Monday, September 1, 2008

the Y2K of theology

From Caputo's essay in the book "After the Death of God".

An event is not precisely what happens, which is what the word suggests in English, but something going on in what is happening, something that is being expressed or realized or given shape in what happens; it is not something present, but something seeking to make itself felt in what is present.
p. 47

The event is always already ahead of us, always provoking and soliciting us, eternally luring us on with its promise. The truth of the event is its promise to come true. Events make promises that are never kept by any actual occasion.
p. 55

How we would use the word 'event' is not how Caputo uses it. We would use it to refer to something has happens, while he uses it to refer to something that does not happen, probably cannot happen, promises in some way to happen but never happens. For him, then, an event is actually a non-event.

What does this mean, then, to how he refers to God?

We might even say, to put all this a bold and simple stroke, that in postmodern theology what happens to us is God, which is why we call it postmodern theology. Or, to couch it in slightly more cautious terms, in postmodern theology what happens to us is the event that is harbored in the name of God...
p. 50

In the Scriptures the covenant is a promise or a covenant cut by God--that is why I speak unabashedly of theology--where the name of God is the name of an event, of something that stirs within the name, something I know not what, some sacred spark or fire.
p. 53

Having already established that Caputo does not believe in God (there is no one out there to whom we pray), we see him making God, or rather name of God, one of his non-event events.

So, to do a Chestertonian "in other words", his god is not all of the things the Bible says God is. When we pray to his god, we pray to a nothing. We long for a Messiah who will not come, even though the Bible promised He would come and He has come and will come again. His god does nothing in the world, does not work miracles, did not create and does not keep, and does not love us or care for us.

His ideas remind me of a Bible verse, which gives a list of things indicative of how things will be "in the last days". Among them will be people who will "have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof".

And the next words are an injunction to believers in regards to such people, "From such turn away".

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