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Peace be with you!
Linguistic acrobatics for religious freedom

The free distribution of Koran editions can of course not be prevented, as there is nothing simpler in terms of religious freedom than the distribution of the basic texts.
It is scandalous enough that the print shop, which is now considering canceling the Salafists' print job, even asked the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Criminal Police whether there was any objection to the printing of the Koran.

Now politicians are trying to prove that, of course, not the Koran itself, but the organization that distributes it should be banned. It will be interesting to follow further developments, especially in terms of language. So far it is becoming apparent that the "religious peace" will allegedly be disturbed if the Muslims make propaganda (a Christian word, by the way) as the Christians up to now, whose basic script can also be acquired free of charge. Of course, lawyers can do everything (see radio license fee report!), And so they may still manage to have the Koran banned.

(I am not yet familiar with the edition in question, but I assume that the new translation that my friend Hartmut Bobzin has just published is better.)

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Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on May 15th, 2021 at 04:34 a.m.


International Theological Commission: The hope of salvation for children who die unbaptized (2007) / ed. from the Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference. - Bonn 2008. - 84 pp. (Arbeitshilfen 224)

You can study that in Germany at state-funded universities.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on April 20, 2021 at 5 a.m.

Hessian Ministry of Culture warns teachers against showing Mohammed cartoons

Well, papal caricatures or even the classic Jesus with a gas mask are tricky in German schools, and the Bavarian Ministry of Culture, for example, intervenes much earlier, as shown (Susan Jacoby case). Religion is not to be trifled with. There is practically no criticism of religion in German newspapers, even if they otherwise criticize anything and everything.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on April 10th, 2021 at 04:24 am

About my penultimate entry: I'm not bad at spelling, even if I don't consider it to be the highest cultural achievement. Hard to believe that I've been on that for quite a while Prophecy stared, feeling that something was wrong. As I can see, I've made the mistake before, but for reasons of psychological interest I refrain from correcting it.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on April 8th, 2021 at 5.30 a.m.

It does not go without saying that in Germany the Federal President speaks to the people on the occasion of a church festival. But even if you accept the custom - what enables and entitles the head of state to such ethno-psychological diagnoses: "Why does it always have to be the superlative in Germany - exultant or saddened to death?" There is practically no further comment, but is freedom of fools that which belongs to a head of state?

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on April 8th, 2021 at 5:08 am


Three years later: Exorcist Söder did not even honestly admit to hypocrisy with his cross regulation, but even simulated it. He pretended not to say openly that he wanted a Christian Bavaria: "In the entrance area of ​​every service building, a clearly visible cross must be placed as an expression of Bavaria's historical and cultural character." (Paragraph 28 of the Rules of Procedure for Bavarian Authorities) - Due to the overflowing opportunism, he has also turned the churches against him. Today nobody wants to be reminded of it, and the inevitable legal proceedings because of Corona are on the back burner.
Is it one of the state's tasks to express the “historical and cultural imprint” of a federal state? And could this be reduced to the influence of a particular religious society?
A few days ago, the SZ recalled all of this and on this occasion gave a very accurate description of Söder's method of repeatedly getting into conversation through powerful firecrackers, most of which fizzle out ineffectively, but he himself cannot be ignored. This corresponds to my observations for 25 years and at the time it moved me to the prophecy that he would become Federal Chancellor. That doesn't seem so daring anymore.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 04/04/2021 at 8:20 a.m.

I think it was Robert Spaemann. who brought God into fashion as a "rumor" and now they're all chasing after. The journalist Matthias Drobinski also spoke of the "rumor of God" in the SZ.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on April 1st, 2021 at 5:58 a.m.

Why is it considered modern to find spirituality in yoga or to attend seminars in silence - but as silly to pray an Our Father? Believers are often laughed at and judged in our society. A plea for freedom to think about God. (SZ Magazin for Good Friday 2021)

The prerequisite is not true at all. Who laughs at the believers? Christianity is ubiquitous and the Church is still powerful. It has to put up with criticism, which, however, should rarely turn into mockery of the faithful. Not everyone should count themselves among the persecuted just because praying in public is sometimes embarrassing - after all, Jesus himself condemned it.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on March 31, 2021 at 5:12 a.m.

We make fun of Hindus who bathe in the Ganges and consider themselves safe because the sanctity of the river triumphs over pathogens (which you can see with the naked eye, so to speak, especially during the monsoon season).

Researchers found in holy water samples from 30 Catholic churches in Germany, Austria and Spain - in the period from 2002 to 2017 - 1,500 to 22,000, an average of 6,000 germs per milliliter. (Wikipedia)

A Catholic doctor I know instructed her children not to actually dip their fingers in the holy water font in the church, but only to pretend.

The Archbishop's Office in Munich sends out moist wipes soaked with holy water to elderly people at Easter. Today Corona is the reason, in the past people built holy water machines because of tuberculosis, all without much success.

A liturgy professor is critical: Feulner, however, rates packaged moist “holy water towels” as bizarre; these had nothing to do with “a memory of the baptism when crossed with the moistened fingers”.
(, corrected)

In the Catholic Church one clings to the material contiguity. This ranges from apostolic succession (an uninterrupted transmission of the blessing by the laying on of hands) to the cult of relics and consecrated objects such as holy water. The Protestants limit themselves to “passing on” the teaching. So opinions differ on the question of magic.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on March 20th, 2021 at 6:01 a.m.

Of course you have to kill unbelievers, this has been known for thousands of years and has been followed at all times. Why do some only get upset about it now?

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on March 9th, 2021 at 1.30 p.m.

