Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Freedom from religion

What is true liberty? Can the truth set us free? Do we need to be set free from religion?
The above engraving, entitled "Disenfectation" (L. Isore, 1885), shows a priest fleeing from the Pantheon in Paris, being replaced by Victor Hugo holding a banner "Liberte". The caption is "Ignorance gives way to genius." In 1885, with the funeral of Victor Hugo, the Pantheon was finally converted from a church to a secular "temple" and burial place for leading French citizens. The cartoon title is a play on the words "disenfection" and "desaffectation" (abandonment). I scanned it from a tourist booklet The Pantheon: Temple of the Nation.

I am planning on using the cartoon in a talk I am giving next week to a student group Groupes Bibliques Universitaires (GBU) in Strasbourg. One issue I will explore, using Jesus teaching "The truth will set you free" in John 8, is how God's grace is needed to set us free from religion and the associated self-righteousness. The torment associated with not receiving grace is nicely illustrated by the policeman Javert in the musical version of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.

No comments:

Post a Comment