Religious Trauma is a real thing. I know it. I feel it. I see it in others. And there is official recognition these days! A few years ago, I interviewed Teresa Mateus. Our Skype connection did not work so I had my computer record the squeaky voice that came through the speaker of my iPhone 4s. It worked. As I spoke to her, Teresa seemed to discuss people who have undergone serious abuse in the church. I did realize that such abuse happens in many different forms and intensities. I suppose in the back of my mind I even realized that I was affected too but I was mainly thinking about people other than myself.
A long time ago, there was peace between God and humanity. They were happy together. In fact, you could hardly distinguish one from the other, for God walked among her people as one of them. She loved them as though they were her own children which, in a way, they were. God took care of the people to the best of her abilities and the people worshiped and thanked her for all she did to the measure of their blessedness and gratitude. The latter never quite measured up to the former, of course, but God was ok with that. After all, it is human to fall short of expectations.
Europe has abandoned religion at a very fundamental level and on a widespread scale. Religion no longer provides an interpretive framework for how the world fits together. It no longer informs social, economic, or political ethics. Religion is still present but either as a largely irrelevant entity that has absolutely no impact on lawmaking, politics, or economy (Christianity) or as a menace that needs to be contained before the genie gets out of the bottle (Islam).
Not too long ago I had an interesting conversation with a long lost friend who had become an atheist. As we reminisced long-forgotten memories we also had to talk about faith and unfaith. Both of us grew up in a fundamentalist faith community and it was during that time that we had met. We lost touch, but over the years, at different times and in different ways, both of us distanced ourselves from the faith we once belonged to. Unlike my friend, though, I decided not to become an atheist, though the option is always open to me as a genuine possibility.
Today I will tell a little more about what I want with this blog. It is my hope to initiate an impietist tradition. As you can perhaps guess, impietism is something like the opposite of pietism, the well-known movement of personal devotion and sincerity of faith within 18th century Lutheranism. In truth, the difference is actually more subtle, since the Pietists got a couple things right. My impietism is intended for the degenerate, for those who feel like they are un-born-again. So let’s have a little impietist talk.
Scientias.nl is een van mijn favoriete websites. Juist omdat ik mijzelf ophoud in het kengebied van de geesteswetenschappen, heb ik erg veel behoefte aan toegankelijke informatie uit de natuurwetenschappen die to-the-point is, de boel samenvat en mij in staat stelt een beetje op de hoogte te blijven van nieuwe ontdekkingen en wetenschappelijke doorbraken. Read More
What I’m going to write here may sound controversial to some. But it is necessary that I do this. Before I plunge ahead, I think it is important to state that a Christian theology cannot talk about God’s absence in Christ without bookending the Christ-event with incarnation and resurrection. If one wants to be a Christian theologian one simply has to do so, standing on the promise of God’s presence (Immanuel) and living in the hope of the last things of which the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a harbinger. Yet, a genuine Christian theology that does justice to the existential realities of humanity, must also acknowledge the ambiguity of both promise of presence and hope of renewal. I believe, good theology will pause where others have often refused to tarry; it will linger where others have refrained to do so out of fear of the unknown. Read More
Bonhoeffer’s concept of religionlessness should be understood within the framework of his theology of the cross.Read More
Review for Cultural Encounters of Iconoclastic Theology: Gilles Deleuze and the Secretion of Atheism by F. LeRon Shults. Edinburgh University Press, 2014. 232 pp. $24.03 hardcover.
Iconoclastic Theology is an unusual book for this category as it attempts to apply the results of the study of the bio-cultural evolution of religion to the philosophy of atheist thinker Gilles Deleuze with the aim of producing an iconoclastic theology that relentlessly advocates a radical atheism. The book purports to be a theology rather than atheist philosophy, because “theology is simply too important to leave to theists” (187), says Shults, a former Evangelical theologian who has now left the Christian faith behind. The book follows a current trend in public discourse to its ultimate logic: the dissolution of god as a meaningful concept. Read More