Concerning the ban on veiling in Switzerland:

It will be interesting to see whether the ban on veiling will also be enforced against rich Arab women who go shopping in Zurich. The implementing provisions will probably contain further exceptions; one thinks pragmatically (of the rerum nerve).

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on March 8th, 2021 at 5:31 a.m.

While reading an FDR biography noted: The immigrants in the USA and their descendants in some cases strictly opposed further immigration. The KKK was the spearhead, it only wanted to allow whites or Anglo-Saxons and perpetuate their supremacy. The others were said to be neither able nor willing to integrate,
In this country, migrants are best called “non-integrable conquerors”.
In Switzerland, after the referendum, the (around 30) high-explosive Muslim women have to take off their niqab or stay at home, which would improve the cleanliness of the streets. The dangerous minarets also have to go!

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 03.03.2021 at 7:25 a.m.

The newspaper pays tribute to the 1700-year-old introduction of the Sunday rest by Emperor Constantine, but does not mention that it is a question of the Jewish sabbath rest, just postponed to another day polemically.
Today the trade unions in particular hold the position, even without religious justification and despite the many exceptions (which were already there with Constantine, not to mention the fundamental criticism by Jesus himself). The dispute over church labor law has remained as a foreign body in the secular state.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on January 13th, 2021 at 6.15 p.m.

Again to box etc .:

The mother of an Indian friend was very proud of her polished brass pots. When the father mentioned in passing that the water carrier was a flayer (the most unclean thing), she was sad for days. She couldn't change anything because someone had to bring the water.

In remote villages it may still happen today that a casteless man is slain because his shadow has fallen on a brahmin.

How did the white racists in America get along with employing black nannies and cooks? Can you eat something that has been passed through negro hands? Similar questions arise in India.

A German diplomat in India saw the chief minister of a federal state at a meeting, sitting opposite him in national dress (dhoti), legs up on the armchair so that one could see his genitals, picking his nose the whole time. That was a brahmin.

In the presence of Harijans, castes are not mentioned at all. Officially one speaks of S. C. (scheduled castes) or Harijans or B. C. (backward castes). (My memories are from the 1970s.)

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on January 13th, 2021 at 5:09 am

Modi announces international cow competition:

According to local media, the learning material says that killing cows causes earthquakes - and that milk from Indian cows contains traces of gold. People who live in houses with walls covered with cow dung were also spared a serious gas leak in 1984.

At that time I saw many huts with cow dung stuck to the walls to dry. They had no gas connection (they just cooked on the cow dung, which creates the typical Indian country smell), so no gas could escape.

Mad cow disease is mainly used as a weapon against Muslims. (Like the ban on slaughter in this country.)

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on December 24th, 2020 at 5.15 a.m.

Why we should believe in angels today too (Margot Käßmann, Sunday, Christmas 2020)

Strange compilation of believe and should.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on December 2nd, 2020 at 4:53 a.m.

Theologians often switch from the core business, in which they may no longer believe or are no longer convinced of its scientific ability, to the auxiliary sciences and become philologists (most often), ethnologists, historians or religious scholars.

If you are looking for introductions to religious studies, you will only come across works by theologians: Klaus Hock, Ulrich Berner, Michael Stausberg, Johann Figl (one after the other on Amazon). Mostly professing Christians, but the religious scholar Bettina Bäumer (Bettina Sharad Baumer) is also Shivaitin and has even accepted Indian citizenship. Such a fascination can often be found, above all through the Advaita doctrine, which is so characteristic of Indian thought, and the decisive turning away from a personal God in the manner of the Judeo-Christian. Following the sinologist Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer, such religions could also be characterized by the fact that they do not “contingent” salvation (like Christianity).
It can be assumed that theologians view religion differently than non-religious people. Theology does not belong to the free sciences (artes liberales).

What would such an introduction look like from an atheist point of view? (Probably "militant atheist" - this is the attribute automatically added to the unbelievers if they are not silent.)

It belongs in the same tradition when ethics teachers are briefly trained at the theological faculty; it's all the same after all.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on October 8th, 2020 at 5.46 a.m.


The SZ writes about the Indian greeting, which fortunately is spreading more and more:

It is performed by bringing both hands flat in front of the chest with their inner surfaces together and saying "Namaste!" says, which means something like "The divine in me greets the divine in you".

But this nonsense has already been corrected in the online version:

It is carried out by bringing both hands flat in front of the chest with their inner surfaces together and saying "Namaste!" says, which means something like "Greetings to you" or "Greetings to you".

The greeting is not a “religiously charged body ritual” in India and is not only used among Hindus, as the newspaper says.

Wikipedia: Namaste literally means "bow to you". It is a combination of náma (Sanskrit “bow”) and -aste (“to you”).

The latter is nonsense, "te" alone means "you".

The English Wikipedia writes: The term namas is made of 2 words na meaning “not” and mamah meaning “i” or mine. It is therefore “not I”. This implies being open to the person being greeted and sometimes when “namaste” is said to God it refers to bowing or adoration.

This is this typical “kratylos” -like etymologizing nonsense of the pious, which also exists in the Christian area. (All of the interpretations mentioned are also impossible acoustically.) In reality, namas is a noun to the verb nam- "biegen, biegen".

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 07.09.2020 at 5.42 a.m.


The two components of meaning are also expressed in this definition:

"The superstition is subjective and contradicts the better knowledge of its time as well as a belief represented by the majority and can mostly be traced back to remnants of earlier rules of belief and behavior". (Rüdiger Hauth: Compact Lexicon Religions 1998)

Superstition is primarily a religious term and denotes the deviation from correct belief, i.e. the opposite of orthodoxy, heresy, and has no objective meaning in the eyes of science.

