Daily Archives: 8 Apr 2017

‘Sickness’ is the New Evil

Read this fantastic essay in Diesseits, which begins-

Für den aufgeklärten Geist ist klar: Das Böse gibt es nicht. Nicht, dass wir nicht von Bösem betroffen wären: üblen Krankheiten, übler Nachrede, Gesinnung, üblen Aboverträgen, Naturkatastrophen oder Kriegstreibereien. Aber das sind nicht Folgen eines substantiellen Bösen, das in der Welt als eigene Macht wirksam wird und sich darin formiert. Es sind halt Krankheiten, moralische Defizite, Erziehungsmängel, gierige Managementpraktiken, Folgen der Plattentektonik oder Auswüchse des – wahlweise westlichen oder allgemein despotischen – Imperialismus.

„Krank“ ist das neue Böse

Wo Luther noch allenthalben den Teufel persönlich am Werk sehen konnte, diagnostizieren wir Krankheit. Krank ist das neue Böse. (Während Krankheitsbefunde nach wie vor in maligne und benigne unterteilt werden.) Und das Sprachspiel der Pathologie hat jenes des Bösen abgelöst. Wer etwas Böses sagt oder schreibt, ist krank. Wer rassistisch ist, hat ein krankes Menschenbild. Aboverträge mit Kleingedrucktem sind die Folge eines kranken Kapitalismus. Naturkatastrophen der Selbstschutz des Planeten, gegen das ihn krankmachende Virus Mensch. Kriege die Folge kranken Machtstrebens.

This is fine theology.  (The bold emphasis is mine).  And it’s true – for all intents and purposes people aren’t ‘evil’ anymore, they’re ‘sick’.

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Posted by on 8 Apr 2017 in Theology


Call For Papers

First, I’ll mention that I’m editing a forthcoming issue on Melanchthon so if you’d like to participate in that, let me know.  Otherwise, other topics are on the table.

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Posted by on 8 Apr 2017 in Church History


My Problem With The Barthians is Their Moral Inconsistency

Let me put it directly:

Many of the Barthians I know are rightly outraged at the immorality of one Donald J. Trump and have expressed that outrage on social media and blog posts.

Most of the Barthians I know are completely silent about the immoral behavior of Karl Barth.  They do not discuss it, and when it is discussed they invariably retreat behind the, they believe, theological cover- ‘but everyone sins.’

It is absolutely true that everyone sins.  It is also absolutely true that Barth is no worse than anyone else.

Since that’s the case, why do the Barthians condemn Trump whilst remaining silent about Barth’s sins?

In other words, the Barthians are moral equivocators.  Like the Trumpians, they will not critique their dear leader regardless of his deeds.  For that reason the Barthians and the Trumpians are identical in terms of morality and their moral center.  I.e. – theirs is nothing else but a situational ethic and as such un-Christian.

[NB- the same, mutatis mutandis, can be said of the Bonhoefferians].


Photo courtesy Deane G.  The words are Barth’s.  He might as well have called those windows ‘escape hatches’.

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Posted by on 8 Apr 2017 in Modern Culture


Emil Brunner in Japan

Brunner was invited to teach at ICU, Tokyo and he was happy to do so.  I mention it because Shuhei Oishi posted this bust of Brunner on his Facebook page.  I have never seen it before.

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Posted by on 8 Apr 2017 in Modern Culture


The Seven Things God Literally Hates

There are six things that Yahweh hates, seven that he abhors:

  1. a haughty look,
  2. a lying tongue,
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. a heart that weaves wicked plots,
  5. feet that hurry to do evil,
  6. a false witness who lies with every breath,
  7. and one who sows dissension among brothers. – (Prov. 6:16-19)
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Posted by on 8 Apr 2017 in Bible