|Professor William Hamilton, one of the original Protestant "God is Dead" Theologians.|
|William Hamilton and Thomas J.J. Altizer made a big splash in the 1960s.|
In his essay The Death of God Theologies Today, (1963) the radical Protestant Theologian William Hamilton said, "This is more than the old protest against natural theology or metaphysics; more than the usual assurance that before the holy God all our language gets broken and diffracted into paradox. It is really that we do not know, do not adore, do not possess, do not believe in God. It is not just that a capacity has dried up within us; we do not take all this as merely a statement about the nature of our frail psyches, we take it as a statement about the nature of the world and we try to convince others. God is dead. We are not talking about the absence of the experience of God, but about the experience of the absence of God."
Forty six years ago when I read that statement it made no sense to me. I understood the premise of what he was saying, I simply found no correlation for it in my own experience of life. This evening I saw it demonstrated before me on Facebook, in a discussion about "right to LIFE" and this present election. A Christian woman wrote, "Butch, one man's perception of Truth is another man's perception of falsehood. We place too much expectation of God's will in an earthly matter such as an election. Man determines his own fate, not God. But, man will have to answer to God in the end."
This "christian" woman summed up the very essence of the God is Dead Theory. She is saying that God is totally absent from this realm, has no influence in anything; that man is left to his own devices and creates his on destiny and fate. She is clueless to the Pagan roots of that proposition, yet believes herself "Christian." And takes comfort that ultimately, God will judge all for their actions. But for here, but for NOW, in this moment, in this time, God is as good as dead, merely a scribe recording the actions of men for a future reckoning with KARMA. This woman does not believe in the Christian God, she actually believes in a God of Karma. I'm sure that if she had the energy to study she would discover the "proof text" of the New Testament that says, "God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, thus shall he reap." Of course the statement is true, but it does not absent God from this realm, from this moment, from this time, from these events.
I answered her, "Sorry, WRONG Lois. Your statement of relativism, giving truth and lie moral equivalence is a good part of what is wrong with this country. Only those whose core religion or religious values have a Gnostic element, even if ostensibly Christian believe that there is a separation between our work on earth and the Kingdom of God. There is no greater statement of human pride than, Man determines his own fate. I was very successful in business, and occasionally someone would describe me as a self made man. I would always correct them and say, I know good people who are smarter, braver, more talented, better educated, better looking, harder working who haven't done as well. Understand when I tell you, I am merely a blessed man, who has never discovered why he should be so blessed. Everything I've done, every decision has been prayerfully considered and entered with faith and with a willingness to accept the illusion of success and the illusion of failure as equal. Don't tell me that people are responsible for their own fate. They are responsible only to the degree that they genuinely do, or do not seek TRUTH who is a person, who walked among us and taught us."
|Painting by the author, who never had an art lesson.|
Make no mistake! For Lois, and a great many nominal Christians, their God for all real and practical purposes, for all reality of THIS life, of THIS existence, of THIS time, of THESE events of history IS dead. Even if they would be shocked or embarrassed to admit it, for all practical purposes, it is TRUE. In a previous article I said, "They have all murdered the God of history. You all know the scripture, 'Having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof.' I cannot help paraphrasing, 'Having a philosophy/theology/spirituality whose God is DEAD."' Lois' God is DEAD.
My God is not dead. He is the enabler of all that is TRUTHFUL, all that is GOOD, all that is BEAUTIFUL, all that is EQUITABLE and JUST. HE is the giver of talents . . . in fact the giver of ALL GOOD GIFTS. Always loving the sound of a piano, the feel of the keyboard, but with no training, but always offering my attempts at the keyboard as prayer, I learned to play, not by ear using human instinct and playing approximations, but correctly like a concert artist. Trust me, if Beethoven were here and could choose between his original composition and our collaboration, which do you think he would choose?
The author who never had a piano lesson plays a composition he composed using a beginning theme of Beethoven.
How can one believe in a God of eternity, before whom all will be judged and not understand the ever-present (omnipresent) God, here actively coursing BEING into existence in every milli-second of space and time? in every spark of energy of every particle of every atom?
Consider: IF there is an eternity, and there is . . . even the most radical Darwinian/evolutionist will agree there is, whether they admit it or not, it is the foundation of their theory, it had no beginning and it will have no end, therefore it is also NOW. THIS is the ETERNAL MOMENT, this moment is NOW. If you doubt what I'm saying is true, ask a theoretical physicist what existed before the Big Bang. That Physicists will say, "A Singularity." That is their code word for "existence beyond the laws of physics." God is not removed from anything, rather WE have removed HIM from ourselves. In fact, WE have KILLED HIM.
Even sweet innocent, goodly-intentioned Christian ladies have KILLED HIM.