Don’t use the Bible for threatening

I call Comminorism an interpretation of the Bible that teaches that every human must “turn away” from some “original sin” in order to get saved. This idea is a part of the Jewish faith. Jesus refers to it as the sourdough of Pharisees (Mt 16:6). Many stories in the Bible illustrate his fight against this idea.

Jesus is given the title of “Lamb of God” or “Redeemer” because he died on the cross as an atonement in order to definitively save the world from the idea of a God who punishes us for our sins.

During many centuries, some important official teachings of Christian churches had forgotten this fundamental aspect of the Good News and fallen back to the pre-Christian ideas. They promote that we are not yet saved and that we must do something before getting saved. They say that salvation can happen only by formal submission under the authority of their choice (e.g. the Pope or the Bible).

I had to find a new word to name this problem. I chose comminorism, which comes from Latin comminor (to menace). It is inspired by the German word “Drohbotschaft” (“threatful message”), which is used since 1995, together with its opposite “Frohbotschaft” (German for Good News) by KirchenvolksBegehren, a Austrian grass-root movement within the catholic church who works against comminorism. See also a sermon by Franz Alt in Die Zeit 2019-01-02 : Frohbotschaft statt Drohbotschaft.

Comminorism is a temptation for each human who has thoroughly studied the Bible. When you discover that you can impress others with your knowledge, you are tempted to get attention of your fellows and/or increase your authority by threatening.

The powerful picture of the Lamb of God serves as inspiration for prayer and is an important aspect of Christian faith. Like every religious symbol it can suffer from hypertrophy.

Examples of comminorism:


Teaching that each human must “turn away” from sin in order to get saved.