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.

During this Southern Hemisphere summer holiday period, posts will be less frequent, and any comments may take longer to get onto the site.

If you appreciated this post, consider liking the liturgy facebook page, using the RSS feed, and/or signing up for a not-very-often email, …

Similar Posts: