Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Predicates of God

As is painfully obvious, the God discussion, especially as it pertains to the 'new atheism' (or even the real atheism), rarely gets off the ground before the problems of metaphysics, ontology, epistemology and religion can be sorted out. The ungenerous, and often crass remarks that ensue when, for example, Fr. Barron addresses the 'flying spaghetti monster' underscore the lack of patience some have when 'being itself' is substituted into religious gestures, such as prayer and other forms of worship. Fr. Barron must at some time make the connections for the atheists: that is the religious sense of all the data, but I digress...

Believers have no such difficulties with the predicates of God. Why should that be? Certainly this cannot be the moment for revisiting notions of the elect, so what is the operative difference between how believers and atheists hear this kind of language?

I would suggest that it is a matter of resources: the believer taps into the capacity for transcendence, and the atheist taps into logical positivism. Speaking for myself only, I hear the predicates of God through my experience of the transcendent: a moment of an experience of the abyss, in which one either meets The Absolute, or its opposite. Because I am psychiatrically intact, and confident that I am not mad, I deem that experience as 'true.' Is this my 'invisible friend'? No, it is that existential moment when I am at my most human: psychologically, physiologically, evolutionarily, genetically, spiritually human.

So what can then be 'its opposite'? I suppose something like 'the big nothing' which leaves no safe space other than the likes of positivism. Because postitivism denies any other way of knowing beyond its borders, it simply asserts that there is nothing beyond its borders. That seems at best intellectually dishonest.

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