Posts Tagged ‘Death of God’

Religion explains.  That is its function.  All the great belief systems have their own responses – explanations for the perplexed – to humanity’s great eternal questions, developed and embellished over centuries of exposition. (more…)


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Learning about modern theology is like being a member of Scott’s expedition to the South Pole in 1911-1912.  You slog across unfamiliar terrain until at last you reach your destination, only to find that another explorer has already got there and planted his flag to mark the spot.  In writing, with some care, my recent posts musing about why we still worship, I have come across a book that not only says all that I wanted to share but also quotes liberally from a host of other thinkers who over the years have ‘got there’, and planted their flags.  She does all this better than I ever could.  I am happy to recommend the book and thereby bring my present thread to a premature but willing close. (more…)

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Why do we worship the way we do?  What or who do we think “God” is?  Does it matter?  These questions are being mulled over in a series of postings I – an ordinary Anglican layman – am putting on this site.  In this, the fifth or so in the series, I pause to add testimony from better thinkers than I am (I apologise for not giving the full, correct citations).

On what I’ve said before about “God” the non-existent and the resulting need for humans to erect screens of icons and saints and personalisation to mediate between ourselves and the divine, I am happy to quote a modern philosopher on an aspect of “the great mystery of the incarnation.”  Christians believe that God took on human form for a reason.  This has consequences. Professor Keith Thomson has put it in this way:

“the trouble with using terms like ‘intelligent’, ‘design’ and ‘good’ as anything more than metaphors is that it becomes easy to think that they can be applied literally in a human sense.  While to portray God as too mysterious is always to risk making him too remote, making him too accessible and too much like us risks trivialising him.  For the mainstream Christian, the role of Jesus was in many respects to bridge this gap.  Jesus was sent in human form with all its strengths and weaknesses, as exemplified in the ultimate sense by the temptations and his cruel death.  The fact of the human Jesus helps to justify an anthropic concept of God.”

The Watch on the Heath: science and religion before Darwin (2005).

The death of God is the idea, discussed by Kant and Nietzsche, that humans no longer need the ancient formulation or archetype of the divine, and have effectively exercised their free will and murdered it.  Where does that leave us?  Clearly relativism, the acceptance that any one ‘truth’ is now as ‘good’ as any other, and we cannot say which one is the ‘best’ or the most authentic, has its temptations and risks (a theme of G K Chesterton).  It is noticeably the chief concern of Benedict XVI.  Is it so iniquitous?

In my next posting, I hope to explore how organised religion, or faith systems which have become too ‘here and now’, appears to have much to answer for in the case of the death of “God”: in terms of paradigms, actions and language.  I am heading, I hope, towards the idea that there is something that, if we choose, we can denominate as “God” but that we have to open our minds and spirit to accommodate and support such a notion.


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