Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte

How Christianity is a religion of contradiction…the heart of paradoxical thought

“I can resist anything except temptation“—Oscar Wilde

Some languages just have the right word to explain a host of thoughts that require full sentences. “Treppenwitz is German referring to events or facts that seem to contradict their own background or context. “Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte” refers to a staircase joke of world history—or the paradox of history. Being an irreligious writer, the next logical step is “Treppenwitz Christentum” or the paradox of Christianity—

While I’ve struggled deciding to use paradox or oxymoron in analyzing religious doctrine, why not use both?

Paradox is just so well laced with religious synonyms. Absurdity, ambiguity, contradiction, enigma, I thought I had enough adjectives to delve into any scripture, including context. But, oxymoron says a lot too. Malapropism, hyperbole, all with the adequate adumbration. Here is my question. I have struggled to find a single biblical verse or religious fact that doesn’t break into pools of irony or sophistic contradiction the moment they are scrutinized—It must be by design. Can you name one or two? “Lord, help my unbelief”—Mark 9:24—Or should I just say, help my unbelief?

The Treppenwitz Christentum is a multifaceted wonder, that is no wonder through the gift of unbelief.

Agua Buena, Tonosi—Panama, en mi casa


Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

33 thoughts on “Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte”

  1. Interesting…. I love the idea that languages create their own “little worlds”, that your perception of the word is shaped in part by the structure and words in your language 🙂 Really cool to see the linguistic diversity and how people categorize and perceive things differently, things we would take for granted in English and other European languages… This article is really fascinating by Benjamin Whorf, a famous linguist 🙂 He was integral in promoting this theory of language and perception!

    Click to access whorf.scienceandlinguistics.pdf

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s a good share! It’s interesting what goes on in a culture, or what climate you live in may require a special word not needed elsewhere. The word “Iktsuarpok” (Inuit)
    is that feeling of anticipation when you’re waiting for someone to show up at your house and you keep going outside to see if they’re there yet? I imagine living out in the middle of nowhere like they have, going for days with no contact that a special word would be needed. “Where you going George? Iktsuarpok. Why? You already did that yesterday…

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Absolutely. I may have to use part of that in a future post. I loved the summary at the end.
        A fair realization of the incredible degree of diversity of linguistic system that ranges over the globe leaves one with an inescapable feeling that the human spirit is inconceivably old; that the few thousand years of history covered by our written records are no more than the thickness of a pencil mark on the scale that measures our past experience on this planet; that the events of these recent millenniums spell nothing in any evolutionary wise, that the race has taken no sudden spurt, achieved no commanding synthesis during recent millenniums, but has only played a little with a few of the linguistic formulations and views of nature bequeathed from an inexpressibly longer past. Thanks so much. The entire contrast of the Hopi “timeless language” really makes one wonder if we know anything at all…Or just a narrow slice.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I love looking at those culture specific words because while they may or may not tell me about the culture that made them they definitely tell me about my own. I see iktsuarpok as being a really beautiful kind of anticipation — truly honouring the presence of the other person. That person is THAT important. English has a rich and large vocabulary for the most part but it is notoriously poor in words describing emotion. Unlike the Japanese we don’t have a word for forest bathing. Unlike the Germans we don’t have a word for taking secret pleasure in seeing your enemy chagrined. The list is long.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great comment Anima! I dabble in words a lot. I seem to create neologisms all the time because English is quite lacking is specific generalizations (if that makes sense). There are some great words out there.


    1. I think you mean Bullenscheiße. Quite possible that is all any of us know. Religion just has a nicer way of exposing the human conundrum. Written for the world to see how silly man can actually be. LoR’s linguistics attachment here is quite good, if you have a moment or two.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes. When it comes to expressions involving filth and excrement, the Germans know their shit. (Scheiße, Mist, Dreck, Kacke, Schweinerei, Klugscheißer) The last one in particular (smart aleck) can be applied to many apologists.

        I’ll check out the link.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I was fortunate enough to have a German roommate who couldn’t speak English, it provided an opportunity for each of us to learn from the other. One day he was looking at my can of Mennen deodorant that announced itself “Mist for Men.” That was also when I discovered how to learn German grammar from broken English — “I want apples buy.”
          And, to Jim. My unsolicited edit: *Treppenwitz des Christentums.* German inflections are fiercely anal (pingelig)

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Haven’t read LoR’s offering yet, but from the “summary” I think I will like it. In my philosophy spirit is as old as life itself (not meaning just human life, but all life!), and while not any life had a language as we know it today, back at the start of life on Earth, there was learning happening, and there was inherent knowing. With each evolutionary progression, physical or spiritual, more learning and knowing was constantly being added.
    The statement ” bequeathed from an inexpressibly longer past” fits in perfectly for me.

    My problem is, all I have is really one language, English, that I can use with competence, and English, IMO, is the worst possible language for spiritual discussions on a cosmic scale. I try to make available words fit my purpose, but that does not work well. I tried making new words or phrases, that was a bust. And I tried learning new languages, but I seem to have some kind of mental block. Telepathy is the only real choice for me, but it is not a well-practised language. Maybe some day…


  4. Jim, life is so full of contradictions that it’s no surprise our religious beliefs are riddled with them. I’ve learned to navigate them all by keeping an open mind in my relationships with others who don’t share my beliefs.

    I believe that with humility, tolerance, acceptance, and compassion, atheists and religious adherents can find common ground to work together for a better world within the Web of Life.

    Thanks for the follow 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree. I did a post a little while back and the premise was the only real compromise with religion is tolerance. I can’t sort of believe, but I can respect the person. And I think it needs to run both ways. Thanks you. I’ve seen you around a bit lately. You have really excellent comments and posts. Looking forward to reading your blog regularly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. the only real compromise with religion is tolerance. I can’t sort of believe, but I can respect the person.

        Nicely said.
        I may disagree with your religious beliefs but that shouldn’t make us enemies

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m still in Washington. Lookin like July, first full month of the rainy season to go to Panama. I was hoping to spend winters but with the older kids getting graduated and sports and university and all, I’m marooned in the snow. It’ll be this way a couple of years. I’ll survive…maybe

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great! It’s late, too much Mexican food I ate. The crazy margarita was delish, but now Ima bit loco. And you want me to think about ‘Malapropism, hyperbole, all with the adequate adumbration.’ I’m too Irish to use such words. My head hurts now. Good night, Mi amigo ateo.

    Liked by 1 person

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