Christianism Watch: The Sign of the Fish Enlisted for War

A pretty darn ironic image: one of the Prince of Peace’s symbols enlisted for nationalist identification and war:



Of course, Constantine did something similar with the cross. But, if a contemporary Christian uses the sign of the fish in this way, is she saying that Christianity is a religion of peace or a religion of war?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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5 Responses to Christianism Watch: The Sign of the Fish Enlisted for War

  1. Firstly – I’ve created a facebook event for this year’s Meal With A Muslim day. It’s here

    To save time I will blog your last year’s results of MWAM day on mine. (So busy right now!) I recommend you blog something too, so we have a page or two to direct people to that is not facebook.

    I’ve emailed you too, Santi. By the way, a colleague of mine at a New Zealand university is an expert on the text and literary development of the Qu’ran. She reads Arabic. I think she’s Catholic, not Muslim. Very bright cookie.


    And to respond to this post… yeah, this kind of imagery disgusts me, especially as an “ex” christian- I would have been equally disgusted when I was a believer. Happily, *many* christians share my disgust. Note, I’m fine with people praying for troops, praying for peace etc. It’s the implicit “God bless our war” that the image evokes that I don’t like. I wonder if the maker or person with it on their car even realises that meaning?

    By coincidence, I’m writing an academic paper on religion, war and nationalism as we speak. This image will go into a presentation I’m giving soon. I’m basing it on this highly provocative article. I don’t necessarily agree with all that is said (the definition of religion is probably the key question), but it is academically and personally very interesting in the study of civil religion and war.

  2. Paradigm says:

    I don’t know what Jesus would think of it but any nation incapable of defending itself will soon cease to exist. Self defence is not pro war.

    • santitafarella says:

      I agree with you that self-defense is not pro-war, but the Christianity of the Sermon on the Mount is also not the Christianism of contemporary evangelical capitalist nationalists in the United States. Jesus’s very spiritual strategy was a repudiation of this-worldly defenses of any sort; an exposure to harm’s way without anxiety or retaliation, focused on the love of God. Reject this strenuous spiritual path, as you please. Buy insurance; worry about tomorrow; take up arms in your sea of troubles; and beat the shit out of anyone who tries to take your coat, but don’t conflate what you’re doing with the strategy of Jesus.


  3. conservative says:


    You’re confusing Christianity with pacifism. Being a Christian does not mean being a pacifist. That is, Christians don’t believe in the slogan “peace at any cost”. Neither does God. If He did, then He would have prevented the Allies from fighting and the world would have fallen under the totalitarianism of Stalin or Hitler.

    spritzophrenia, do you realize that if all Christians and all people in this country would have been
    or would be as pacifist as you are, you wouldn’t be living in a free country today?…

    Many people, including many Christians have been deceived into thinking that Jesus the Nazarene was this timid and soft spoken type of guy. That He never got angry and would never agree to an armed defense of one’s family, land, country or even own person. He would never rebuke anyone for doing something immoral or unethical. It’s no wonder that this kind of effeminate Christ re-invented by the Devil and his brainwashed postmodern disciples among theologians and leftist intellectuals, does not appeal to most men as a masculine role model. He is not someone most men would want to follow, and I don’t blame them.

    On the other hand, there are those who see Jesus Christ and implicitly God, as this stern, cold and harsh ruler who never smiles, never shows any emotions, especially not tears, and who is always out to get you for misbehaving. In reality, neither perception of God is true. In fact, neither one is biblical. They are both at the extreme and they are invented by people.

    Jesus Christ as God manifest in human form, was and is, both meek and angry. Both sensitive and tough. He is very compassionate and forgiving, but no one can take advantage of His compassion and get away with doing wrong. He is not someone you can take advantage of.

    The teaching about turning the other cheek, must be interpreted in its context. Christ was talking at the individual level, if you are insulted or mistreated, you should not do the same thing to the other person. That does not apply to a man whose family is attacked, for example. In that context, a person who defends their family, has every right to use force, even armed force. God doesn’t expect a man to turn the other cheek if his children and wife are attacked or threatened. In fact, He expects that man to fight for his family, thus showing his love for them. That’s related to what you said, about the love of God. Love means that you defend and protect those you love. A loving God is not a wimpy God. The same thing applies to a country.

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