A man represents the ideology, character, or action he lauds in his own parables. Jesus’s parables, of course, are a prime example. The return of the prodigal son and the finding of the hundredth sheep are representations of Jesus’s character and actions. Likewise are the jokes and sayings of different nations and cultures: we can determine likes or dislikes by the praised characters and those who are degraded. A much more recent example is an excerpt from Desmond Tutu’s book God is not a Christian in which Tutu speaks of a drunken man staggering between the two sides of a street. This man asks pedestrians on the sidewalks which “the other shide of the shtreet” is. According to Tutu, men are like that drunk, staggering between the two sides and wondering which the right perspective is. Instead of noting the pedestrians surrounding the drunk, who are obviously focused and have direction and purpose in their lives, on their specific side of the street, Tutu identifies with the drunken man, wondering which is the right side.
And here we come upon the first of many contradictions in this excerpt. If Tutu is like the drunken man, then who are the pedestrians, who stay on their side and insist the other side is the other side? Clearly these people contradict Tutu’s theology, since according to him all religions are to certain terms alike. If all religions have the same goal (man’s intimate relationship with the “mysterium tremendum”), then no opposition exists between any two religions. If I am a Christian, but Buddhism is essentially alike to Christianity, then Buddhism cannot be the other side of the street, because this would mean there is essential opposition between the two. What then is the other side of the street in Tutu’s parable, and why are the sober, purposeful pedestrians ignored?
Continuing on down, according to Tutu “accidents of birth determine to what faith we belong.” In such case, man has no control over his own beliefs and no responsibility for his worldview or the effects of it. Tutu says it himself. Born in India, you’re a Hindu. Born in Pakistan, a Muslim. Born in India, you worship cows. Born in Pakistan, you kill American imperialists. Born in America, you kill Pakistani terrorists. You have no choice. A man obviously cannot affect the place of his birth, and so he cannot affect his beliefs or the actions which follow from them. (Not that it matters what you believe if all religions are essentially alike.)
Going on to Tutu’s second point, we see yet another inconsistency. According to Tutu, we must all strive to learn from one another and from each one’s religions, not pretending we each “have a corner on God.” What then is the point of different religions? Why should religions keep their separate names and existences? As Tutu himself points out, religious differences have often led to wars. So logically, let us all forsake the different religions (for they differ mostly only in name) and become one great learned brotherhood. If we are all to learn from one another, let’s forsake anything that might cause the slightest difference and pose an obstacle to religious peace.
And this is not all. According to Tutu we must respect each other’s religions for what they are and respect their method of searching for the Divine Being. Okay. Take a tribe of cannibals in the South Pacific. They seek to achieve transcendence by roasting and eating the bodies of their enemies. If Tutu must respect all people’s “conscientiously held beliefs,” how can he claim cannibalism is wrong? How can anyone following Tutu’s theology claim anything is wrong? As if this is not enough, Tutu continues: “we should be ready to learn from the techniques of the spiritual life that are available in religions other than our own.” Thus I can eat my enemy. I can sacrifice my children. Everything is up for grabs, because any action can be claimed to be a religious search for transcendence. This is exactly the chaotic, drunken relativism Tutu theologically defends.
This theology allows for no moral right or wrong, and it destroys itself, because without morality or law there is no Divine Being, thus no need to search for the mysterium tremendum. In Christianity, we search to understand God and His divine will so we may ascertain the laws of morality and conduct by which we should live our lives. But without the necessity for any such laws, why seek to comprehend the divine? With this theology allowing men to do anything and everything their heart desires, then why search for transcendence? Just enjoy life here and now. Everything is allowed, so just do it. Sound familiar, anybody?
Could there be anymore contradictions in such a short excerpt? Yup. Next is Tutu’s overly bold and contradictory assertion that Christians limit God if they do not assume Him to be the God of Gandhi and of every other person in the world. Here the problem is definitions. By saying “the God of Gandhi,” Tutu means the divine being Gandhi worshipped and adhered to. If our God is the very same God that Gandhi worshipped and Calvin worshipped and Muslims and South Pacific natives worship, then Tutu falls into yet another contradiction. If this God dictates to Christians polygamy is wrong, why is His decree changed toward Muslims? If for Gandhi war and cannibalism is wrong, why is it all right for Pacific natives?
Tutu has a definite problem with definitions. He purposely misunderstands the meaning of the authority of God. The Christian God is the God of everyone in the earth, however, He is not a relative creature. Christians do not limit God, in fact, Desmond Tutu limits God by making Him contradictory. God is not malleable, a gracious divine being who is at the same time the God of Christianity and a religious role model for Mahatma Gandhi and a God of revenge for Muslims. The God we as Christians proclaim is the God of the universe who requires perfect obedience only to Himself and allows for no stepping away from His Law. It is because of this attribute of God that Tutu attacks Christianity with a ridiculous claim. His relativism and coexistence just cannot live with such divine harshness.
Yes, God does have “narrow prejudices,” but the word for that aspect of God is different. The word is “divine judgment.” Tutu takes away God’s supreme power to make laws which would dictate right and wrong and would judge those who break the law. This naturally excludes from association with God all those who do not conform to Logos Dei. But this is just too harsh. Trying to keep consistent with his own theology, Tutu introduces his argument that Christianity limits God, and he makes God a malleable, contradictory being in order to fix Him into the sweet coexistence of his own religion.
And wait, who says God created only Christians in His image and gave His Word and Gospel only to them? Apparently Desmond Tutu not only messes up his definitions, but also (purposely) misunderstands the arguments and facts of the theology he is opposing. It is needless to repeat the fact that anyone may partake of the grace and spirit of God. But Tutu’s next statement is even more provoking. “What we call the Spirit of God is not a Christian preserve, for the Spirit of God existed long before there were Christians, inspiring and nurturing women and men in the ways of holiness, bringing them to fruition. . .” Thus the Spirit of God is not the Holy Divine Being who breathes the life of God in us, He is rather a sort of conscience or innate moral sense which resides in people and teaches them. At least according to Tutu. And does this “divine spirit” which rests in the inner heart of man from birth and tells him right and wrong and mysteriously teaches him sound familiar?
All over through Tutu’s argument we see not just innate inconsistency, but appalling similarity with other religions. Well, of course, this is all in conjunction with Tutu’s theology, he’s just living with every other worldview that comes around and learning from it. One worldview is missing: The Christian worldview, the worldview of those of us who purposefully seek God not through the drunkenness of the spiritual techniques of other religions but through God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Tutu, like so many others, has sold his Christianity for a moonshine cocktail that may make some people feel good about themselves but will eventually destroy their souls and the Christendom their Christian fathers worked to build and expand. Far from being a “provocation,” his religion is the good old deception of humanism, claiming that God can be remade in the image of collective humanity.
“But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene” (2 Tim. 2:16-17). God’s judgment on Tutu’s religion of drunken relativism won’t be delayed for too long.