Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Anti-Beatitudes

Sometimes it helps to think about what things are not in order to understand what they are.  This has sometimes been called the via negative, the way of the negative (or the "apophatic" tradition). In this case I have turned the beatitudes of Jesus into paraphrases of their opposite expression. They are by no means an exact inversion, but rather an interpretation. Nevertheless, the process of thinking about what words might articulate the opposite of what Jesus taught in the Beatitudes is a fascinating way to explore His teaching further.

Particularly compelling is that these "Anti-Beatitudes" resonate with me in many ways that Jesus' Beatitudes do not. In other words, I find many of these phrases more descriptive of my lifestyle than those found in Matthew's and Luke's gospels. Perhaps you too will find this a meaningful reflection. 


  • Blessed are the rich, for they will struggle to enter the kingdom of God. (cf. Luke 6:20, 18:24-25)
  • Blessed are those who party all the time, for they need nor receive comforting. (cf. Matt. 5:4)
  • Blessed are the powerful, for they shall take hold of the earth. (cf. Matt 5:5)
  • Blessed are those who crave unfairness, for their craving shall be insatiable. (cf. Matt. 5:6)
  • Blessed are the merciless, for they will obtain no mercy themselves. (cf. Matt. 5:7)
  • Blessed are those with dishonest hearts, for they cannot see God. (cf. Matt. 5:8)
  • Blessed are the war-makers, for they shall be called the enemies of God. (cf. Matt. 5:9)
  • Blessed are those who are rewarded for injustice, for they will not receive the kingdom of God. (cf. Matt. 5:10)
  • Blessed are you when people praise and reward you for rejecting Jesus, the Christ. (Matt. 5:11)


  1. Instead of saying "blessed are those," you should have said "cursed are those."

  2. Yeah I thought about doing that but ultimately decided not to for two reasons. First, I felt weird putting the words "cursed are those" in the mouth of Jesus. Second, I felt that leaving the "Blessed are those..." gave the anti-beatitudes a sting of sarcasm that critiques the anti-kingdom behavior. At least for me.