fun with heresy

Two weeks ago, I “tweeted” the following:

Was Jesus a hologram? Or was he a human possessed by a noncorporeal extraterrestrial called Christ? This was the division within Docetism.

I have to say, studying the ancient heresies is the perfect geek hobby. Better than Star Trek. Similar, in some ways, as my Docetism tweet should illustrate. (By the way, the two varieties of Docetism are called phantasmal and separationist respectively.)

And as with any new obsession, once you start to learn the ins and outs, you start seeing it everywhere. Recently, I’ve been seeing signs of the heresies in Doonesbury:


(click to enlarge)

This distinction between God and His son smacks of Arianism. I suspect a lot of present-day Christians are Arian heretics without realizing it.

There’s also this past Sunday’s strip:


(excerpt from this full strip )

All my life, I’ve heard this observed distinction between the Old Testament God of wrath and the New Testament God of love. Without building an explicit theology from it, many modern Christians — especially religious liberals, I suspect — see the old Jewish God and the new Christian God as different gods. This isn’t a new phenomenon. In the 2nd century, Marcion of Sinope, led a very large and influential rival movement to proto-orthodox Christianity. Marcion

argued for the existence of two Gods: Yahweh, who created the material universe, and the Heavenly Father of the New Testament, of which Jesus Christ was the living incarnation. Yahweh was viewed as a lesser demiurge, who had created the earth, and whose law, the Mosaic covenant, represented bare natural justice: i.e., an eye for an eye. Jesus was the living incarnation of a different God, a new God of compassion and love, sometimes called the Heavenly Father. The two Gods were thought of as having distinct personalities: Yahweh is petty, cruel and jealous, a tribal God who is only interested in the welfare of the Jews, while the Heavenly Father is a universal God who loves all of humanity, and looks upon His children with mercy and benevolence. This dual-God notion allowed Marcion to reconcile the apparent contradictions between the Old Testament and the tales of Jesus’ life and ministry. [Wikipedia]

I mention this “lesser demiurge” of the Marcionites in this earlier blog post of Calvin & Hobbes:

When I was kid in an Episcopal choir school, attending services 2 or 3 times a week, I think I was guilty of both Arianism and Marcionite dualism. I was also guilty of the heresy of Patripassionism, the belief that God the Father was incarnate and suffered on the cross. I guess I’ve never grokked the Trinity.

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2 Responses to fun with heresy

  1. neuroklinik says:

    One man’s heresy is another man’s holy.

  2. Pingback: Doonesbury: Is God about Anger, or Love? | elephant journal

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