Beyond Atheism and Theism: John Caputo’s Image of God
AbstractThe younger generation that we find in our classrooms and churches has grown up in a culture where faith in God can no longer be taken for granted. This essay explores how the development of faith and the image of God are influenced by the debate about the existence of God and the trauma of religiously inspired violence. In the past, the challenge of atheism can be said to have helped purge certain superstitions and inadequate images of God from the Christian faith. But today, debate with a new atheism, emboldened by examples of religious violence, is having a more degenerating impact on the faith of many Christians. This is because much of the discussion tends to polarize between the two extremes of religious fundamentalism and atheism that leaves some convinced that they must choose between naturalistic empiricism and authoritative fideism. Appealing to the radical theology of John Caputo, I try to move beyond this unproductive debate. Caputo’s Theology of Perhaps paves the way for a new way of thinking about God and ourselves that promises to be a more responsible way to respond to God’s call. While not for everyone, his work creates an opportunity to gain fresh new insights and rehabilitate some of the world’s most venerable religious traditions, such as Roman Catholicism, in a manner that speaks to many growing up today.
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