In English represents superstition more on the opposition to science and reason. The superstitious pigeons Skinners mentioned are wrong, but they are not heretics.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 02.09.2020 at 7.30 a.m.

"Anyone who wants to leave the church in the canton of St.Gallen and in both Appenzell must have their signature officially certified. St.Gallen justifies this additional effort by providing security for both parties."

The certification costs 30 francs. No certification is required for entry or re-entry. As in all of Germany, it is free of charge.

One would almost like to come to the aid of the church and advise against such counterproductive tricks that have not yet achieved their purpose.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 08/23/2020 at 5:57 a.m.

In addition to the previous one:

(Infant cry)

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 08/22/2020 at 1:04 p.m.


The Union is calling for a ban on "child-free" hotels and restaurants. I can get used to that, regardless of all contractual freedom. There is no right not to be disturbed by children when they are just there and behave in a child-friendly manner.
You can found clubs, possibly also run club houses, to which neither children nor cripples nor negroes nor Jews etc. have access.

Evolutionary biologists have recently found that infant screaming is one of the most unpleasant noises - which of course makes a good sense. According to my observation, the young mothers are most likely to bear it while the rest of us have to fight against infanticidal impulses.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 07.08.2020 at 05.55 a.m.

It has become widespread among intellectuals not to argue about religion, but to be content with what, according to S. J. Gould, is called NOMA (Non-overlapping Magisteria). See

I am one of the critics, but I just want to point out a practical problem. The Catholic Church, for example, recommends teaching children the story of creation without any "fairy tale reservation":

Above you can see a NASA photo, which reinforces the impression that there is no question of "non-overlapping" - the myth is presented as literally true and undoubtedly also recorded. Is that responsible? Not in other subjects. One can and must simplify, but one must not fundamentally deviate from the scientific truth.

A society with a "limping separation" of state and religion has made itself comfortable by looking the other way, but this is not really useful for either side.

Comment from Manfred Riemer, written on July 31, 2020 at 1:28 p.m.

However, I wonder what criteria are used to select the Muslims who are now allowed to go to the Kaaba, and what punishments they face if they dance from the well-arranged and constantly filmed rows.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 07/31/2020 at 12:38 p.m.

The pictures and films of the pilgrimage to Mecca (circumnavigation of the Kaaba) show a miracle of discipline and consideration. That must be said once.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 07/13/2020 at 12:19 p.m.

Anyone who otherwise rejects secularism should not complain about its erosion in other countries (Hagia Sophia).

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 07/06/2020 at 4:52 a.m.

Julius Valentin traveled to America with his friend and partner Emil Rathenau and was enthusiastic about the freedom and enterprise there. "No denomination," he wrote home to report. Obviously he was not referring to a lack of personal piety, but to religious freedom. In Berlin, baptism was a prerequisite for social advancement. I take this from Daniel Hope's research into his family history ("Family pieces: a search for clues").
For the person see

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on June 29th, 2020 at 6:08 am

Susan Blackmore has adopted the meme theory and criticism of religion as her own and distributed it in a missionary book, "The meme machine", which in my opinion is greatly overrated. Dawkins wrote a foreword.

In a rather silly article in the Guardian ( she changed her earlier Dissociates view that religion is a (harmful) virus, and now finds that it is more of a (partially useful) bacterium. Namely after references to the greater willingness to give birth on the part of religious people! So religion is probably adaptive after all. Sobering level.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on June 28th, 2020 at 5:01 am

Dawkins linked his criticism of religion with meme theory. The title of his influential work, Viruses of the Mind, suggests that he considers religion to be some kind of disease.
One can criticize religions for philosophical, political, legal or moral reasons, also and especially in the name of science, but this criticism itself has nothing to do with religious studies.

Dennett's additional remark that religions can also have a use, just as there are viruses that do not damage or even kill the host organism, does not change the core of the criticism.
The virus "religion" programs some afflicted so that they preach religious doctrine as preachers or missionaries (in the broader sense), as inquisitors (in the broader sense) they enforce orthodoxy by means of power or as a pious crowd like a flock of sheep behind their spiritual leader trot on. If a meme can do all of this, its explanatory value is not great. There are more natural explanations for the expansion and persistence of religions.
It is precisely the almost universal spread and longevity of religions that confronts the meme theorist with the question of how such a disease could withstand natural selection. Here, Zahavi's handicap principle is even used again: The robustness of a group is shown precisely in the fact that it can afford such a permanent pandemic.

H. Allen Orr:
If you find it hard to believe that the beneficiaries of religion aren’t human beings but the memes they carry, Dennett asks you to consider what Christians themselves claim to value more than their lives: the Word. “Spreading the Word of God is theirs summum bonum, and if they are called to forgo having children and grandchildren for the sake of spreading the Word, that is the command they will try hard to obey. " Dennett also argues that you can help a religion grow even if you don’t believe in God. People can become conscious stewards of memes they happen to consider benevolent, and, in the case of religion, the result might be a bloodless "belief in belief." People who aren't sure about God may nonetheless be sure that religion is good for society and so encourage its spread.

But you don't need the meme theory for that. In fact, it is ridiculous to give such speculative justifications to these relatively simple, empirically researchable facts.

