This was quite a hideously interesting break from blogging. I got a lot of work done that I would not have otherwise and also fruitlessly banged my head against several things that cannot be changed. I got over a couple things, took certain items to Goodwill, and attempted to work for the greater good.
This attempt did not render me able to fly or even make me look good in spandex. Much to my disappointment.
I have started in on the incredibly long Section IV of Jack Crabtree’s Lecture, The Ethics of Sex in the Bible. Jack has asserted that he has an animal-like body, that is an inferior (“a less noble, less eternal, and less beautiful”) facet of his self. Which God gave him.
Homosexuality is so much worse than Gnosticism, after all.
Anyway, whilst I finish that post, here is a passage that has been on my mind the last week or so. It is from the book Letters and Papers from Prison, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
There is no longer any need for God as a working hypothesis, whether in morals, politics or science. Nor is there any need for such a God in religion or philosophy (Feuerbach). In the name of intellectual honesty these working hypotheses should be dropped or dispensed with as far as possible. A scientist or physician who seeks to do otherwise is a hybrid.
At this point nervous souls start asking what room there is left for God now. And being ignorant of the answer they write off the whole development which has brought them to this pass. As I said in an earlier letter, various emergency exits have been devised to deal with this situation. To them must be added the salto mortale back to the Middle Ages…But that is the council of despair, which can be purchased only at the cost of intellectual sincerity. It reminds one of the song:
It’s a long way back to the land of childhood.
But if only I knew the way!
There isn’t any such way, at any rate, not at the cost of deliberately abandoning our intellectual sincerity. The only way is that of Matthew 18:3 i.e. through repentance, through ultimate honesty… God is teaching us that we must live as men who can get along very well without him. The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us (Mark 15:34)… God allows himself to be edged out of the world and onto the cross. God is weak and powerless in the world, and it is exactly the way, the only way, in which he can be with us and help us. Matthew 8:17 makes it crystal clear that it is not by his omnipotence that Christ helps us, but by his weakness and suffering.
…Man’s religiosity makes him look in his distress to the power of God in the world; he uses God as a Deus ex machina. The Bible however directs him to the powerlessness and suffering of God: only a suffering God can help.
Why must God suffer?
Why is the Dying God the only one who is of value to Bonhoeffer and not the Warrior King- who created the universe by telling it had better exist or it’d be sorry- who brought you into this world and can take you out of it?
Perhaps it is because, as Aphrodite embodied the lovely desire of one for another, the Dying God Jesus personifies empathy.
I’m not going to argue about what aspect of history triggered the story of Jesus here. But as the story stands, not even Jesus could save all humans from hell. He couldn’t even make their lives on earth less nasty brutish and short.
But he could feel what they felt. He could suffer too.