Wednesday, October 22, 2008


In this wintry season, church statements about God are ordinarily too naive and too superficial to help believers, let alone convince unbelievers. In a sense the onslaught of atheism might perform a service, prodding faith to purify notions of God that, while they may be traditional, are woefully deficient to the point of being idolatrous. Is God dead? If we mean the God imagined as a part of the cosmos, one existence among others though infinitely bigger, the great individual who defines himself over against others and functions as a competitor with human beings, then yes, the God of modern theism is dead. But as Rahner appreciated, atheism sets a condition for faith that in response must reach far deeper for its truth: "the struggle against atheism is foremost and of necessity a struggle against the inadequacy of our own theism."
Elizabeth A. Johnson, Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God, 2007. 30


ms said...

so is this meant to be a definition of god -- "the god imagined..."? and if you ask about "the god imagined as a aprt of the comos" does that not suggest there is another god? many aspects sorted and gathered --so how many gods does such a statement allow for? and if atheism is a struggle against the inadequacy of our owm theism what is all the rest of this wandering and searching and grasping? what ARE we doing here anyway? is not all theism a product of man and as such by definition inadequate? why theism and not deism -- is it just a matter of degree? does this make one an agnostic to wander so? does not the fact of existence -- stated differently this attempt at life -- by itself egage one "of necessity [in] a struggle against the inadequacy of our own theism" what are we doing being here after all?

brtom said...

Not a definition. She's saying we're only capable of imagining (as in "imaging") God ... and there are an infinite number of possible imagings. Which doesn't mean there's an infinite number of gods.

Yes, our theism/s is/are a human assertion about our belief/sense/thought/experience that there is some solid reality behind all of this existing. That reality (necessarily accompanied by our infinite imaginings of it) is God.

Our theism is inadequate. If agnostic is to question/critique and doubt our imagings of God, then it's agnosticism. But to acknowledge the limits of one's expression is not the same as doubting the existence of thing we're trying to express.