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Protestant theology and atheism

April 24th, 2015 · 2 Comments

http://darwiniana.com/2015/04/23/marx-the-astral-xtian/ My comments on my dad were a bit hasty and I may have garbled the explanation. But the statement as is is interesting. What I meant to say is my father from the thirties when he met Neibhur and Tillich at the Union Seminary was a devoted follower of Tillich and not quite aware of the abstracted character of Tillich.
I myself was a ‘smart alec sophmore’ who entered briefly the world of Nietzsche, soon aware of the commentary of such as Walter Kauffman (on Tillich no less).

The point here is that just as I discussed the Islamic prayer sequence, ‘no God but God’, as sublating theism, atheism into a reassertion of ‘god’ in a complex new understanding, so students of Tillich seemed to negate ‘god’ reaffirmed as ‘being’ and this created a kind of theism that seemed to rescue Xtian theology. Simple atheism on the offensive bounces off this approach
I think Tillich is underestimated and in general students of German Classical Philosophy include many theologians and preachers of which Martin Luther King was one, and this clearly signals my interpretation of the Reformation as leading to German Classical Philosophy as a endpoint moment.
The reckoning of the idea of a Munzerian Church would no doubt start in this area. But I think my comments above show how a future Protestant church will be able to deal easily with atheists of any stripe and welcome them into a new theological milieu. With a theology of a personal god as confused as that of Judeo-Xtianity a kind of ‘a-theos’ therapy for the addiction to ‘god gibberish’ will swing directly into a kind of Xtian ‘atheist’ transition. Given the confused legacy of theism (which was probably never intended in the hidden esoteric version IHVH) ‘atheism raw’ alternating with theism is the only option left for Munzerians, for starters. Christian laxity on ‘god talk’ is clearly getting ruthless feedback from increasingly impatient modernists setting out in new directions. But the new atheism is an unreasonable contraction of social and cosmological thought. So the persistence of Reformation Xtianity is a curiously apt reality of the mystery of modernity.
In general after a phase of ‘smart alec sophmoric atheism’ I find my self both a theist and an atheist unworry by the dilemma. I can think of at least one new way to redefine ‘god’ per week, and these usually go the way of paper airplanes out the window, the fact remains that ‘atheism’ as in the new atheist movement is as confused a theism.

I think at this point the question of theology is going out the window. My father was a Protestant minister constantly reiterating the profundity of Tillich and advising me as to the courage to be. With college level Nietzschean superiority complexes I used to make polite fun of his ‘religion’. Twenty years later it struck me as a ton of bricks that he was the world’s cleverest disguise of a new atheist, and perfectly sincere and ‘Xtian minded’ to boot: understood ‘god’ in a new and secular way. Fooled me for years, never saw it coming. That was a superior gambit. The question of theology was crucial for early modern Xtianity, but now we have the ‘modern options’.

Tags: General

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 NK // Apr 24, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Mainstream Xtians aren’t going to accept Tillich that easily:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2011/12/the-impossible-god-of-paul-tillich/

  • 2 nemo // Apr 25, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Such criticisms were arriving already in the sixties. But the confusions of legacy theology are hardly better
    Nor can atheism resolve the confusion.
    In any case I am not trying to reinvent theology, but to show a streamlined path bypassing the idiocy of the new atheism
    Mainstream theology is so confused that almost anything seems better. The passage through the ‘god as being’ thicket is an ancient one no doubt.
    In the round trip (weekly) between theism and atheism new conceptions of divinity rise and fall (daily)
    Atheism doesn’t resolve the issues

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