Thursday, February 24, 2011


Religion casts us into the deepest of all prisons

No religion is capable of altering the fact that the behaviour of men is a behaviour apart from God. All that religion can do is to expose the complete godlessness of human behaviour ... Woe be to us, if from the summits of religion there pours forth nothing but religion! Religion casts us into the deepest of all prisons: it cannot liberate us. Flesh is flesh; and all that takes place within its sphere, every step we undertake towards God, is as such weak. Because of the qualitative distinction between God and man the history of religion, Church History, is weak, utterly weak. Since religion is human, utterly human history, it is flesh, even though it be draped in the flowing garments of the 'History of Salvation'.

Source: Commentary on Romans 8:3,4 in Karl Barth's The Epistle to the Romans. Edwyn C. Hoskyns, trans. (New York: Oxford UP, 1933, 1968).

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