Atheism in contemporary Theology

the Death of God DebateJackson Lee Ice and John J. Carey, eds.
(Westminster: Philadelphia 1967)

All statements about God are to be interpreted as statements about men, and we must dispense with the meaningless word "God." This assumption is unargued and functions as an axiom for van Buren's thesis.
73, Harmon R. Holcomb, "Christology without God:
a critical review of The secular meaning of the Gospel"
(from Foundations, january 1965)

The "death of God" image points to a "style" in contemporary theology and philosophy that is usually anti-metaphysical, earnestly moral, and hopefully secular.
104, F. Thomas Trotter, "Variations on the "Death of God" theme in recent theology" from the Journal of Bible and religion, january 1965

The word "trick" sounds just right here. What else can be said of a "theology" (for they continue to use the word) which: (1) appears to take literally the linguistically nonsensical phrase "God is dead," (2) shares with the atheist an unwillingness to take seriously anything outside of man and nature, and then (3) has the effrontery to assert that it may be possible to give this outlook a Biblical basis?
107, Daniel Callahan, "Radical theology or radical titillation?"

Hamilton, for instance, denies that his position can be equated with classical atheism. In "The death of God theologies today," Hamilton writes that there "is an element of expectation, even hope, that removes my position from classical atheisms and that even removes it from a large amount of anguish and gloom." 109
For all three [Hamilton, Altizer, van Buren] the word "God" corresponds to nothing in their experience; it literally signifies a blank, but a blank which nonetheless has an effective content.
115, ibidem

Question 3: Would the radical theologians call themselves agnostics, or atheists, or antitheists?"Atheist" would be the closest. Agnostic suggests maybe, and "death of God" is not a maybe theology. Antitheism suggests an aggressiveness about others' views that the radicals don't have. But if they are atheists, they are atheists with a difference. Perhaps the difference can be put this way. Traditional atheism believes that there is now no God and that there never has been, beliefs in God of the past being deception, ignorance, fear. Radical theology believes that there was once a time (Bible, sixteenth century, for example) when having a god was appropriate, possible, even necessary. But now is not such a time. There was once, and is not now. The present of the radical is like that of the atheist, but the memories are different. The radical can say yes to the Christian past; the atheist cannot.
214, William Hamilton, "Questions and answers on the radical theology"

Home | Typologies | Judaism | Classical Greece | Christianity | Islam | Modern
Suspicion | Academia | Religious | Daoism | Indian/Hindu | Confucianism | Buddhism
Native American | African | Definitions | Literature | Metaphors | Songs

created 1jun1996, revised 20mar98     |     comments on this site? tpkunesh@atheisms.info