It's actually a shame, because I share the approach of the so-called "New Atheists" which is critical of religion, but I don't believe in the meme speculation that has led to a flood of superfluous literature.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on June 8th, 2020 at 6:05 am

"Corona and the question of God". After theologians have commented on this, the journalist and theologian Reinhard Bingener holds a kind of Protestant meta sermon on the subject in the FAZ (June 8, 2020). "Since the outbreak of the corona pandemic, its interpretation has been discussed in the churches." Dawkins has often asked: "What is the point of the Matterhorn?" He wanted to show that some questions should not be asked. The semblance of profundity fades faster today than it used to. No wonder more and more people are leaving the church.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on May 25, 2020 at 5:34 a.m.

Hans Maier, complicit in the spelling reform, recalls the crucifix resolution 25 years ago in the FAZ. The crucifix dispute at the time distracted from the spelling reform and made it easier to implement, as we critics have very clearly sensed.

In the same issue a full-page Corona sermon by Bedford-Strohm. On the other hand, Christian Geyer rightly makes fun of the sociologist Hartmut Rosa, who peddles his "unavailability" for the same reason.

In the leading article, Daniel Deckers constantly writes about "sexual violence". He probably doesn't even know which ideological corner he is in with this linguistic rule.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on May 17th, 2020 at 6:21 am

Gallup found that (...) in 2019, 40 per cent of US adults held the view that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so". (Wikipedia: Young Earth Creationism)

Cf. (pretty confused entry that always starts anew; the English one is much better.

It is difficult to determine what people really believe. Often they don't really know it themselves and they avoid thinking about it too long. We certainly do not know about foreign and former groups of people. How far did the ancient Greeks take their beliefs seriously?

Comment from Manfred Riemer, written on May 16, 2020 at 12.14 p.m.

Wikipedia: "In the years 1901–2017, 813 individuals received ... the Nobel Prize."
In the list of German Nobel Prize winners, Wikipedia lists 99 people, i.e. 12%.
(Including the price for economics, the ratio would be 892: 100 people, i.e. about 11%.)

However, only about 1% of the world's population are Germans.
Germans are not 100 times overrepresented in the Nobel Prize as Jews, but they are still more than 10 times. What does that say about Germans? In theory, one could also be surprised.

The country with the greatest density of Nobel Prize winners in terms of population is, by the way, Iceland (1 Nobel Prize, namely for literature to Halldor Laxness).

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on May 16, 2020 at 4:09 a.m.

Nobel Prizes have been awarded to over 900 individuals, of whom at least 20% were Jews although the Jewish population comprises less than 0.2% of the world’s population. (Wikipedia)

Why aren't we surprised?

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on May 9th, 2020 at 5:09 am

The highly learned yet easily readable work "Why Priests?" by Garry Wills, whom I have already recommended several times, shows in detail how the Church has invented a new priesthood over many centuries and has further separated it from the people of the faithful, based everything on the power of the consecration of the host. Wills describes how, as an acolyte, he watched the priest, with whom he was often alone early in the morning (sometimes the famous semiotic Walter J. Ong SJ), put on layer upon layer of his holy robes. In the public mass, the well-known arrangement of the altar zone was added, but above all the Latin language, the main meaning of which (because Jesus did not speak it) was not to be understood by the people.

The book also includes a new translation and commentary on the Letter to the Hebrews.

(The Articles of Faith, to which Wills professes at the end of the book and elsewhere, are not only difficult to understand for unbelievers, but that is a different story.)

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on April 13th, 2020 at 04.35 a.m.

About the beneficial corona epidemic:

In his homily, the Capuchin monk and preacher of the papal house, Raniero Cantalamessa, said that the coronavirus pandemic had freed many in the world from an "omnipotence madness". She also encouraged people to show more solidarity. (FAZ 11.4.20)

Where do people actually live with the omnipotence madness? I do not know anyone.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on April 12th, 2020 at 4.47 p.m.

Church and spirituality are in demand in the Corona crisis according to the assessment of the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing. "I experience that there is a lot of prayer," he said in an interview with the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung".
Many people had checked their resolutions during the Lent that has just ended, for example to selectively go without sweets, according to the Limburg bishop.

The sweets appear so often in fasting sermons that one might think that the clergy were speaking to children - or to other gourmet priests.

Our ecotrophologists think that's right, but the spiritual meaning of chocolate is not exactly obvious.

Incidentally, the same Bishop Bätzing thinks that the corona epidemic could become the "stroke of luck in history". Then, however, the Pope would have been wrong in March:

WORLD: Holy Father, what did you ask when you were praying in the two Roman churches?
Pope Francis: I asked the Lord to stop the epidemic: Lord, stop it with your hand. I prayed for that.
( 3/18/20)

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on April 7th, 2020 at 5:36 a.m.

How can you bring the corona crisis and xenophobia into a useful connection? The general denominator “close borders” is too unspecific. The "national conservatives" whisper about the coming Ramadan, for which Merkel will of course override all contact restrictions.

Comment from Manfred Riemer, written on April 1st, 2020 at 9:57 a.m.

"The experts tell us that we will see a wave of sick people in our hospitals in the coming week," said Baden-Württemberg's Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) yesterday at the virtual government press conference in Stuttgart.
(Mannheimer Morgen, April 1st, 2020, p. 5)

I can still remember the outrage four years ago over the term "wave" in relation to refugees.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on April 1st, 2020 at 5:51 am

Because Peter Sloterdijk also spoke about Corona, I came across his statement from 2016 again: "Now the refugee decides on the state of emergency."

Which refugee? Well, the refugee, like "the Jew".

Carl Schmitt is now being quoted a lot again, the keyword "state of emergency" triggers this reflex in the whole team.

