Saturday, April 19, 2014
Gott ist Tot
In Star Trek, the Klingons are a warrior and spiritual people. They have a religion that includes gods and an afterlife (think Valhalla). Yet they no longer worship their gods. In Klingon lore, the people killed their creators. As Worf says, “Our gods are dead.”
In 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we killed him.” And it’s been misrepresented ever since. I won’t try to fully unpack the statement, because I really don’t know much Nietzsche. But really it has more to do with culture and how we approach concepts of God, creating theology in our own image. Yet, the phrase is shocking and sticks in the mind. I want to refute it, but after Good Friday, I can’t.
In 1966, Time magazine asked, “Is God Dead?” This time, the phrase was addressing the rise of atheism. This year, a (poorly written by the looks of the trailer) movie came out titled God’s Not Dead. It’s about a Christian student building the case for the proof of God after a challenge from his anti-theist philosophy professor. Judging for the trailer, it’s as predicable and cheesy as you would expect from such a plotline.
I guess the Christian response is supposed to be “of course God isn’t dead!” He’s the creator of all that’s living. He’s eternal. Alpha, omega, without beginning or end. And yet, here it is, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The time of the crucified Christ. Our God is a god who experiences death. Christ became man through the Incarnation. He suffered death and was buried. Holy Saturday is a tricky time. We know the ending, and it is good. But for a day we must forget that we know. We must mourn. We must look to a future with a body decaying in a tomb and try to make sense of a creation without a creator. We must acknowledge the destruction we’ve caused. God is dead. We killed him.
"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?” -Neitzche