The Wrong Schlong

I just gotta blog about Michelangelo’s painting in the “Sistine Chapel” showing God creating Adam:

Does anyone other than me see a problem with this picture?

Well, I’ve changed the diapers of three boys now, and I’m telling you I’ve never seen anything that small except, maybe, in the first six months. Now, I don’t presume to tell God what he’s doing, but I just gotta believe He would do a better job than that thing.

Then it hit me why Michelangelo drew it that way: some pope in the dark ages declared sex was the “original sin” that caused “The Fall.” Since Papal Bull (as the Catholic church labels it) is axiomatic and rarely deprecated, this weird view of human sexuality permeated everything back then–and still is Catholic dogma!

So of course this explains why Michelangelo thought God gave Adam only something big enough to pee with. They came up with so many wacko beliefs in the dark ages!

Now if Papal Bulls were wrong about Galileo (the Vatican admitted recently), wrong about the Spanish Inquisition (never reversed), wrong about all non-Catholics are doomed to hell (Vatican-reversed in ’64),1 and wrong to ban private reading of the Bible (also reversed in ’64), is it not possible this is the ‘Wrong Schlong’ after all?

Far less humorous but equally non-biblical was the Papal Bull that stipulates salvation requires good works. But it isn’t the exclusive purview of Catholicism, because many Protestants also think salvation requires good works. Weird the way that works.

(As an aside, I asked a couple of the leaders in Greg’s CG what they thought was wrong with the picture, and, well, let me just say it took a while for one of them to figure it out…hmmm.)

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  1. From Vatican II, Wikipedia: the Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christ, but who do not however profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.” []
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14 thoughts on “The Wrong Schlong

  1. Rick

    I never really analyzed it until now…
    …but this painting apparently depicts the scenario before the fall – and yet God seems so set appart, or distant from Adam. It looks like God struggles to touch Adam. Furthermore, God looks like he’s actually smashing one of His angels under his weight. Or maybe the angels are actually holding Him from falling out of heaven! God doesn’t depend on any other created being. Is there gravity in heaven? I don’t think so. I’m not sure how else he could have depicted the scene but maybe it’s kinda like a parable, it just makes the simple point – God Created, and you can’t read too much more into it.

  2. anonymous

    Very weak argument here. Just Catholic-bashing tripe, really.
    ~Cf. Greek statuary–very much B.C.
    ~ No one told the tempermental Michelangelo what do create, the Pope was lucky to have him to anything. Moreover, he worked on the Sistine Chapel in as much secrecy as possible.
    ~Offended Church authorities were known to have fig leaves painted over privates. These were removed years later.
    ~ The posting to which I’m responding is beyond sophomoric; I don’t know why I bothered to respond. I suppose the lack of artistic and historical knowledge
    encountered here was just too much.

  3. KMcC

    I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make it sound so sophomoric, but on the other hand, it was funny & fun…

    But also, it cannot be denied that official Catholic doctrine holds the positions mentioned above. I personally wouldn’t try to defend such positions – they seem untenable, and in some cases quite reprehensible.

    All I’m saying is that art is a reflection of its surrounding culture. I must admit I really don’t know what Michealango was told or not told, and you’re probably right – nobody gave him orders about this issue. But we do know about the theological climate he was raised under, and the influences at work in his art. This is why we see the “Wrong Schlong”.

  4. anonymous

    One last question for those of you who are hyper-evangelicals or dyed-in-the-wool Protestants: Where was your “reformed’ Church, from say, about the time of Constantine until the first rumblings of the Reformation? I’ll even give you before Luther all the way back to “Piers Plowman” (and that’s generous). There is at least an 800 year span when God saw fit to express Christianity in both the Latin and Roman versions; that is, in both Rome and Constantinople. You might be tempted to say that there were “cells” of the faithful practicing their fragile beliefs at this time, but that is untenable. They would of had no access to secret meetings, manuscripts, and were probably illiterate and were certainly flirting with imprisonment or death. No, most Europeans were illiterate, farming the land, concerned with survival against famine, plague, and war, and embraced Orthodoxy as the one secure constant in their world. Face it, the Reformed Church is late to the party, and was made possible only after the Twelfth-century Renaissance. (not to be confused with Florentine).

  5. j. ramsey

    If I understand the question correctly, you’re asking “Where was the reformation before the reformation?”

    I think this could best be answered by another question: Where were you before you were born?

  6. KMcC

    Wow Anonymous, you’re not only well-read and well-educated on these matters, but you’re also delightfully insightful. I appreciate your remonstrance against my Remonstrance!

    My short answer: you’re correct in saying that God worked through the Vatican and Eastern Orthodoxy. I would go further, and say that God continues working through both. This is especially true because they continue to preach “Christ and him crucified,” and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Luke 24:47 (NASB)

    But simply because God did work through an organization doesn’t validate their practices or beliefs. God can work through anyone, anywhere, anytime. God even uses Satan (1 Cor. 5:5), and asses (i.e., a donkey – 2 Pet. 2:16). Sometimes, “The Church” (i.e., Vatican) makes it sound like God is obliged to continue using the same churches no matter what, and Revelations 3:14ff clearly refutes such an assumption. Even Israel, God’s chosen people, cannot claim such priviledge.

    And yes, there certainly were movements outside the framework of The Church, and they were (at times) big: such as the Waldensians and Hussites.

    Most significant, I would cite the Dominicans, Franciscans, Benedictines and Jesuits as “protestants” because they all started in protest against the corruption and worldliness of the church and its bureaucracy. Lutherans also would be a reforming Catholic movement if Rome hadn’t kicked them out, I think. M.Luther never intended to leave the church, and didn’t want to. But the Vatican was consolidating its European empire at the time, and was exceptionally intolerant. (See my recent NeoZine article, The Dawn of Covenant Theology.) The polarization resulted in codification of some of the most unbiblical elements of modern Catholicism (Council of Trent, 1544), which continued to erode Rome’s spiritual authority.

    I’m certainly *not* into Reformed Theology, and Protestants are certainly guilty of high crimes against God and His people (and humanity!)… It’s not an issue of Catholic versus Protestant, but rather a biblical world view versus a Kosmos world view.

    Thanks for your feedback, Anonymous!

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