Saturday, March 31, 2012
Atheism for Lent: Religion as A/Theism (Peter Rollins 4)
#atheism for lent
#john d. caputo
While the (more traditional) strands of negative theology in Pete Rollins’ first publication, How (Not) to Speak of God, form a type of ‘believing in God while remaining dubious about what one believes about God’ (p.26), more radical implications can be drawn, since there can be not just doubt about ‘who or what God is’ but, further, ‘doubt about if God is’ (interview with Pete for my PhD thesis).
Rollins’ second book, The Fidelity of Betrayal, follows the deconstructive theology of Derridean philosopher John D. Caputo (see here, here and here) to make a distinction between, on the one hand, the name and being of God and, on the other, the event of God (see Caputo’s The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event). This distinction is made in order suggest a betrayal of religious beliefs and practices that emphasise the existence of God in fidelity to those that encourage the transformative event of God.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Atheism for Lent: Religion as A/Theism (Peter Rollins 3)
#atheism for lent
There are both more radical and more traditional elements within Pete Rollins’ work.
The latter can be placed squarely within the tradition of negative or apophatic theology, according to which ‘we ought to affirm our view of God while at the same time realizing that that view is inadequate’. The result is both a theism and an atheism, an “a/theism” that is ‘not some agnostic middle point hovering hesitantly between theism and atheism but, rather, actively embraces both out of a profound faith’ (Rollins, How [Not] to Speak of God, p.25).
For Rollins, this is
a deeply religious and faith-filled form of cynical discourse, one which captures how faith operates in an oscillation between understanding and unknowing. This unknowing is to be utterly distinguished from an intellectual lazy ignorance, for it is a type of unknowing which arises not from imprecision but rather from deep reflection and sustained meditation (p.26).