This is a part of a series of online cartoons, some related to religion, others not. Regardless of the topic, this one seems the best. The final bit is not as funny as the middle bit, but I appreciate how it switches the tone from snark to something more interestingly rueful.

7 thoughts on “Conversion

  1. The one that’s a reply that one is also really good. My favorite line is this “Jesus loves you, but his Dad thinks your’re a shit. P.S Jesus is his own Dad.”

  2. These videos are hysterical and effectively skewer some of the more ridiculous versions of popular Christianity, but the postscript capturing “the bulk of theological discourse”? Really? Maybe I’ve missed what you’re getting at.

  3. Oh, I’m just referring to some very baffling conversations I’ve had w/ theological types — probably myself included — whose use of language can be very baffling if you’re not an insider. This is quite natural, of course, when you’re working within a certain discourse. But for theology in particular, there is often an expectation that their peculiar terminology and concepts are self-sufficiently explanatory. If, in the end, you still don’t get it, the confused is told “Oh, of course you don’t get it — you don’t yet have faith.” Faith-based sophistry is a favorite of mine.

  4. That’s a helpful clarification. I’m not sure I get the connection with the cartoon postscript, which seemed to me to be upping the ante of the schizophrenic God motif by caricaturing the doctrine of the incarnation, but I’m familiar with the claim that we must “believe in order to understand.” It’s all over Augustine, who repeatedly glosses the Septuagint’s version of Isaiah 7:9 to this effect. Do you think the linkage is intrinsically problematic, or simply often so?

  5. Charlie, yes, I see what you mean re: the schizophrenic God idea — but that’s approaching things from the ironic perspective of the cartoon’s creator. In contrast, I was simply sticking w/ the narrative itself, and imagining that the email respondent actually thought his postscript helped clarify his response. (Or at least added some helpful nuance.)

    I don’t think the claim is intrinsically problematic. Indeed, I think everybody approaches texts and what not with their own pieties that will inevitably either inform belief or disbelief. This seems unavoidable to me. In terms of dealing with human beings, it’s helpful to understand (if not subscribe or even sympathize with) these respective pieties. What one is doing, though, and what I think is necessary, is understanding the starting point of another person’s piety/belief (the proverbial “where they’re coming from”), but not necessarily the content of that belief/piety. So, in essence, to understand the specific content of somebody’s piety, I may have to share in it; but, it seems to me, I do not necessarily need to share in it to understand the basis for the sheer fact that this person has said piety.

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