Reinhard Müller (lawyer, FAZ) complains:
“Exit restrictions are basically the means of the Middle Ages. They work when they are enforced. But today one has to ask whether there are more mild and equally effective methods of containing the disease. Possibly even better, if you can avoid a long public standstill that would also demand victims. "
He recommends the “good old mouthguard” and tracking people through cell phone data.
“It is time to use really effective, reasonable means to prevent stagnation and depression. Otherwise we will end up in the Middle Ages. "(1.4.20)

You never stop learning.

There is no need to look for April Fools' jokes because the seriousness of the situation forbids them.

The German Trump admirers cannot be misled:

"Mr. Trump takes care of his people. Unfortunately, I don't have this feeling with Mrs. Merkel." ( March 30, 2020)

"Trump shows insight, I have never seen that from Ms. Merkel." (ibid. 1.4.20)

Every relevant report elicits a myriad of comments of this kind within minutes.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on March 29, 2020 at 7:13 a.m.

Nine of the 16 federal ministers in Merkel IV's cabinet are Catholics, plus 3 Protestants (Merkel, v. D. Leyen, Heil); 4 do not provide any information: Katarina Barley, Olaf Scholz, Franziska Giffey, Svenja Schulze. In the cabinet of 2013 there were no non-denominationalists at all, in the population it was around 35 percent; today there are almost 40.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on March 28, 2020 at 5.49 a.m.

Instead of disinfecting your hands after every handshake like Pope Francis, you could leave it the same and revive other, equally venerable forms of greeting.

Just a few years ago, shaking hands was declared an iron part of our guiding culture. At that time, of course, it was against Muslims. Today distance is the new decency. Death makes everyone equal.

Comment from Manfred Riemer, written on March 17th, 2020 at 5.26 p.m.

Yes, the curtsey! It was around 1985, I was at work in my office and a handful of apprentices presented themselves for the internship. A pretty 17 year old curtsied in front of me, very graceful and modest, but I was only in my early 30s and thought, oh God, how old can she think me?

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on March 17th, 2020 at 4:09 p.m.

It is well known that the modes of greeting change quickly and also wander across borders. Think of hello, ciao etc., the hinted kiss on the cheek - very strange to me in the past and still uncomfortable today. Where is the curtsey that the little girls were asked to do? Shaking hands has not been as common as it was before. I don't necessarily want to campaign for Indian, but I think change is possible.
In a sense, all forms of courtesy are "exotic", as the name suggests (from the court).

Comment from Manfred Riemer, written on March 17th, 2020 at 3:11 p.m.

"Palms together and head tilted slightly"

Well, I don't know, you don't have to break off and introduce some new, exotic fashions.
A friendly nod and "Hello" or "Guten Tag" has always done, and once the crisis is over, you will be able to shake hands tightly again. It really is a nice custom.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on March 17th, 2020 at 5.15 a.m.

The Indian greeting is now heard from many sides Namaste (with "Anjali" gesture: palms together and a slight tilt of the head) recommended, which I have long believed to be right. A FAZ reader who thinks that too goes too far when he translates "I greet the divine in you". - It's like an Indian ours Good day or Puddle di wanted to give a spiritual interpretation, although the path to formulas was exactly the opposite. Namas-te literally means "bow to you", everything else is then a religious charge that the ordinary Indian certainly does not think of in everyday dealings.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on March 14th, 2020 at 4:01 a.m.


Even the FAZ now sees a need for action (report and comment on March 14, 2020). Daniel Deckers mentions the "priceless fortune" that was stolen from the churches over 200 years ago. From "actually inestimable" (like otherwise only the value of human life) one could deduce the eternity of the payment obligation.
How did the church (a religious society!) Even come to this wealth? That is not an issue, but it is interesting, also from the point of view that other expropriations took place without compensation.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on March 13th, 2020 at 7:37 a.m.

US President Donald Trump said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought India together and that he is the "Father of India".

To decorate the Hindu nationalist divider of India with the honorary title of Mahatma Gandhi is a powerful piece. But maybe he confused the two? Everything is possible:

"He is like an American version of Elvis (Presley)," said Donald Trump. However, it seems that Trump wanted to say that Modi is an "Indian version" of the legendary performer. (India Today 9/24/19)

It is also reported that Google saw a surge in searches for "Elvis" in India because Presley is not known to most (younger) Indians. He was probably too American.

Incidentally, the whole episode was hardly reported in the German media, I only came across it by accident. Such things can easily get lost under Trump's daily effusions.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on March 8th, 2020 at 7:08 am

More and more Berliners are deliberately leaving the churches (Tagesspiegel 1.3.20)

Consciously, of course - how else? However, the entry usually happens unconsciously (child baptism). That is why there are "church exit laws" in most federal states - a curiosity that I did not know about until now.

Speaking of Berlin:

It costs 30 euros to leave the capital. The Greens now want to - repeatedly - change that. Werner Graf, state chairman of his party, told the Tagesspiegel: "Leaving the church must be free - it must not be a financial question of whether you are a member of a religious community." In Berlin, such a fee for leaving was only introduced in 2014: With the Voices from Klaus Wowereit's red-black coalition, the “law introducing an administrative fee for leaving the church” was passed at that time.

Apparently neither of the two "partners" benefited from the introduction of the fee. And some are gradually realizing the destructive effect of partnering. Perhaps the turning away from the churches and the turning away from the "old parties" are somehow related.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on March 6th, 2020 at 7:02 am

The head of the Center for Research on Antisemitism speaks in a contribution for the FAZ of 2000 years of anti-Semitism etc., while she always names Jews and (Christian and Muslim) hostility towards Jews in detail, i.e. without the unhistorical racist tongue. Why do you allow the Nazis to impose the concepts of race on you? Even if the Jews see themselves as a people and not just a religious community, they are still not a race.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 02/14/2020 at 8:06 am

The FAZ always has books critical of religion reviewed by theologians (today Stephen Greenblatt through Roland Kany), books critical of psychoanalysis by psychoanalysts. It will be difficult with homeopathy, but the letters to the editor remain. So everything is balanced and there is peace.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on January 26th, 2020 at 7:50 a.m.

