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What Happens After the End of God?

This is indeed the burning question that Christians, and theologians, in particular, need to wrestle with. This website is devoted to that question of what happens after the end of God. Is there a future for Christianity in our secular age? Can Christianity be reinvented or reinvigorated? Will we still be able to use God talk? What does that “sound” like? Is there a future for God? Can God’s future still be our future?

Or even more pointedly for Christians: Who is Jesus Christ for us today? Is there a pluralism that is still genuinely Christian? All these questions are urgent. What seems to be most pressing in the midst of this is how we can find ways to express anew, as a community around the cross, what God’s ends are.

Faith After the End of God

Is there still faith after the end of God? At first glance, just about everyone will consider the question odd. There are those, adherents of Christianity of course, who do not believe that the end of God has come. Faith is self-evident for them. There are also those who actually do believe God’s end is neigh and therefore have abandoned belief altogether.

I venture to say that both groups are wrong. To an extent, God has really come to an end. Layers and layers of god speak have been stripped away in search of an unshakable kernel of truth, but layer after layer reveal nothing more than incoherent assemblages of letters, broken words, and symbolic references that seem to be incapable of transferring meaning to today.

Yet, God’s end did not perhaps come in the way many God-deniers think. In a real sense, this stripping away of unnecessary religious content may have allowed us to peek behind many of the god-conceptions of the past. They are discarded only to open the way to new visions, new possibilities of what God may be or may become. In a way, the end of God may have opened up a gateway to a new encounter with God in which faith, released from its shackles of religiousness, resurrected from its former death has a role to play.

The Relevance of God Discourse

When I set out to think about these things, I thought eventually the academic scene would be the ideal place for transformation and renewal. It has been so in the past. Yet, I had not reckoned with the fall-out from God’s end. Religious discourse, typically known as theology, has little or no role to play in academic discourse. It is considered of no value to the world and is useful only for a marginalized subculture called the Church. Both academia and the Church are for different reasons not suitable for discussing the end of God. The first because it has no use for it, the second because it is hardly part of the world anymore.

Yet, I believe this opens up new possibilities for religious discourse. Talk about God is not dead because religious conceptions of God have vanished in a secular age. All human beings are deeply religious in nature. All they do is motivated by a transcendent orientation which makes them do things of extraordinary moral and mental capacity as well as things of extreme deprivation. That we have lost the ability to see things from a religious perspective just because we have abandoned religiousness is a tragedy.

Exciting Times

This website and all it stands for, a critical evaluation of the God-world relationship for today, thinking together with people from all walks of life about God at the crossroads of faith and unfaith, and the effort to bring discourse about God back in the public square, is something that takes place outside of the academy (though not unscholarly or unacademic) and outside the Church (though not against the Church or with antipathy towards the Church).

For me, these are exciting times because I’m not alone. This website is one of several that explore God outside the Church and outside academia in all openness and curiosity. As such, I hope to create a theology for the world, that deals with the problems of the world and its human beings and societies. Released from the captivity to the dogmatism of both Christianity and atheism I seek to find meaning in the name of humanity, justice, and love.

Jesus As the End of God

All our efforts combined with those of many others may well lead to a discovery of the true end of God as evidence in the life of Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ, God comes to God’s end. But what does that mean? It comes down to the question: who is Jesus Christ for us today? We need to ask ourselves, however, what that means beyond the religiousness of the past.

 

About the Author

Josh de Keijzer is a writer, researcher, lecturer, theologian, and Bonhoeffer scholar interested in the intersection of theology, philosophy, and social justice. One of the questions he is pursuing is how religion and theology can once again be made relevant to the public sphere in a (post-)secular society. Josh got his Ph.D. from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, USA, and currently lives in the Netherlands.

9 Responses

  1. Josh, i like your approach, but you do not go far enough by saying that theology is not relevant anymore. I rather would say that the academic or intellectual approach is even more irrelevant. It is still residing on a ivory tower (if that is correct english). At this moment, like two thousand years ago, the words of Jesus are still true, that you only can be part of heaven when you take it as a child. It is not for the religious establishment nor for the ones who think they are smart and can claim heaven with their rational capacity. Keep in mind that Jesus was a carpenter and his disciples were uneducated folks. Not one of them was a scholar. Since then however more and more intellectual guys invaded and controlled the Way and since then religion was born and Spirit was gone.

    1. No, you make a mistake, I’m afraid. Entering the kingdom as a child has nothing to do with not being intellectual. Truth and scholarship are not oppsed. What Jesus probably meant is that a child is innocent and not yet devious. You can only enter God’s kingdom if you are honest about who and what you are and let go of all pretense.

      Now, it is true that intellectuals can become prideful and strive for power, the power of knowledge. The truth of the gospel is antithetical to all forms of dominationof others. In that sense academia can be a trap. But for evangelicals anti-intellectualism is a danger that always lurks.

      For me, however, the intellectual route has been one of liberation from the closed mind-set I was in. In fact, I experienced a kind of enlightenment during the preparations for my oral PhD exams. I saw the whole world in a new way, as I had never before. It was (and is) a weird experience. But the moment pride walks in the door, all is lost.

      Peace to you!

  2. I have recently updated the introduction to my blog and I was sharing it with friends when I found what looked like an interesting link to your blog.
    I’m no scholar. My formal education ended when I was 17 and I’m now 83.
    I’d be interested in any thoughts you might have on the question I’m asking

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