The Scriptures Versus Love Cartoon & Apology

"The Scriptures Versus Love" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
“The Scriptures Versus Love” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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I need to apologize for a cartoon I posted the other day, “Love Versus Scripture”. Although it was not drawn with antisemitic intent, it certainly could be interpreted that way, which is a sign I inadvertently conveyed a common bias of Christianity that generally understands the Jews of the Christian scriptures in a negative light.

When I was in seminary studying for my Masters in New Testament Studies, I became aware of the antisemitic bias in Christianity and swore to fight against that in my own mind and in the minds of others.

I disappointed myself. It just reminds me again that we have to stay diligent about not mindlessly adopting prevailing biases… something we are all prone to do.

Today’s cartoon is what I originally saw in my imagination, but I went down another path when I drew it. My intent was to contrast two different qualities of hermeneutics, not two different qualities of people. I wanted to show a certain occasion on a certain day of Jesus with his contemporaries challenging them on their hermeneutic. Some gospel stories relate these kinds of interactions. But my attempt to draw this was poor, it was not clear, and it can be interpreted to express an antisemitic bias that is harmful and needs to stop.

It is important to me that I be compassionate, thoughtful, and careful, especially when expressions of antisemitism are on the rise.

So, I want to thank the thoughtful people who pointed out the danger of my original cartoon. You have helped me be a better communicator. I want to contribute to making this a better world for all, and in this situation you gave me some guidance on how to do that. So, thank you very much.

Although the original cartoon is already out there on the internet, I’ve removed my own postings of that cartoon.

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10 Replies to “The Scriptures Versus Love Cartoon & Apology”

  1. the bible says god is love in 1st john. if we are to know what love is, we must know God. how are we to know God apart from what he has revealed in scripture? (nature helps, but if nature were sufficient, God never would have given us the writers of the bible).

    For one to start with an understanding of love that does not proceed from scripture is for one to start in error. It is like trying to understand what it means to be “saved” apart from scripture and then coming back to the bible and then interpreting what salvation can possibly mean through the lens you’ve already set up. It is a backward approach.

    If you do not believe the bible to be authoritative – then that is a whole different conversation. One that i’d rather not have over the internet.

    If you do believe the bible to be authoritative, i’d like to make clear that the bible does not promote anti-semitism. The fact that some people use it to promote anti-semitism does not then give us license to undermine the authority of scripture.

    there is a clear picture of what love looks like in the bible. That picture is sufficient for us to understand how to love our neighbors.

  2. I’m sorry you regret that; it’s such a wonderful expression of rigid interpretation vs. love interpretation! …. and I loved it so much I made it my FB profile picture!

  3. I’m sorry you regret that; it’s such a wonderful expression of rigid interpretation vs. love interpretation! …. and I loved it so much I made it my FB profile picture!

  4. Thanks for improving your cartoon. I think it asks an important question, so here is my answer. I think we need to do both, in a hermeneutical spiral. That is, we learn about love by contemplating on Scripture and then trying to apply what we have learned “in real life” and then as we learn to love better we take those insights back into our reading of Scripture in a loop as long as we live.

  5. Thanks for the example of humility and integrity. That’s why I’m not offended, even when you push beyond my comfort zone and make me think about things i would really rather not.

    I’m really on board with this question.

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