The Curmudgeon


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: Luke 17 xxvii-xxxvii; Luke 18 i-viii

After telling His disciples that the coming of the kingdom of Heaven will be a massacre along the lines of the Flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Jesus tells a parable about a judge who neither fears God nor respects humanity. A widow importunes the judge about her case, and eventually he resolves to give her justice for the sake of a quiet life. Hearing the judge's decision, God boasts that He will quickly give justice to His elect, but nevertheless questions whether His avatar will find faith among the people of earth.

In the parable, assuming that right is on the widow's side, justice is done without recourse to either holiness or philanthropy, and is thereby shown to be a mere earthly luxury. The judge acts from pure self-interest, and would no doubt be undiscerning enough to give justice to anyone at all, whether or not they belonged to God's elect, from the same tawdry motive. Holy vengeance and holy favour, by contrast, are both purely arbitrary, as Jesus has just emphasised in His foregoing remarks about His Father's approaching kingdom of flood, fire and brimstone.

The Saviour's own attitude to the importunities of needy women is apparent from the episode of the Canaanite woman, whose cries for help He seems happy to tolerate indefinitely. Hence God's rhetorical question at the end of the parable: Jesus eventually helps the woman not out of a desire for peace and quiet, but as a reward for faith and flattery. It is these, and not mere earthly notions of what is just or unjust, that carry weight in the kingdom of heaven.


  • At 7:58 pm , Blogger Emma said...

    Oh man, the more I read these posts the more I think the Cathars had a point.

    American Evangelicals really are the true heirs to Christ's legacy, just as they believe themselves to be. The twist is that Christ was a motherfucking evil lunatic.

  • At 12:18 am , Blogger Philip said...

    The Cathars certainly had a point when it came to going forth and multiplying, but they still considered Jesus their saviour and the messenger of the true god. The difference was that they denied the Catholic identification of the true god with the creator of the physical world. They also practised poverty, chastity and mutual aid; which for Pope Innocent was no doubt the last straw.


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