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David W. Congdon @dwcongdon
, 13 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
THREAD. I'm often asked what the point of God-talk is given my thoroughgoing demythologizing approach to theology. Is theology reducible to politics? Is there any meaning to talk of divine action? These are perennial questions, but I have a few thoughts. 1/
This isn't going to be a thread on dialectical or existential theology. I'll simply say that God is an active subject in the sense that I define God as an event, a disruptive occurrence in the midst of life that mobilizes new forms of human existence and social action. 2/
Of course these events can be explained in natural or historical ways, and if the only way we can affirm divine agency is if there are occurrences that we can directly attribute to God and to nothing else, then talk of divine agency is going to be impossible. 3/
Talk of divine action is metaphorical—it becomes mythical when we reify ancient metaphors, identifying them directly with the divine. To demythologize divine action means to free our talk of this event for new imaginary constructs and practical possibilities. 4/
I am basically in agreement with Dumbledore's response to Harry's question, "Is this real or all in my head?" "Of course this is in your head, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" Is God a figment of our imagination? Yes. Is God real and active? Also yes. 5/
One way to think about God in this way is to use the idea of "imagined realities," which Yuval Harari uses to describe social constructs like money, nations, corporations, and religions. 6/
These constructs only exist in legal documents or verbal promises, but people act "as if" they are real; they order their lives around these constructs and imagined realities. They are sociopolitically real. 7/
I think we can understand God along these lines, as a kind of meaning-giving imagined reality that forms the basis for mobilizing distinct modes of human life, though I would argue that God is uniquely more existential than other realities, more like love than money. 8/
This is where I think we connect to politics, since political community and religious community are both communities that form around imagined realities (nations and gods). 9/
Can we collapse religious community into political community? Sure, that's possible, but I think we have to ask what meanings does the concept of God provide that are unique to that concept. What does the imagined reality of God offer that other imagined realities do not? 10/
This is where the work of theologians comes in. The task of theology is to articulate what "God" means (or rather should mean) for human community, including political community. 11/
Certainly for many people God-talk does not have or no longer has any meaning for human existence. But for those that do find meaning in God-talk, it is incumbent on theologians to flesh out this meaning as part of their responsibility to society. 12/
That concludes my reflections for now. Obviously this is a highly complex topic that warrants further inquiry. Maybe another thread. 13/13
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