Wednesday, September 14, 2005


A few days ago I raised the question about how one could distinguish between faith and credulity, reason and cynicism. There is, of course, another (more important) definitional take on 'the cynic', referring to the Socratic disdain of the illusions of the world, rather than the corrosive acidity of the modern person who refuses all attempts at truth as politicking.

Pete Rollins on Emerging Church exaggerates, but has a point -- not least a theological one: "Be cynical. The original cynics where a dusty group of people who questioned ethics not because they hated ethics but because they loved ethics so much. They questioned God and religion not because they where sceptical but because they where obsessed with God and religion. Questioning God is not questioning God, but only questioning 'God' - in other words our understanding of God. [D]econstruction (which is very cynical) will help revolutionise Western Christianity." (Image: Kandinsky's Deconstruction)

As Tony Kelly CSsR comments: "[T]he demand for a complete self-dispossession pervades the New Testament. Only by losing one's life ... can one truly save it (Matthew 16:24-25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; John 12:25). The moral and spiritual implications of this radical demand have, rightly enough, been the focus of commentators throughout Christian tradition. But there are also implications of a more intellectual character, as faith-inspired thinking seeks to go beyond the conceptual and theoretical systems which, incapable of allowing for ‘God's foolishness', tend to become idolatrous. It is especially here that deconstruction is a bracing reminder ... to take seriously the 'negative theology' of the New Testament."

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