Friday, January 8, 2010

Theology for Atheists?: For believers and atheists alike, the Biblical text remains as alluring, elusive, and urgently relevant as ever

Harold Bloom once commented that the God of the Bible has, "an awesome power to not go away," (in Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine) and while that statement may be contentious to some, this article (Theology for Atheists, by Nathan Schneider) from The Guardian certainly makes clear that the textual Bible no doubt has precisely such an awesome staying power - even for atheists.

Schneider's remarkable and short piece lays out the profound and seemingly infinite literary and political resources of the Bible, for believers and non-believers alike.

We, at New Creation, offer this article to you because of its implicit (as well as explicit) insights about the relationship between theology and literature - in this case, merged together within the Biblical text itself. The article also, subtly, asks the question of what sustained inquiry from different vantage points might mean for the future of theology and the arts.

Excerpt Below // Full Article Here

James Wood, a writer who himself has lived between the tugs of belief and unbelief, made an eloquent call in the New Yorker last August for "a theologically engaged atheism". Concluding a review of Terry Eagleton's recent attack on Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, he imagines something "only a semitone from faith [which] could give a brother's account of belief, rather than treat it as some unwanted impoverished relative."

At the American Academy of Religion meeting in Montreal last year, he may have gotten his wish, or something resembling it. Following an apocalyptic sermon from "death of God" theologian Thomas J.J. Altizer, to the podium came the ruffled Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, a self-described atheist and "materialist through and through", before an audience of religion scholars, theologians, and costumed adherents. He spoke of truths Christianity alone possesses and how Christ's death reveals that "the only universality is the universality of struggle." Atheism, he explained, is true Christianity, and one can only be a real atheist by passing through Christianity. "In this sense, I am unconditionally a Christian", said Žižek.

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