Statue Ethics




As I ambled across campus the other day, I was struck by a sign advertising some sort of ecological event that said “Jesus” and “earth” above an image of some trees. An advertisement raising awareness for environmental concerns is not uncommon at this moderate campus and I’m sure the event will be a success.


See, I go to Fuller Seminary, “the world’s largest Evangelical Seminary” and the young Evangelical wind blows strong here: poverty, the environment, children at risk, peace, and love of neighbor are considered before atonement theories, “family values” and inerrancy. At the very least, there is a balance between the ethical and the theological, the practical and the theoretical, the left and the right, etc that is rarely seen. Here, divisive binaries are unhelpful. 


The best part was that as I walked by the next thing my eye found was the grotesque statue of Jesus that prominently sits at a crucial and high-traffic point on campus. The statue depicts Jesus thrashing around on a cross while two Roman soldiers nail his arms down. Pleasant.


So, yes, let’s treat the environment just like we treat Jesus. Let’s torture and kill and then overlook the graven image of the tragedy on our way to class. That will help out in the long run. But, who cares about the long run when you have resurrection? Who cares about ethics when you have redemption? Who cares about statues and trees when you have a ‘new earth’ on the way? 

Submitted by Tim Haydock


3 responses to “Statue Ethics

  1. boutros boutros boutros boutros ghali. mad respeck.

  2. It’s interesting to juxtapose the Christian death and resurrection myth with pagan myths of the same sort. In Christianity, Christ died a once-and-for-all death (unless you’re Calvinist, and then he died a once-and-for-some death).

    However, many of the dying-rising myths in pagan religions are much more tied to natural cycles. The rituals accompanying these myths are therefore much more cyclical–tied to the seasons. So pagans often respect and fear nature.

    Of course, this does not necessarily hold true for pagan empires, which points to the fact that our religion and our posture towards the environment are mutually influential. In other words, we should ask both how atonement theories affect our environmental policies (or lack thereof) and how our environmental policies affect our atonement theories (or lack thereof).

  3. I am curious to know more about the hyper-reality? It seems that this statue has an ironic twist on the slight understanding I have on the topic. Tim or willwindow, do you have a short synopsis of that idea for us?

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