Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Good Friday (according to Moltmann): Where Theism and Atheism Go to Die

'The question of the existence of God is, in itself, a minor issue in the face of the question of his righteousness in the world. And this question of suffering and revolt is not answered by any cosmological argument for the existence of God or any theism, but is rather provoked by both of these. If one argues back from the state of the world and the fact of its existence to cause, ground and principle, one can just as well speak of "God" as of the devil, of being as of nothingness, of the meaning of the world as of absurdity...

Here atheism demonstrates itself to be the brother of theism. It too makes a logical inference. It too sees the world as the mirror of another, higher being. With just as much justification as that with which theism speaks of God, the highest, best, righteous being, it speaks of the nothingness which manifests itself in all the annihilating experiences of suffering and evil....

A radical theology of the cross cannot give any theistic answer to the question of the dying Christ. Were it to do so it would evacuate the cross. Nor can it give an atheistic answer. Were it to do so it would no longer be taking Jesus' dying cry to God seriously. The God of theism cannot have abandoned him, and in his forsakenness he cannot have cried out to a non-existent God....

But did Christ really solve the "problems"?... That was not Camus' view.... He saw God vanish on the cross, but he did not see Christ's death on the cross taken up into God. Yet only this change of perspective indicates why the night of Golgotha gained so much significance for mankind. Crude atheism for which this world is everything is as superficial as the theism which claims to prove the existence of God from the reality of this world....

[A] trinitarian theology of the cross no longer interprets the event of the cross in the framework or in the name of a metaphysical or moral concept of God which has already been presupposed ... but develops from this history [of Jesus Christ] what is to be understood by "God".'

- Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God, 221, 225-6, 247

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