Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

The meaning of life and the theological perspective

January 14, 2009

I have noticed that most bloggers who write on “the meaning of life” do so from the Christian theological perspective. Whatever you may think of Christian beliefs, you may agree that it is good that these people are thinking about life’s big question.

But is it really good?

Has the ever-abstract reasoning of theology led the Christian away from true sources of meaning? Is asking “what is the meaning of life?” and providing an answer only a symptom of someone who has the lost the meaning their life once had? And how did they lose it?

Has excessive abstract reasoning, theological and philosophical, led the Christian far away from the meaning which comes with simpler, less abstract interpretations of everyday experiences? Has the Christian attempted despairingly to fill this void with God? If so, does this remedy cure the patient or merely cover up the symptoms of the disease? Is God the makeup that makes one feel beautiful while they really feel ugly deep inside?

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What do you have to lose? Nothing

December 19, 2008

I mean, what do you have to lose?
You come from nothing,
You go back to nothing.
What have you lost? Nothing!
Always look on the bright side of life.

– Monty Python

Never say of anything that I have lost it. Only that I have given it back.

– Epictetus

and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

– Ecclesiastes 12:7

God is nothing, and the source/ground of all being*. We must face God (nothingness), indeed accept and appreciate him (it and non-it), in order to passionately live. Only the wise fool thinks life is meaningless because it is momentary (Ecc 12:8). Rather, life is nothing but moments, and life is meaningful because meaning has full reign, if we so desire, with (only) nothing to stop it. If only nothingness is against you, everything is for you.

God (nothingness), will frustrate the wisdom of the wise (the teacher of Ecclesiastes,  who taught the worship of God through teachings made up by men [Ecc 12:13]) (See also Isaiah 24:14). This frustration will come in the form of despair (with cries such as “Everything is meaningless!”), as the wisdom of the wise (its ‘reason’ and expectations) reflects absurdity whence shone upon the world. (The world does not obey our expectations and demands of it; this is the absurd). To avoid this dispair we must accept, appreciate and live in full view of God (nothingness) as we experience the world and create our narrative of meaning.

*To say that God is anything but nothing is to create an idol.  God is not a being and cannot be objectified with a noun nor described with adjectives, except in a poetic sense which does not purport to pin God down. This God could quite rightly pass Derrida’s criteria for the Logos, but I wouldn’t want to disrupt his Sophist-like games.

The Gods we ought to kill

November 16, 2008

John Capper, reflecting of Nietzsche’s ‘Death of God’ says…

The worst of religion is where it is used as a construct to build a society of uncritical people who are not empowered to actually explore and engage life for themselves. And it seems to me that if that’s what God does and that’s what religion is than that’s the kind of God I would like to see die, quite frankly.

Amen.

Unoriginal pagan bullshit: Original sin

October 23, 2008

Another perspective on evil

I would not condemn such myths if they were harmless – this one is pernicious. Augustine’s idea of ‘original sin’ has been used by the Church for centuries to repress and corrupt. It is time the idea was given back to the sick mind from which it came. The officials of the Church ought to show a modicum of integrity in publicly apologising for inflicting this violent, destructive dogma on unsuspecting and naive people.

I don’t expect the Church’s officials (priests, ministers, pastors, Pope, Cardinals, etc.) to apologise though. They would rather be ‘Orthodox’* than honest; their vanity is in their outward ‘Christian’ identity, they have no pride in Christ.

*Orthodox means adhering to the dominant dogma (the dogma which is backed up by force: heresy charges, excommunication, ostracism, etc.), no matter how farfetched from the earliest Christian teachings it is

The purpose of life is selfish hedonism?

October 22, 2008

According to Christians, yes.

From the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

The Catechism offers a few prooftexts to support this hedonistic idolatry, but we all know you can prooftext anything from the Bible (e.g. slavery, anti-slavery, infanticide, self-giving love …), and most fools do.

I don’t think Jesus says anything of the sort however. Along with the command to love God, Jesus gave the command like it, to love neighbour. The Catechists for some reason thought this was not relevant.

The Powerless God

October 21, 2008

Jesus represents the powerless God, the servant, but most Christians prefer an omnipotent Zeus-like fellow. Their false image of God is useful for the institutional tyranny of the Church, but not much else.

We lord it over the powerless God shown in Jesus. We can even choose to execute him if we so desire.

We control whether this God forgives sin:

Mark 11:25-26
‘Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.’

We don’t genuflect before this God as though he were a Roman emperor of divine majesty. We pay our dues to Caesar, not to the Christ.

The Christ washes our feet like a lowly servant. God is our servant and we are his master.

Yet most Christians truly find the image of God as servant highly repugnant and blasphemous. They feel much more comfortable worshipping a tyrant. It just goes to show how little they read their texts and how captive they are to systems of honour that reward masters, rather than servants.

God needs us

September 15, 2008

Most theists will see this as blasphemy (rather naively I would think). Those of the Abrahamic faiths can pull out a few prooftexts from their scriptures in order to burn my heretical arse.

However, I would argue that not to believe this is the greatest blasphemy. The attitude that God does not need us lead to the pronouncement by Nietzche’s madman that “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.”

God is only a being (an ontological entity) in metaphor. The Bible contains many splendid metaphors about God. It is our belief in these metaphors that gives God life. God needs us to take these metaphors to heart because it is through them that God lives.

Meaning needs us. Love needs us. God needs us. Without our belief and passionate embrace of these, none can exist.

Rowan Williams on the Gospel

September 14, 2008

Williams is one of the few theologians I admire. He gives us a Christian faith which sets us free to a new reality.

The Gospel according to Rowan Williams (as explained by Mike Higton)

Does God exist?

September 8, 2008

Is Yogi Bear a Catholic?

Bears are not Catholic nor non-Catholic. Don’t ask stupid questions!

This question presupposes what Terry Eagleton calls the ‘Yeti’ view of God; that God is some spectacular being ‘out there’. Serious (i.e. existential) Christian theology does not concern itself with such silly questions.