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Mathematical Proof of Apophatic Theism

Apophatic Graph

Atheists claiming that they simply believe in one less god than I do set me thinking. And don’t forget I have a mathematics degree as well as a theology degree… oh – and possibly a sense of humour [so half of what I write may not be true; and hence that may not be true (cf. Titus 1:12 – which the author of that letter may or may not have understood; and that may or may not have been St Paul. cf my recent series on disagreeing with the Bible).]

In the evolution of the human understanding of divinity, humanity began with animism: everything is a god (that tree, that rock, that moving star…). Then came polytheism: lots of gods – of war, of love, of growing stuff, of hunting, of fire,… Then came henotheism: there’s lots of gods, and this is my special god – the god of war (if I’m a soldier), or the god of my tribe, or the god of love (if I’m looking for a partner)… Then came monotheism: there is only one god… And when you graph this, you can see the line going down (as the atheists at the start of this post contend) as time goes along. To the point where the line hits zero: atheism – there is no god.

But wait – says the theistic mathematician – continue the line and you end up in the negative. It is time for the via negativa!

The kataphatic, above-the-horizontal-axis approach to a god or gods says, “God is like this only more so”. Below the axis, the via negativa, the apophatic approach says, “God is not like this…” even to the point of negating the negative.

Atheist, tell me about this god you don’t believe in – you’ll find the apophatic theist also doesn’t believe in this god.

It is time for a post-atheist movement.

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12 Responses to Mathematical Proof of Apophatic Theism

  1. Oh sure, rub it in that it’s summer there… as we awake to temps in the 20’s. Farenheit, that is. You know us in the US… still clingling to the English system. :o) Hope you have some wonderful weather and blessings!

    Now I have to ponder the negative… better than trying to convert to Celcius..

    • Stephen: We English abandoned ‘Fahrenheit’ decades ago. ‘Celsius’ is official in weather forecasts and universal for all heat measurement and cookery recipes, but many of us use the alternative term ‘Centigrade’. Fahrenheit is now a distant memory known only to older people here.

      • . Oh, I know. We still even cling to the term “English” system rather than “imperial”. Metric is so much easier for measures ( I rarely hear “centigrade” used as a term.) No dealing with 3t in a T, 4T=1/4 C, 2c=1 pint. 2pt=1qt…. though I do feel it keeps one’s brain sharp.

        I take comfort that at least we know the proper and logical of the road to drive on. (/s Thanks Left handed Henry Ford).

        • And here was I, Stephen, thinking that you followed Napoleon in his confusing the majority, right-handed fighters by training his military to ride on the right… Blessings.

          • Ack! You think we would learn from someone else??? Especially the French? It’s not like they ever helped us back then…oh wait…who was that “Lafayette” guy who’s name is all over our street names and cites???

            I’m sticking with Henry Ford. I’m in the motor city so it must be true. ;o). (Oh wait, I’m also from a Lafayette and our offices are right by a Lafayette streets. Next you’ll be telling me the founder of Detroit was French!! Oh my head.)

            Many thanks for your blog and all of the various commentators. I continue to ponder and learn. I sincerely appreciate this forum and the efforts you put in.

            Blessings to you and all

  2. At last, a mathematical reason for saying to people who claim atheism as not believing in a god that Christians do not believe in either and, well, I guess Caesar was a pretty solid sort of god – for a while – and good old atheist Christians didn’t believe in him either. Get’s confusing . . .

  3. ‘so half of what I write may not be true; and hence that may not be true…’

    Or ‘don’t believe everything you believe…’?

    Service and gratitude. Like that.

    Seasons’ greetings Bosco.

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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