Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Gospel of Christian Atheism

The radical theology of Thomas J.J. Altizer:
An absolute immanence dominates a uniquely modern thinking and vision, one which is an inversion and reversal of a pure transcendence, but the apocalypse of God could be understood as the final realization of the pure immanence of God, one releasing an ultimate Yes-saying, and a Yes-saying which is greeted with a total joy. Perhaps it is joy itself which is most missing from a uniquely modern Christianity, but it is ecstatically present in both Blake and Nietzsche, but only so present as a consequence of the death of God. Hegel could know that death as the self-negation of abstract Spirit, or a wholly self-alienated Godhead, one which Blake could name as Urizen or Satan, and Nietzsche could know as the deification of nothingness. Only in Hegel and Nietzsche does there finally occur a philosophical understanding of nothingness in the West, and this occurs only by way of the philosophical understanding of an absolutely self-alienated God, one which Nietzsche could know as an absolute No-saying, and one which Hegel could know as an absolute emptiness. But that is the very emptiness which is emptied in an absolute movement of kenotic self-emptying, a movement which Hegel could understand as a repetition of the Crucifixion, and a repetition ushering in the final age of the Spirit. So, too, Nietzsche could understand such an ultimate and final movement as the dawning of absolute immanence, and an absolute immanence only possible as a consequence of the death of God. Only Christianity among the world religions knows the death of God, and nothing else makes Christianity so unique in the history of religions, but so likewise nothing else in modernity is more unique than its comprehensive realization of the death of God, and if nowhere else there is here a full coincidence between the depths of modernity and the depths of Christianity itself.