After Theology

What will it require theology to de-theologize itself. How are we to approach this task. Perhaps, St. Paul’s kenotic Christology is already a form of de-theology. This effort of de-theologizing theology brings us to what we may call after theology . Kenosis is very close to deconstruction. Does theology needs to be de-theologized? The question is deep and difficult to answer. De-theology that may result from the inspiration of Pauline kenotic Christology is yet another mode of doing theology and can be done through an external engagement with theology. The more we de-theologize, the better we philosophize. Philosophy does benefit from de-theologizing as it can free thinking form its enslavements to certain metaphysical chains. De-theology can also benefit theology . Some thinkers like Joeurgen Habermas, Slavoj Zizek, and Alain Badiou have placed the roots of Western modernity into the theological structure while attempting to register a post-secular turn in their works. But there are other thinkers who have returned to religion like Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc-Marion, Michel Henry and others and have come to theology while the former set of thinkers have moved to post-theology. De-theologizing theology distances from these two streams and wishes to open a space where theology gives up its espistemic embrace of the imperialist, esoteric, triumphalist, positivist and secretive knowledge claims. It is turning to what John Caputo calls a-theology. But a-theology is not simply a public theology or theology of culture.

A-theology can empty God in a true sense of Pauline Christ. But self-emptying is directed to the embrace of humanity. Thus, de-theologizing lays no claim over the metaphysical God but tries to think and embrace God of love that manifests in human experiences of being-in-the-world. It is a form of death of God theology that is still looking for the traces of God. In some sense we seem to have the challenge to overcome what Martin Heidegger calls Onto-theology or Jacques Derrida calls metaphysics of presence. This means we have the challenge to empty the chains of language that imprison and almost kill the dynamism of God. The divining of the living God is killed by the laws of Grammar. Hence, Paul rightly tells us that the Law kills and the Spirit gives live. The divining of the Divine or the goding of God opens us to think, the Involving of God (Love) in our life . Thus, to open us to the divining of the divine or the divine play or lila , we will have to free ourselves from the maya of our language that is rendering our dynamic experience into a static or fixed condition. Thus emptying of our metaphysically laden language and its theological categories, we may open ourselves to the theophany of God in our life. Thus, as Raimundu Panikkar takes us from Christology to Christophany, we may have to come to understand the manifestation of God and try to speaks less. Silence can enable us to speak of this mystery of the divine God. Silence is kenotic and is empty of the metaphysically laden words.

De-theologizing theology takes us in the realm of silence that stays beyond language. Silence is not without meaning. It is not non-sense. It is fullness of sense. Without silence, we cannot make sense of anything. Everything will die in noise in the absence of silence. Silence that we arrive is kenotic and hence is synodal walk. In silence we walk with God with us ( Emmanuel) , with other Humans and the Creation. Silence is active and enables us to encounter and listen to our God , Humans and Creation. The coming of synodality is bring us a challenge to empty of the distracting noise of theologies and enter a journey that will enable us to discern our journey as communities and as individuals. This therefore, does not simply invites us to an wordless or imageless silence. It is not pure apophatic theology. It still remains with the cataphatic tradition. It is using images, words and metaphors that picture or try capture the divining of the Divine. It is tries to understand the dynamism of God with us and try to verbalize as well as image the dynamic evolving of God. Thus, De-theologizing does not banish God nor embrace a God of abstraction. It embraces the God of incarnation. It also does not banish language. It seeks language that will enable it to ideate as well as represent dynamism of God, Humanity and Creation. Since, to come to it we have the challenge to empty the grammar and langue that kills the goding God, we may call it as an After Theology. It is not a theology that is dealing with an After God as Richard Kearney does. The God of After Theology is still a frontal God and not a dorsal God, the God of Eschaton.

Somehow , we need to rise to the second naivete of Paul Ricoeur to encounter divining of the Divine. We seem to have lost our innocence because of the violence of onto-theology. With the coming to the second innocence, we may be enabled to walk with and experience divine immanence. This out pouring God is the self-emptying God which requires us to empty our vessels of the theological grammar and stay open to see divine power in weakness or transcendence in immanence. We, therefore, experience divine summons and are unanswerable to Him in Levinasian sense. We are indeed answerable to other Humans and the Creation. Thus, a kenotic God invites us to give a kenotic response. We are called to go beyond ourselves or emptying ourselves, we immerse in our God and experience our true transcendence or going beyond of ourselves. An self-emptying God impels us to empty ourselves to truly find ourselves. After theology, is liveable experience of synodality. It is secularizing synodality. It takes it beyond the confines of the Christianity and thus, is a way of evangelization.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao