Random notes on God

4 04 2011

What do we mean when we say, “God”? I think we may all mean different things:

1. The God of doctrine: This is the God who will not fail, not defect into error, the abstract God floating in the ether above history, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. Except when they do.

2. The “folk Catholic” God: Sort of a cross between Santa Claus and a Mafia don. Old women burn candles and bug this god constantly to get their children a job, off drugs, to shut their neighbors up who are gossiping, etc.

3. The God of the mystics: The god of bullshit or good feelings. Pretty easy to make this one up and still sound the same as every other aspiring mystic of any given religious confession.

4. Deus sive natura: Perhaps the god of the agnostic, “spiritual not religious” person. Also a god of bullshit.

5. The personal God: Can be purchased for $19.99 plus shipping & handling. Options include fundamentalist, righteous misanthrope, suburban conservative, suburban liberal, peace activist, beige, compact, sedan, candy-paint, and “personal God Zero (TM)”.

6. The God of tradition: A cross between a Mafia don and your mother throwing a frying pan at your head. You believe in him because your father did, and his father did, and his father did. End of story.

7. The real Jesus: Unknown. Many have mentioned him, but no one can confirm that he actually exists. Some say that he was last seen at an anti-war demonstration in 1991 wearing sunglasses, flip flops, and a smiley face tee shirt. Others say that he was hanging out at a GOP fundraiser with Ralph Reid sipping a Diet Coke. None of these sightings have been verified by third party sources.

8. The God of virtue: Ceiling cat is watching you masturbate.

9. The “real God”: The one you found after concluding that all that your parents taught you were lies, lies, lies, and this society is intellectually and culturally BANKRUPT!!!!! Also known as the personal God.

10. God as History: “But in the World, secular business cannot be thus repudiated; it demands accomplishment, and ultimately the discovery is made, that Spirit finds the goal of its struggle and its harmonization, in that very sphere which it made the object of its resistance – it finds that the secular pursuits are a spiritual occupation”. Hegel, The Philosophy of History.

Most of the time, I am referring to 2, 6, 10, and sometimes 1.



10 responses

9 05 2011

Very poorly figured out.
Remember that a post is a string made of words and God, too, came into existence as a string of words.
There are differences, though, mainly of quality.

6 04 2011
Charles Curtis

The thing about “superstition” is that it works. St. Anthony has only let me down twice in three decades and thousands of instances of my asking him for help. He usually comes through in 5 minutes or less, almost always in less than 30 minutes. St. Jude is another stalwart. Two novenas, two jobs offered and accepted within nine days. St. Joseph also has sold two houses I’ve lived in, both within a week of burying the statue (upside down, facing away from house). I don’t find God behaving like a good mafia don at all scandalous.. To the contrary, that’s what I want. This is a family, not a philosophical society, and I want and need to get and give commitment. If God were rational and pleasing to minds like Spinoza’s or Bertrand Russel’s (nasty wretch) then he wouldn’t be at all lovable or incite any passion.. And being Catholic wouldn’t be fun and fantastic like it is..

5 04 2011
Arturo Vasquez

I do have a pretty low opinion of mystics and theologians. Mystics because I believe most mystical experience is bullshit. Especially for middle class, modern people, mysticism is usually just for kicks: people say that “I have a good prayer life” like “I have a good sex life”. You know, I don’t want to hear that shit. Real mystics don’t have Internet access, don’t brag about it, don’t comment about it, etc. Most people who talk about the mystical life in the modern Western context are bullshiters by profession, especially if they are offering a seminar on prayer with a book table at the door.

Theologians are not much different, especially in an age where they are “theologians for hire”. I could at least respect an age where everything had to be passed through ecclesial censors and you knew the theologian had to be a member of the clergy, perhaps even a religious order. There was a certain tradition in terms of their life and style that was passed down as a remnant of “philosophy as a way of life” (Hadot), kind of like Lenin’s vanguard party. But now, that’s all gone. Von Balthasar is the perfect example: left his order to go intellectually masturbate on his own. He did some good work in Patristics, but most of his other stuff is unreadable.

Folk religion, I am surprised that you think that I have a low opinion of it. My opinion is quite high still. I am pretty superstitious, and to tell the truth, in my mannerisms and way of life, still pretty Catholic, at least culturally. I have a soft spot for old ladies lighting candles, and always will. It is sort of a part of “being human” (there I go with my essentialist sentimentalism). However, I think “folk Catholicism” is a bridge to the secular in many ways: it has more in common with this “horrible anti-Christian modern world” than most “good Catholics” are comfortable with. Hey, if I had my way, everyone would go to church and use the Gospel as inspiration not to screw each other’s wives and steal, but if all they can do is carry around a holy card in their pocket, well, beggars can’t be choosy. “Folk Catholicism” is the original “cafeteria Catholicism”, a Catholicism of the people and not of the clergy, and for that, I have great respect for it.

5 04 2011

Also, this post reminded me of something I read in Balthasar yesterday: “So too do we constantly flee from God into a distance that is theoretical, rhetorical, sentimental, aesthetic, or, most frequently pious.” Of course if we are to be truly consistent in our cynicism the God that Balthasar speaks of would fall into the category of idolatry as well, as would the apophatic God that some may invoke in response to your sarcasm. Data venia, you seem to have a rather low opinion of mystics, theologians, and folk religion in general, although your condescension (if indeed that it what is meant– I am often too easily fooled by the internet) is quite common, especially among pop atheists like Hitchens & co.

5 04 2011

i was thinking the same thing it scared the shit out of me

5 04 2011

Poor kitty

4 04 2011

Where did you get the picture of the laughing Aryan Christ? There’s something rather unwholesome about it…

4 04 2011
Which ones do Atheists reject? | English Catholic

[…] often pay a visit to Arturo Vasquez’s blog, and found Random notes on God. It is all quite satirical, but I sympathise with a need for us Christians to clean up our act and […]

4 04 2011
Sam Urfer

1, 2, 3, 6 and 9 (by extension 5) for me. 6 and 9 make for an interesting mental vacillation.

4 04 2011

I was thinking about all this yesterday… God as the centered enclosure of the criss crossing of multiple flows. I don’t know.

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