Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Paul Ricoeur on Bonhoeffer's "Religionless Christianity..."

"What becomes of the word 'God', the name of God? The reply that Bonhoeffer gives is radical: the God of metaphysics and interiority is dead. In this sense Nietzsche is right when he says: God is dead. All that remains for us then is the God of Jesus Christ. A theology is something that we can no longer do; but what we must do is a Christology, and it is this Christology that can give us a theology. But, says Bonhoeffer, the Christian should not be surprised by this. Is it not true - what we have heard again through the Reformation and through Barth - that the God of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with what we think God must be? And yet the Christian is surprised...

What is very difficult to grasp - and I believe that this is what Bonhoeffer pursued - is the conjunction of these two themes: to meditate on the weak God, the suffering God, in the experience of the fullness of life. One could say that this is precisely the inverse of what Nietzsche hated in Christianity, that is, an omnipotent God opposite a weak human being. In a certain way Bonhoeffer anticipated something that would be the strong and mature human being living in communion with the sufferings of the weak God.. Here he was unable to push further. But this was, in my opinion, the horizon of Bonhoeffer's faith."

(from an essay contained in Bonhoeffer and Continental Thought)

1 comment:

Wilson Tan said...

Thanks Geoff for the quote from the book. Just want to add a page numer to it, 163. Great essay by Paul Ricoeur.