Week 5: Theological Existentialists

Last week we delved into some thinkers who emphasize the importance of embracing the world and of cultivating a hope for real change in the world. This week we turn to some theological thinkers and activists who share this concern, and who express a type of Christianity that takes seriously a this-worldly approach.

These individuals open us a different type of negative theology from the one we touched on two weeks ago. Instead of a substantive idea of the transcendent as that which is beyond understanding, we find here a notion of the transcendent as that which precedesunderstanding. Instead of God as that which we cannot understand because we lack sufficient intellectual capabilities, the theological existentialists explore the notion of the transcendent as fundamentally unable to be grasped by intellectual means. Here a more far reaching type of theological atheism is born, one which questions the very idea of God as some kind of substantive being. Instead the word "God" is understood as referring to the ground of being.

There are similarities here with the work of some mystics, however this type of negative theology only reaches maturity and clarity in the aftermath of the types of thinkers we looked at last week.