David Hayward, an excellent progressive Christian artist, put up this cartoon yesterday in a post called “Theologians and the God Guessers”. James McGrath, also a progressive Christian and amazing religion professor, loved the message of Hayward’s cartoon and put it up on his blog in a post called, “Are We All Insane“.
I wish I could draw and put up a refutation-cartoon. My imagined cartoon would illustrate something history has shown us time and again: That the blindfolded people are not feeling (seeing or hearing) a GOD, but instead they are feeling the real world and creating gods from their blindness:
- When they see a volcano, they imagine an “angry god”.
- When they hear lightening, they think “dangerous god”.
- When they see an illness, they think “cursing spirit or demon”.
- When they lose a war, they “punishing god”.
- When they see someone saved in an accident where many are killed, they think “Angels!”.
You get the point. People create gods to make up for lack of understanding, to gather followers, to comfort themselves and to manipulate others.
History is replete with religious professionals calling for unity of religion. These ecumenical efforts have been seen to fail century after century not only in Christianity but also in Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and more.
These pleas for combining sects is often made by weaker, smaller or threatened sects. As in most things religious (and political …) the rhetoric is lofty and hides very different objectives. Is progressive Christianity small, weak and threatened — of course it is.
I think progressive Christians are having a fantastically good impact on the religious world. On the other hand, in the process they often reinforce a lot of nonsense too. All religions aren’t trying to describe the same thing. Gods aren’t the underlying reality that we are all trying to feel.
McGrath and Hayward both discuss humility on their posts. McGrath implies that it is arrogant to assume that there is no god. But isn’t it ironic that most of the theist gods supposedly created from humility actually became war gods, political tools, and ways to manipulate with threat of damnation.
Is that humility? Is that blinders off? No! I will take reality anytime, thank you. And I will continue to call out efforts to create sanctimonious manipulative images to satisfy the gaps of our blindness.