Quotes on Revolutionary Faith and the God of Abolition

“Marxist faith is a faith in the future which men make for themselves in and through history. Or, more accurately, in the future that we must make for ourselves by what we do, so that this faith becomes a ‘wager’ which we make that our actions will, in fact, be successful. The transcendental element present in this faith is not supernatural and does not take us outside or beyond history; it merely takes us beyond the individual.”
— Lucien Goldmann, The Hidden God

“That kingdom is not the ‘rule’ or the ‘reign’ or the ‘sovereignty’ of God, but rather a reversal of all such power, a reversal which is the sacrifice of God, a sacrifice enacted in the ritual action of primordial sacrifice, but now enacted in the most common events of life itself. Hence the parables of Jesus are profoundly offensive to their hearer, but incredibly powerful in that very offense. This power is seemingly irresistible to its real hearer, but is inevitably lost or reversed when it is respoken in a traditional or established language, and above all so when it is respoken in the traditional language of religion. This is just what occurs in the synoptic gospels, so that only a deep deconstruction of the language of the gospels could call forth anything echoing the original power of the parables, and thereby the parables become most offensive to everything that we know as ‘God.’”
— Thomas J. J. Altizer, Godhead and the Nothing

“We believe that renovation within Christianity must come. Christianity once passed from the Roman religion under feudalism to Protestantism under capitalism. Now the development is from capitalism to socialism…. Christianity must learn that the present period is one of liberation for the people, the collapse of the old system.… God had taken the key to the salvation of mankind from its hand and given it to another.”
— Wu Yao-tsung

“Our conclusion is that belief in God is not contradictory to materialism, just as it is not contradictory to ‘evolution,’ because both ‘evolution’ and materialism can be taken as the means by which God reveals Himself in nature…. A person who believes in God can also believe in materialism…. Even a materialist should be able to accept faith in God…. How do we know in the future the two seemingly contradictory systems of thought will not achieve a new synthesis?”
— Wu Yao-tsung

“What is a prophet but a person
who sees their god evaporating?”
— Patrick Blagrave, Prophet

“Our task and our joy is to find or simply recognise God sitting amongst us, at any time, in any gay bar or in the home of a camp friend who decorates her living room as a chapel and doesn’t leave her rosary at home when going to a salsa bar.”
— Marcella Althaus-Reid

“What could the greatest fear be? Death? As a materialist I know that life will end some day. What is most important to me is to be an optimist, with the conviction that others will continue the work to which I am committed, and will carry it forward until they reach our final goal, communism. Because the fear that I could have is that no one would carry on, but that fear disappears when one has faith in the masses. I think that the worst fear, in the end, is not to have faith in the masses, to believe that you’re indispensable, the center of the world.”
Interview with Chairman Gonzalo (1988)

“The future of the Church depends on the number and the courage of those Christians who, day by day, are developing an awareness of the necessity of the struggle and joining the ranks of the world proletariat. It also depends on the concrete reduction, by these same men, of their own religious alienation. The Church will live thanks to those who, through struggle and in struggle, are once again discovering that the Word was born among men and dwelt among them – and who are already preparing a humane place for it amongst men.”
— Louis Althusser, A Matter of Fact

“God is teaching us that we must live as humans who can get along very well without God. The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us. The God who makes us live in this world without using God as a working hypothesis is the god before whom we are standing. Before God and with God we live without God. God allows Himself to be edged out of the world and on to the cross. God is weak and powerless in the world, and that is exactly the way, the only way, in which God can be with us and help us. Matthew 8:17 (he took up our infirmities, and bore the burden of our sins) makes it crystal clear that it is not by his omnipotence that Christ helps us, but by his weakness and suffering.

This is the decisive difference between Christianity and all religions. Man’s religiosity makes him look in his distress to the power of God in the world; he uses God as a deus ex machina. The Bible, however, directs us to the powerlessness and suffering of God; only a suffering God can help. To this extent we may say that the process we have described by which the world came of age was an abandonment of the false conception of God, and a clearing of the decks for the God of the Bible, who conquers power and space in the world by his weakness…

Humans are challenged to participate in the sufferings of God at the hands of a godless world. One must therefore plunge oneself into the life of a godless world, without attempting to gloss over its ungodliness with a veneer of religion or trying to transform it… To be a Christian does not mean to be religious in a particular way, to cultivate some particular form of asceticism… but to be a human being. It is not some religious act which makes a Christian what he is, but participation in the suffering of God in the life of the world.…

During the last year, I have come to appreciate the ‘worldliness’ of Christianity as never before… I don’t mean the shallow this-worldliness of the enlightened, of the busy, the comfortable or the lascivious. It’s something much more profound than that, something in which the knowledge of death and resurrection is ever present… One must abandon every attempt to make something of oneself, whether it be a saint, a converted sinner, a churchman … This is what I mean by worldliness-taking life in stride, with all its duties and problems, its successes and failures, its experiences and helplessness. It is in such a life that we throw ourselves utterly in the arms of God and participate in his sufferings in the world and watch with Christ in Gethsemane. That is faith, and that is what makes a human and a Christian.”
— Dietich Bonhoeffer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s