There seem to be two mainstreams in the extensive literature on the parables of Jesus. Some see it as encodings of teaching, others, on the contrary, explanations. The latter therefore also criticize Ratzinger's "Jesus".

I tend to take the second view. There are puzzles, oracles, etc. in the oldest literature as well, but that is a different genre. In the Upanishads, which certainly contain "esoteric" teachings, parables are popularizing explanations. I am thinking, for example, of the famous parable of salt in the Chandogya Upanishad. This can also be used to explain the shocking "Tat tvam asi" to a child.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on January 13th, 2020 at 2:34 p.m.

The former Pope Benedict surprised his successor Francis with unusual words. He appealed to him not to loosen celibacy. "I can't stay still," writes Benedikt. (...) The 92-year-old Benedict argues according to "Figaro" in the book that marriage "affects the man in his entirety" - since the priesthood also claims the whole of the man, "it does not seem possible to have both vocations to pursue at the same time ". (t-online.13.1.20)

For half a day I have been brooding over the "totality of the man", including my marriage. In the past, female teachers were not allowed to be married either, but instead stood in front of the class in their entirety.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 04.01.2020 at 04.42 a.m.

In my experience with people and books, no one is dissuaded from believing in gods etc. through experiences or arguments, but one discovers to a certain extent that one is actually not a believer at all, but just swam with the river and had a say.

Religious educators recognize this when they say that children should "discover" their faith in religious instruction. Of course, they could also discover something completely different. That is why the general jubilation about the multi-religious instruction (Hamburg etc.) is premature. Atheism is not provided alongside the many beautiful religions, but this does not eliminate it as a possibility.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on November 15, 2019 at 04.47 a.m.

In the run-up to Christmas, the mailbox fills up again with begging letters of all kinds. Including those somewhat thick envelopes by the "mouth and foot painting artists" that impressed me even as a child. At that time, many amputated war victims were still alive, so the matter had a certain plausibility.
I always throw away the postcards I sent with me, which I can keep even if I don't pay for them, because I don't want to send them to people who might have found the same inexpensive solution, but shouldn't I be a little ashamed? Of course not, see

Comment from Manfred Riemer, written on November 3rd, 2019 at 9:17 p.m.

If I can see that correctly in the photos, all Nuremberg Christkindln have long, blond-curled wigs at least at the main ceremony on the gallery of the Frauenkirche. Is that correct? That would be a shame with the new Christkindl. She has such gorgeous, angelic, curly, natural hair, that's exactly how she should appear at the opening.

What did the AfD district editor write?
"Nuremberg has a new Christ Child. One day we will be like the Indians."
Protest sounds different in my opinion, and an official AfD announcement would probably not be launched on Facebook either. To me it sounds more like resignation or a warning about doom.

Of course he made a fool of himself, there is no need to refute it. But on the other hand, do his words justify the outbreak of political opponents that followed, that it was pure racism, agitation and hatred?

Neither the pity for the Indians nor the fear that one day we might feel like them have something to do with racism or with hatred or with agitation. The AfD member's statement does not disparage any race, so it is not racist, but is directed against the current immigration policy. Such an attitude can be called nationalistic, but not racist. As far as I know, the AfD sees itself as the spokesman for those who do not want to melt down the different cultures of the world, but want to protect them. It is not for multiculturalism in Germany, but for the fact that every people, every culture in their ancestral homeland develops independently.

Such a right, conservative, nationalist opinion is naturally to be tolerated as part of the democratic spectrum, just as left, social, liberal, Christian attitudes are to be tolerated. These currents have to face democratic elections. All of their supporters, including the AfD, have the right not to be flatly defamed as extremist, anti-democratic, misanthropic.

Instead of unfoundedly swinging the racism and Nazi club against the AfD at every possible opportunity, democratic forces should join forces to take action against the real left, right and Islamist racists and Nazis, i.e. all extremists.

The stupid personal criticism of the newly elected Nuremberg Christkindl could only arise from the current, highly polarized situation in our society. As long as the government continues to ignore the sensitivities of large parts of the population with its head through the wall and declare them radical, misconduct, radicalization and stupid sayings of individuals will increase.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on November 1st, 2019 at 4:53 p.m.

To protest the AfD against the Mudblood, which was elected the Nuremberg Christ Child: "In the Nuremberg costume representation, the Christ Child is a young woman with curly blond hair, a crown and a white and gold angel-like dress." (Wikipedia Christ Child) Should this age-old custom ( since 1933, until 1968 portrayed by actors) then be worth nothing? But how did the Christ Child come about, especially a blond girl?

The district association apologizes:
"I definitely do not share such content. I would like to apologize to Ms. Munsi on behalf of the district association. We think she will be a very good Christkind for Nuremberg." Iranians and Chinese are members of the district association, Specht continues.

As if that was what it was all about!

What actually makes a very good Christ child? Difficult theological question.In the extensive “Dictionary of Christianity” the Christ Child is not mentioned at all - like many other things that are important for ordinary Christians all year round, especially for their children.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 09/12/2019 at 5:17 a.m.

Whether Islam “belongs” to Germany or the AfD is a “bourgeois” party - one should not take part in such semantic discussions, and German lessons should teach why one should not.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 04.09.2019 at 04.33 a.m.

