Some Gods are just too subtle…

December 16, 2010

Paul Wallace, in a new essay at Religion Dispatches, takes Richard Dawkins and his fellows to task for their limited view of God. He agrees that the atheists’ arguments are valid against the “fundamentalist” conception of “God,” namely “that God is a thing like any other thing…. that God must exist in the same way the moon exists, in the same way Dawkins himself exists.” But apophatic theology, he claims, goes beyond atheism; it denies that God can be said to exist or not-exist!


If that were the dominant God-concept in the marketplace of ideas, there would be no need for atheism. Or for theism.  If God is beyond both existence and non-existence, what is He/She/It to me, or what am I to Him/Her/It? The world will neither be saved nor damned by a concept which no one is able to conceive.

Wallace seems to value this via negativa of his not because it makes sense but because he wants an alternative to making sense. He wants something to free him from the rigors of the scientific/rational world view; good luck with that. Me, I think the scientific/rational world view hasn’t played itself out by any means, there is still a lot for it to accomplish, and I admire wholeheartedly those who have dedicated themselves to working with it.

This doesn’t mean I am entirely happy with the space-time continuum; I am human, I am programmed to be dissatisfied. But the space-time continuum is what we have to work with, at least for now…

BTW, I once saw a delightful bit of doggerel as someone’s sig, I wish I knew who wrote it:

Unicorns don’t exist, they only think they do;
Unicorns don’t exist, they’ve better things to do.


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