Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Depriving Religion of Its Capacity to Destroy People

Hat tip to NT Wrong for locating this interview with Gerd Ludemann, author of Eyes that See Not: The Pope Looks at Jesus. Here is the transcript of the interview conducted by Luis Rodriquez. NT Wrong points out a few gems. I like this one:
Whoever does historical research – that's my experience – will have to say: "I no longer believe". To give an example: historical researchers, work on God. They discover that God is a projection; they work on Jesus and discover that Jesus didn't say most of things that the Bible claims he said....

....when studying the Bible, we discover nothing but opinions of people about God—which they ascribed to God or whoever they want to. We never come across God or the Holy. We just come across the opinions of people. Then we tie them to the situation of their time and look at them from a new vantage point. We try and determine their agenda, what they wanted to do or what they wished had happened—it’s wishful thinking. By arriving at these results, we deprive religion of its threat, of its capacity to destroy people. It's the language of people from the past, not the present and, thereby, our research is a critique of ideology. That I think it's very important. As such, historical scholarship is destroying religion. Having read the bible historically and critically, you can no longer read it piously, because you know if you do, you deceive yourself.
I do like that observation that historical study deprives religion of its capacity to destroy people. I have to say that as a minister, my work more often than not is to help people pick up the pieces of their lives that have been destroyed by religion.

Some people need to reclaim and reintegrate some aspect of religious belief into their lives. Others need to come to peace with leaving it behind. In either case, the religion or no-religion that they currently embrace is completely different from the religion that destroyed them.

What has been the most helpful destroyer of the destroyer? Facts.

The God who wants to send you to hell has no power when you see that his fearsome image is a creation of the fearful little man behind the curtain.