Take this post as a series of open-ended unanswered questions.
In the history of monotheistic religions, as we call and categorize them, there is one particular approach to God that I wish to ponder upon. But first things first, whether god ‘exists’ or not whether this statement has any ‘substance’, or whether it ‘means’ anything is really not what I am after. But given that thinking about God is an activity humans like to indulge in, God is an idea, it is at the image of the spirit, it is the abstraction of thought, so to speak. The existence of God has nothing to do with humans thinking about it. Ok, I haven’t revolutionized theology and this is far from being a revolutionary call, but a benign plea.
One could read through the history of these theologies a certain approach to the idea, to the “ideational”, one that favors a complacent narcissistic understanding of God as emanating from inside, from the spirit. God is the abstraction of thought, etc.
As Kafka says cryptically: “We are nihilist thoughts rising in the head of God”, meaning a whole bunch of things, but probably one of them, as I like to read it, is that God is the logos, the thought, the verb, etc, and we constantly challenge the boundaries of how we think, we have these anti-thoughts in the thought. We try to derail the system that we erected for ourselves. It does not mean it distances us from God, it may actually do the contrary.
The great Sufi Ibn el Arabi proposed that in order to approach God you have to enter a state of bewilderment. You have to lose yourself, to be confused. God misleads. Approaching the divine can only take place when you destroy intellectual path, you deframe speech. You get out of the ideational. You probably go into the cult of ‘appearance’ like Nietzsche nicely put it.
Some currents in religions have intellectualized, or rendered the approach to God user-friendly. I do not know if we can escape from this platonic understanding of God as Idea, that even some Sufi currents developed (as we have read them through Orientalist writing mind you). But my suggestion is to re-introduce a Pagan element into this.
I may be fooling myself and still be dependent on the ideational, but when I look at a tree, I am amazed by its robustness, its entrenchment in the earth, its majestic spreading of branches its soft leaves and delicious fruits, this serenity it projects. But there is something that transcends this intellectual process. Something experiential. There are many lessons to draw from looking at a tree, and although I tend to humanize the tree (or Godify it), I want to refrain from thinking that there is something more abstract from it. Can the immediate ‘presence’ of the tree supersedes the idea of the tree? I have no answer to that. But if I did then I would have derailed the classical notion of God.
One thing is sure: being all too confident in the platonic world of ideas as a field for the divine is missing something of this divine. Although it may be political useful to shape the imaginary of communities. More on this later, but Happy Daggers sums it all here.