a.aspx

    “APA affirms its 1973 position that homosexuality per se is not a diagnosable mental disorder. Recent publicized efforts to repathologize homosexuality by claiming that it can be cured are often guided not by rigorous scientific or psychiatric research, but sometimes by religious and political forces opposed to full civil rights for gay men and lesbians.”

    “Psychotherapeutic modalities to convert or “repair” homosexuality are based on developmental theories whose scientific validity is questionable. Furthermore, anecdotal reports of “cures” are counterbalanced by anecdotal claims of psychological harm. In the last four decades, “reparative” therapists have not produced any rigorous scientific research to substantiate their claims of cure. Until there is such research available, APA recommends that ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation, keeping in mind the medical dictum to First, do no harm.”

  • Ant

    Christine,

    Thats really interesting I hadnt seen Paul in that light before thanks for sharing your insight 🙂

    It certainly casts him as a very human figure which is good to see as many Christians tend cast him as a hero of the bible without flaws and shortcomings. I saw Paul in that light and in recent years I began to see Paul in a different light – as a human with an agenda – as someone that steered Christianity in very different direction that it might have gone had he not been involved.

    David,

    Thanks for standing up for those who are marginalised by the church – I love the way that the cartoon has this almost voyeur-ish tone “you can watch but you cant play” Its meaningless to the LGBTIQ community when its on this level and its one of the reasons why I will probably never be comfortable in a church again.

  • Nik

    David, two thoughts from your post, re. the following comments:
    ‘The problem is in the deed. The deed.’
    ‘If we say that gays are equal…’

    If we were to turn the argument around, there are those folk who would agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment expressed in the first comment, particularly coming from a ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ school of argument. For them, the problem is, in fact ‘the deed’, as in committing same-gender sexual acts. So, ‘the deed’ argument is one that can easily be trotted out by folk on opposite sides of the fence.

    The second comment re. equality: ‘we’ may indeed say that gays are equal… but do ‘they’ [the ‘nay-sayers, if you like, as I don’t want to use labels that don’t work as in ‘fundamentalists’, ‘conservatives’, or even ‘liberals’ – these terms have been hijacked and reinterpreted to mean something far from their original intent… sorry – pedantic me?!] do ‘they’ use the term ‘equal’ when it comes to LGBTQ folk? I’ve certainly heard the term ‘abomination’ used within a public court of the church, but not ‘equal’.
    Perhaps I’m splitting hairs… 🙂

  • Oliver

    Afraid of gay aggressiveness in promoting their “alternative lifestyle” (terrible this euphemism!) as well as afraid of ultra-conservative advocates of sending gay people directly to Hell, the “Modern Church” promotes a castrate Gospel with no power of transforming sinners. Expecting to save people IN their sins, not FROM their sins… Sad.
    In my church, if I say something about, I will be tore apart by the other clan. I have to be either pro-life or pro-choice (using all kind of euphemisms), anti-gay or pro-gay… Jesus’ Grace and Jesus’ righteousness as one sole reality, is missing…
    Castrate Gospel. Neutering the Church mandate do preach and teach and allow Jesus to change sinners (“oh, but they are born this way!”… Oh really???)