Juist in September. More school classes than in the main season. Again many migrant children among them, almost always a few black ones and occasionally a headscarf girl. Apparently complete "integration", the normal lack of prejudice of children.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 04.09.2019 at 04.15 a.m.


Since the number was steadily declining, the prayer was opened over time to administrative staff, parliamentary groups and members of parliament, which means that around 15 people attend the prayer today. (äude)

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 08/11/2019 at 4.35 p.m.

Relations with the Poles were based on the most profound mutual contempt. The Pole despised the Jew because he is a Jew, and the Jew despised the Pole because he is not a Jew. Hatred, especially racial hatred, was unknown. This came into the country later from Germany. (Mark Lidzbarski: On the Rough Path. Gießen 1927: 94)

Incidentally, I became aware of this book through Wilamowitz, who recommended it in his late work "The Faith of the Hellenes" (author and book title misspelled).

The memories of his childhood in a strictly religious, absurdly bigoted (according to the author himself) Jewish family and surroundings of the Semitist, who was born in 1868, are really worth reading. A short summary here:

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 07/19/2019 at 4:28 am

Allegations of Islamism against the Adorno Imam
In his half-hour lecture to thousands of Ahmadiyya supporters in Karlsruhe, Ahmed said sentences that have since been circulating as video snippets on the Internet and causing indignation. "In Western secular thinking, reason was put in place of God," he says, for example. “This absoluteness of reason cannot be brought into harmony with Islam. In this regard, the epistemological position of Islam is very clear. And this is diametrically opposed to the western secular position. "
( 7/19/19)

The Pope could have said that mutatis mutandis, z. B. Benedict XVI. But nobody really listens to that. The further mentioned appeal to Horkheimer and Adorno and their criticism of the Enlightenment is justified. There are innumerable texts which state, either with praise or criticism, that the Enlightenment put "reason in the place of God". This is partly true, but today most enlightened people should simply try to be reasonable without any cult of reason. Only some pious do not see the difference.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 07/07/2019 at 07:06

The AfD in Baden-Württemberg wants to know the citizenship of the cultural workers in state institutions by request. (The Ulm theater responded satirically.) The whole thing is reminiscent of the “Jewish census” (

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on July 4th, 2019 at 4:24 am

About the classical philologist Albin Lesky it says on Wikipedia:

Lesky belonged to the NSDAP during the Nazi era (membership number 7,252,762). However, after the war, Lesky was able to make credible that he had only joined the NSDAP for reasons of career policy. As a former NSDAP member, he had to register after the end of the Second World War, but was able to practice his profession again as early as 1946 after a decision by the denazification commission.

One reads it similarly in many biographies. Someone professes to be an opportunist in order to avoid being accused of being Nazi convictions. A different ranking of the “values” would be conceivable: misguided but sincere.

Which professor would you prefer to study with: a former Nazi or someone who only pretended to be a Nazi in order to pursue a career? (It should be admitted that most of the former Nazis were still some in their hearts and should not have been suddenly converted by denazification.)

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 07/01/2019 at 9:32 a.m.

In today's FAZ there is a full-page article by Franz-Xaver Kaufmann about clericalism in the Catholic Church, i. H. about the origin and future of the concentration of all important functions on ordained priests, with a sideways glance at Pope Francis. Quite good, but I would like to point out again the excellent book by Garry Wills:
He added "The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Frances".

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 06/30/2019 at 5:21 am

Every prophet, no matter how crazy he is, finds his followers. For example Jakob Lorber, who was also referred to by Austrian anti-Semites. There is still a non-profit Lorber society:

"The Lorber Society is a registered non-profit association that has set itself the task of preserving the original works of the Graz mystic Jakob Lorber (1800-1864) and making them accessible to other people."

In this original one finds such stunning insights as this:

"A Jew, as he is now made, is completely a pig; even the outward appearance certifies for everyone to which animal class this human race belongs. A Jew now generally looks like a pig, and smells like a pig, and rolls around everywhere in the most despicable mud of the world like a pig to quench his thirst for gold and silver. "

Today's admirers also know the answer to current questions:

"Every organ donor has to reckon with the fact that despite his so-called brain death he will suffer terrible pain during organ removal because he is not sufficiently anesthetized. But even if the pain that arises during organ removal is sufficiently anesthetized, organ transplantation is in principle a sacrilege into the divine order of creation, and therefore no one should consent to organ donation! "

One has a magazine, maintains meeting places, etc., just non-profit.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on June 29th, 2019 at 5:07 am

Thesis 11
Angels create the environment. The angel places people in ecological contexts and teaches them to see the world as a unit. It leads to a holistic view of people and the world. A theological ethics that dares to think ecological horizons will be allowed to reflect on God's angels.
(Uwe Wolff: The Return of the Angels. Impulse No. 32 Stuttgart II / 1991)

(Ibid .: The hints, observations and memories that have been made may set impulses for responsible speech about God's angels in church and school. The following theses are intended for further necessary discussion, which are intended to show that the central medium of angels, as a didactic principle of God's revelation, creates points of contact for interreligious, intercultural dialogue spanning all ages and ages. The angel opens up access to beliefs in the past and present and enables critical dialogue between Christian and non-Christian images of God in religious instruction and community work.)

Whether the believers have any inkling of what their theological teachers say about it The central medium of angels as a didactic principle think?

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 06/24/2019 at 5:10 p.m.


From Wikipedia I learn that there are drowsy and more sleepy gallows; the three-sleepers were particularly popular.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on June 19, 2019 at 4:58 a.m.

