And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:32 (King James Version)
Welcome to Summer 2014 season folks! And like any good reader, I started my summer reading with some good books-fiction and non-fiction. One excellent book in the latter category is titled, Putting Away Childish Things by controversial German theologian Uta Ranke-Heinemann. In 1970, she became the first woman in the world to hold a chair of Catholic theology at the University of Essen. She lost her chair in 1987 after denying the virgin birth.
The book is not for the theologically squeamish. Childish Things is a hard-hitting critique of such cherished Church doctrines about Jesus, including: the virgin birth, Jesus’ lineage from King David, the empty tomb, and the ascension. Even someone like me who’s liberal in their beliefs had to breathe in-breathe out when reading. However, if there’s anyone who wants a clearer look at the life of Jesus and still enjoy him may want to check this book out.
To get an idea of what Ranke-Heinemann’s theology is like, here’s her “Sevenfold Negative Creed:”
- The Bible is not the word of God but the word of men.
- That God does exist in three persons is imagination of men.
- Jesus is man and not God.
- Mary is the mother of Jesus and not the mother of God.
- God created heaven and earth, hell is a product of human fantasy.
- The devil and original sin do not exist.
- A bloody redemption at the Cross is a pagan sacrificial slaughtering of a human being, based on a model from the religious Stone Age.
Such above thinking is not new to many Christians-inside and outside of academia. However, it’s more people on the outside that’s starting to think like this and it’s scaring the pants of the Church. Ranke-Heinemann’s right up there with John Shelby Spong and John A.T. Robinson.
I know many would read Childish Things and scream, “Heresy!”; or at best ridicule it. However, if what we have is worth living then it is worth examining-even under the harsh (electron) microscope of history and scripture. So often, we forget that history can prove (or disprove) many a Biblical tenet. And we see how scripture can contradict itself as well. Plus, the book will show the painful mutation of a simple Divine ethic of love of God into a twisted and perverted belief system-a fact many in the Church would rather ignore.
Like the title of this post, I too said, “Owww!!!” when reading this book. However (if being the case) I’d rather get hurt by the truth, than killed by a lie-no matter how comfortable it is.
Check this book out during the summer. It will be a (painful) eye-opener.
(Above image of Uta Ranke-Heinemann courtesy of vice.com)