your theology your drug

"Your Theology Your Drug" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Your Theology Your Drug” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward


Your theology. Your drug. My theology. My drug.

We want so much to be true that we’ll believe it.

I watched a fascinating documentary last night, Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery. Beltracchi estimates that he forged at least 300 paintings of masters that are probably still in circulation. He wouldn’t copy a painting, but instead got into the head of the artist and painted a piece of one of the artist’s missing works or do an original from a gap period in the artist’s career. Genius!

But what I found most fascinating was how it all worked. Beltracchi, as well as art critics, historians, gallery-owners, auction houses, analysts, collectors, police, etcetera, all knew that there was so much money floating around out there desperately looking for new works that the market bore his forgeries. Everyone, all the way through the chain, desperately wanted it to be true… that a lost work of a master had been discovered. Everyone participated in the scam, not just Beltracchi. So everyone paid and got paid. Including the forger.

The parallel is unmistakable. We often so want something to be true that we will suspend good reason, common sense, intelligence, rationality, doubt, skepticism, honesty, reality itself, in order to believe and possess it.

I love theology. Like I love art! But I love theology, and art, when it is true and gets close to articulating what is.

It took, and it takes, a great deal of courage, even anger and a strong sense of justice I suppose, for someone to finally call foul!

If you’ve come to that point in your life where you’re doubting the authenticity of what you believe, come join the rest of us at The Lasting Supper! We’re the real deal.


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13 Responses

  1. Adam Julians says:

    Is the message that “your theology” is a medicine that fosters healing?

    Or does it mean that it is a fake offering false hope that you are wasting your resources on and leaves you looking foolish when the truth is revealed.

  2. Adam Julians says:


  3. Meaning if you read the post you would see that I don’t see theology as a healing thing necessarily but is often a way of avoiding reality.

  4. Sabine says:

    … or as someone said: “Theology is 90 % biography” 🙂

  5. Adam Julians says:

    You said you love theology and art when it is true but also that “your theology” is your drug.

    So I am just asking what the message is. Is it about truth, that is, can your theology contain truth that you love. Or is it false, an addiction a drain on your resources that leaves you looking foolish?

    Does that make sense?

  6. Adam Julians says:

    Ahhh ok, Thanks for explaining.

    I see your point and can appreciate how what you say about avoiding reality can be the case and it not necessarily be about healing.

    Some people see theology as a bad thing. I see it as a neutral thing in principle and that there can equally be good theology as bad.

    So I would differ slightly with the negative slant you have taken towards theology.

    I guess the proof is in the pudding. Does the drug cure a sickness or does it lead to addiction and cause sickness.

    I can see times in my life when either has happened.

  7. Brigitte says:

    I read it in the light of things like the study that came out of Britain and as featured on Huffington this week, where it turned out that religious people in Britain are happier than non-religious. You can’t decide to make yourself happier by deciding to become religious.

    It turned out that Hindu’s were the happiest. When I think about it, it could be that you have more upper caste Hindu’s in Britain and we have socio-economic factors, also. Or maybe they are healthier from all the yoga and nice and spicy vegetarian diet. Personally, I am disposed to adopt these latter two. I think they are wonderful. Also, family life seems very well developed.

    Anyhow. That is what came to my mind.–Christians are second happiest. That could be from all the emphasis on hope, gratitude and attitude of praise and thanksgiving, as well as love, forgiveness, and communal life.

    It surprised me that the elderly are very happy. I am thinking it might come from the reduction of responsibilities, and increase in thankfulness for little things, as well as seeing that all things pass, the lowly and the high and mighty, the same. No sense left in sweating certain things. There is more freedom to be yourself and even become a little eccentric.

  8. Autumn says:

    These are not my words.
    “The study of theology is spiritual masterbation”.
    The man who spoke these words has accomplished more for the impoverished than anyone I have met.
    I agree with him.

  9. Interesting quote Autumn. I certainly can see this in my own life many times. Then again, we all operate with a kind of theology, or philosophy, either doing good or bad.

  10. Adam Julians says:

    Agreed David,

    So can we say that this kind of theology, or philosophy whatever it is that we operate with is not a healing thing necessarily but is often a way of avoiding reality, given the message?

    If so then logically we all need, do we not, something other than our own view of things to be certain of being on a healing path and in touch with reality?

    If all of this is true then how do we find that need met?

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    And 100 years from now, Beltracchi’s forgeries might have collectors’ value in and of themselves — as Beltracchi Originals. (Antique fakes can still be valuable.)

  12. I believe you Headless. I think you’re right.