phlegm wrote:I finally dug into Altizer some more, and I think I see how Pannenberg is less radical. Pannenberg retains provisionally in faith that the transcendent God will be revealed at the end, whereas for Altizer the death of Jesus is the death of the transcendent "part" of God. I like how Altizer's theology illuminates the love of God.
But now I'm left perplexed. How is there any hope if transcendent God is dead? If God is only immanent, then why should we have faith that love will ultimately prevail over immanent terror? Or am I asking the wrong questions? Maybe I just haven't wrapped my head enough around Altizer yet...
I haven't been on the board much lately as I've been vacationing and kinda busy with my own side projects... many on this board dabble in electronic music but I do academic writing on the side. A book review that I wrote on radical theology just came out in the new issue of The Journal for the Study of Radicalism, and I just finished a book chapter for a project in the pipeline on death of God theology that apparently has John Cobb attached to it. A radical theology interpretation of reality TV that I contributed for a book is finally going to come out very soon in a book called Fix Me Up, just listed on Amazon for pre-order. Finally, I am working on a short book review of Carl Raschke's GloboChrist for another journal, I hope to do that today. The book chapter that I just finished is called "Extraordinary Ecclesiology: Radical Theology in Practice."
Now that I am done bragging, though I really say this to indicate I've been immersed in radical theology lately, this is a good question.
The question of hope is key for Altizer, and it is perhaps like everything else you need to implode the term to get why it's important. In Hegel, the eschatalogical hope, the love at the end of history, is the moment upon which all time is leading itself. For Altizer, the reality of the present is a pervasive nothingness, and the religiosity of orthodox Christianity is a primary piece of the nothingness in its worship of a primordial God who is long dead. The Good News of the death of God, however, is that in the dissolution of transcendence into the incaration of Christ, a fully God and fully man Christ actually walked the earth and broke into history. The resurrection of Christ is a final dialectical movement of Godhead, where the divine is kenotically enfleshed into every human hand and face. Quite simple, when Christ says "the Kingdom of God is within you" and "the Kingdom of God is near," for Altizer, Jesus really meant it in a much more actual sense than is traditionally understood. That is, the words of Christ really were truly apocalyptic.
The image of the Holy Spirit descending upon humanity at Pentecost is indicative of the forward and downward movement of Godhead that continues beyond the resurrection of Christ. Holy Spirit is immanence, but more radically an immanence that is enfleshed.
So, in the nothingness of the present, the Good News is that Godhead may be actualized and enacted by us, in the moment, and with the potential to radically reverse the pervasiveness of nothing. As bearers of the holy, we too sweep over the face of the deep and create when we actualize Godhead. The tragedy is that largely we have apprehended the resurrection of Christ in our understanding of Kingdom, as if we flounder into an eternal life beyond death. For Altizer, the enactment of enfleshed Godhead is to take up the cross, to live the death of God, to self-subvert and kenotically surrender onself, even to the point of dismemberment. The hope is that if Christians really did this en masse, it would change the world so as to reverse the nothing, and really provoke the Kingdom of God.
I saw Altizer debate John Caputo a couple years ago in central Pennsylvania. John Caputo is now the darling philosopher of evangelical Protestants and "emergents," even as he is a very secularized Catholic thinker. For Caputo, hope is an imaginary thing and not really at all important to a contemporary lived Christianity.
To this Altizer interrupted him and said, "John, without hope, what you're saying, very simply, is that it's not Christian."
I hope that this is helpful.