Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Arrogance of Religion

I keep a wish list of books I want to read, and one that has been in my purview is Karl Barth's commentary on the book of Romans. I finally ordered it and am having a blast pouring over the pages as I also read and re-read the Biblical text to keep things in perspective.

This book was first published in 1933. I love reading literature from this period, albeit this is a translation from German. English prose was so beautiful, but the words seem big and lofty now - or so I'm told. How sad. Granted, writers in the early 1900's would have never wrapped around txtg.

Barth speaks boldly, at least I would imagine he would seem bold in religious circles. He says things like "The question 'Is there then a God?' is [] entirely relevant and indeed inevitable!" Shushhhh! Barth! You're going to get us all in trouble! 21st century Christians never doubt! In this culture we tend to start above the reasonable doubts with our arguments for our faith, as though it was our place to create the set point of ground zero. But guess what? That's God's job! Honesty works better than religion, and let's face it, the concept of God that we Christians present sounds strange to those who have not "had a revelation." Invisible, intangible, three-in-one, all powerful and all loving but doesn't stop suffering. Things just don't add up. Yet, my heart believes and has dragged the rest of me along with it!

I love this thing Barth says: "[] it is evident that, just as genuine coins are open to suspicion so long as false coins are in circulation, so the perception which proceeds outwards from God cannot have free course until the arrogance of religion be done away."

What he means is, honesty works better than religion! Well, I can honestly tell you that my religion is not false. I am not putting on airs or making things up. I am a scientist of the soul and my faith is my venue. Sometimes I like to say that my religion is an art-form, just another expression of my love for God and creation. I think for me, the "arrogance of religion" has been "done away" because what I perceive to proceed outward from God to all of us is love and grace.

1 comment:

  1. I think, ultimately, by seeking the answers to these intense questions, it makes everything more meaningful because you cared to find out for yourself. It is great to have a family that teaches you about religion and God, but doesn't force their beliefs on you... and then doesn't judge you for trying to find the "real" answers.
    Good topic. :)