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The lived reality
of Christianity throughout history just is not appreciably different
from what one finds in other major religions. A strong case can be
made, in fact, that the history of Christianity contains considerably
more violence and destruction than that of most other major religions. -
Kimball, Charles, When Religion Becomes Evil, Los Angeles,
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. 2002, p. 27
The verity of the above quote
is one of the underlying rationales for the development of this site. Of
course, it is one of the motivations and rationales, if not the driving
one, for the development of ANY significant deviant system of Christian
thinking. Of which we have many! And each one lessens the impact of
every other one.
There seems to be two classes
of these belief systems, those that have at least a modicum of thematic
consistency and intellectual content, some soundness, some internal continuity, and
those that may be clever and imaginative but are
bafflingly disjointed or disconnected from any reasonable picture of God
and reality. This article will attempt to take
a good look at the latter.
Tachisme - New World
Dictionary, 2nd college edition: A method of action painting in which
the paint is splashed, dribbled, etc. upon the canvass in apparently
random patterns, Now a splatter artist can always deny randomness and
claim that this approach lets unfettered inspiration flow onto the
canvass. Sure! Wanna buy my bridge?
There is a multitude of
creative spiritual system contrivers who seem to want to emulate that most notorious paint splattering artist
Jackson Pollack in the religious arena. So, to set the
table for a consideration of this approach, first scan the article at:
And then here is what Donald
H. Akenson has to say about the rampant blossoming of irrational schemes
in Christendom, in chapter 1 of his book called The Surpassing Wonder:
"Then came the twin disasters of fundamentalism and dispensationalism.
Fundamentalism heightened the developing anti-intellectualism of
evangelicalism by disguising complex, crude and controversial
theological statements as literal interpretations of the Scriptures, a
trend capped by the influential Scoffield Reference Bible (1909).
Dispensationalism completed this canonization of Biblical mechanics by
manipulating the arbitrary versification of the scriptures completed in
the sixteenth century and turning the Old and New Testament into a kind
of gigantic Christian puzzle, all parts interchangeable. Now, words and
sentences could be manoeuvred to create and defend simplistic
interpretative schemes from any angle, brushing aside the verses'
original context while also rigidly classifying modern events with a few
"This sort of thing cannot be fought, so it is best ignored."
There are 31,102 verses in the
vaunted King James Bible, and close to twice that many phrases that one
can use as pieces to paint a picture of God, his plan and his reality.
That's a lot to work with, a lot of "paint droplets" to splatter.
There are more brands of
spiritual fruitcakes out there than there are flavors of ice cream, but
we are looking at the pestiferous type that is the ardent creative
person building fantastic systems of thinking and belief out of
various pieces found in the Bible passages, verses and phrases. These
people seem sincere and dedicated to synthesis, yet their scenarios and
edifices are fantastical, arbitrary, and nonsensical; ungrounded in
consistency and reasonableness. Hence the characterization of their
activity as spiritual tachisme.
Most of these schemes leave
the past fairly unmolested and concentrate on the future. The number of
future scenarios based on "prophecy" is legion. Most are characterized
by being materialistic, and of course they are almost always
deterministic, relying on the concept that God is in control down to any
level, knows exactly what will happen, and has given us prophecy to
prove it. It just so happens–and aren't we fortunate–that it is in their special purview to
interpret for us this welter of prophecy correctly.
This author suggests that
their actual motivation is not the seeking of the truth, nor an attempt
to put their thoughts down for review, consideration, and discussion,
but rather for the same reason that so many "spiritual" authors had in
the New Testament era. That was a viable way to become someone special, to
assuage one's own ailing ego and make yourself important, allowing feelings of superiority. These aspects seem always to be there
waiting to blossom out in one way or another.