Go to again

I haven't read Klaus Berger's book on the humor of Jesus. The blurb on Amazon says:

"Only in some apocryphal Gospels does Jesus himself laugh, but otherwise he makes people laugh and thereby frees them from the labyrinth of their astray."

But is it reported that the audience laughed? I do not remember. Jesus speaks in the tone of the OT prophets, constantly quoting them or alluding to them. This tone is not humorous, but deadly serious, apocalyptic.

As always, I am happy to be taught, but this attempt to make the Bible palatable to today seems to me to be a failure.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on June 10th, 2019 at 7:14 am


Even at Whitsun 2019, the FAZ (including the FAS) no longer brings a reflective article; in the past there was sometimes something about the variety of languages ​​or similar pareligious texts.

It seems to me that guest contributions by theologians have also decreased significantly.

Heribert Prantl headlined in the Süddeutsche Zeitung: "Whitsun is a festival against exclusion".

Comment from R. M., written on 04.06.2019 at 1:18 p.m.

If you look at the versions of StGB § 189, you will find that the prank lawmaker created a rubber paragraph based on a Nazi reform of 1943.

At least Gerhard Augst can rest assured that he should not be denigrated, at least posthumously.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 04.06.2019 at 12:37 p.m.

Kassel district president: right-wing extremists mock those killed ( 4.6.19)

You could say so:

Was he a victim of his own ideology? (Readers at 4/4/19, apparently deleted in the meantime, but everything that appears at is still bad enough. One day the newspaper will have to ask itself unpleasant questions.)

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on 05/30/2019 at 6:47 a.m.

Google doodles Father's Day, not Ascension Day. On its technology side, the FAZ appropriately brought new models of handcart, but not a contemplative article like at Easter or Christmas (I'm looking forward to Pentecost).
In the forest it will be quite loud again today. Some groups only make it to the edge of the forest, where they call out tipsy greetings to us hikers.
The efforts to turn it into a men's day have practically long been fulfilled; we know the boys and we know that most of them have not yet given birth to a child. The powerful portable radios are relatively new.
This is how customs arise, almost out of nowhere. I often think of later archaeologists and their probably fantastic theories about the origin of our festivals.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on May 30, 2019 at 5:08 am

The political events in Israel are difficult to understand from the outside because the amalgamation of politics and religion has become alien to us. I happen to be reading the book of Ezra in the OT. You don't notice anything about it in religious education. After the Babylonian captivity, Ezra tightened the prohibition of mixed marriage. Existing marriages were dissolved, women and children were sent away (right? The text is silent about the details; also about why they did not convert). Orthodoxy and racial unity have since formed a unit, and the dispute over this still divides society today.
In the OT there are also exemplary female figures of foreign origin (Tamar, Ruth ...). Did they all convert to marry sons of Israel (like Ruth or Trumps)?

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on May 21, 2019 at 3:15 p.m.

"Buddhism is the export form of Hinduism." (Charles Eliot 1921) - Put it nicely. Hinduism became a world religion by breaking away from the caste system. Comparable would be the universalization of Judaism (a tribal religion) by Christianity and then again by Islam.

Glasenapp distinguishes the western religions of the "historical revelation of God" (which, however, also all come from the East, from our point of view) from the eastern "religions of the eternal world law". The watershed would be the Hindu Kush, for example.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on May 16, 2019 at 6:13 am

News from Austria:

"The wearing of ideological or religious clothing that is associated with covering the head" will be prohibited in future. This was decided by the National Council on Wednesday evening.
Taschner rejected the accusation of populism: "Standing up for the education is not populist at all."

The ban is worded in such a way that it affects only Muslims. Other religions can show their symbols without violating the "Enlightenment".

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on May 9th, 2019 at 5:53 p.m.

The head of priestly education in the largest German diocese, the Archdiocese of Cologne, described homosexuals as sick in a lecture. Homosexuality is not innate, but "the consequence of a psychological (incorrect) development" that takes place in childhood or adolescence and leads to a "gender inferiority complex", quoted the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" on Thursday from the manuscript of a lecture by Father Romano Christen Theology students. Accordingly, in the manuscript of the director of the Collegium Albertinum, homosexual love is less "the real encounter with a you", but rather "a narcissistic search". The "fixation on lust" should "heal one's own inner wound and calm self-pity".

No reason to be outraged. After all, sick is not evil, and what the man has said is a well-known concoction from Freud and other theories that may even contain some truth, but that no longer matters. In any case, it is not the moral condemnation as in the catechism.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on May 9th, 2019 at 5.49 p.m.

Yes, I still consider infant baptism, through which one becomes a paying member of the Church, to be an immoral contract at the expense of third parties. It is the main reason why the number of members can still hold up to some extent. It is allowed to happen as one of the many inconsistencies that refer to custom and tradition ("proven" is the keyword).
My opinion does not come from hostility to the Church, but from dispassionate legal considerations.I do not question the parents' right to raise their children religiously (or indoctrinate them, if you will), simply because one always has to raise the children somehow; but the decision to become a member of a corporation should be separated from this and postponed to the age of legal capacity or religious age. That is what some churches and many theologians think.

Comment from Erich Virch, written on May 9th, 2019 at 3:56 p.m.

I don't think it is good for elementary school children not to drink all day. Nor do I believe that the compulsory headscarf is conducive to the healthy development of twelve year old girls. The fact that other religious institutions like the Catholic Church are not much better, possibly even worse, does not help any child. You once criticized the practice of teaching children “their” religion. After all, children are not born with anyone, but are usually forced into one. That seems to me to be the opposite of religious freedom.

Comment from Theodor Ickler, written on May 9th, 2019 at 13.09