Friday, 13 December 2013

The Death of My God. And The Dancing Stars.

When Zarathustra was alone, however, he said to his heart: "Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet heard of it, that God is dead!" (Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra)

GOD was dead
I had killed Him

Yet I turned to truth,
to light, to the real.

I sought the above,
the spiritual heights.

No God.  No God.

But beautiful, bountiful,
brilliant, blinker-breaking
boundless BEYOND.

 Yet, even embracing God
I lived a lie.
God was still dead.
I still killed Him.

Those centred words describe something of my God, from the time I turned as a child from a Christianity that I didn't begin to understand, to the often unhealthy Christianity I embraced as an adult.

Nietzsche wrote:  "God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?"    The Gay Science

Does this mean there is no God.  I don't think so - only that many of the concepts of God that we have used are dead.  Or dying.  They were too limiting.  If God is truly God, then God is bigger than any human words or thoughts or imaginations.  To contain Him in one book, one interpretation is to risk missing Him altogether.

To contain him in one gender - as I, following Christian tradition, have done here, is to risk missing Her or Them, to risk so much of what God must be being lost to view.

Nietzsche, in rejecting not just the concept but the entire exterior immense sacred, missed God and proposed other meaning, that man - the bridge not the goal - is something to be surpassed, and that in itself is a laudable aim.  Nietzsche wrote much that I disagree with, but his writing is often wonderful and his ideas challenge in a good way, and I recommend a slow read of Thus Spoke Zarathustra.  The book isn't too long - but the ideas are massive and can be seen trying to work themselves out in sizable aspects of 20th Century history and thought.

God is dead.  We have killed him in our thinking, our narrowness, mistaking our own blindness for clear vision.

I killed him.  And, looking back, as I have been doing recently, I find that I very often killed him more as a believing, theistic, Christian, worshipper than as an agnostic seeker of revelation and ever fresh insight.  It's not that Christianity is bad.  Christianity can be full of wonder.  It's not that Christianity is the God killer.  But my Christianity was often the God killer.  Too often I held so fast to dogma that I forgot that God is the God of play and that dogma, as Matthew Fox wrote, can at most only be the outline, the border of the fields in which we play. 

With the unexpected effects this year has had on all my beliefs and imaginations, now is the time for me to learn to stop killing God.  At this point I do not know whether I will hold on to a Christianity that most Christians would recognise as "sound".  But whatever happens I need to include the searching, the openness, the disquieted chaos, the recognition that the boundless beyond will always bring new thrilling surprises and transformations.

Just as Zarathustra explained, "One must still have a chaos inside oneself to give birth to a dancing star."

May we all find the excitement in chaos, in uncertainty, so that we can all give birth to dancing stars.

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