How Existentialist Christian Atheism Validates the Existence of an Eternal God Who Cannot Commit Suicide

Only in Christianity does God himself, for a moment, become atheist

Slavoj Žižek quoting Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

Let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation (and alienation); only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton in The Romance of Orthodoxy (which is Chapter 8 in his book, Orthodoxy).

The only true path to atheism is through Christianity.

Slavoj Žižek.

Today, Christian Atheism is regarded as a distinctive self-contradictory theology that is associated with postmodernism and existentialism. Among its advocates are John Caputo who developed Weak Theology and Peter Rollins (an apophatic theologian) who developed Pyrotheology. Other advocates who have passed away are the theologian William Hughes Hamilton III who advocated for Jesusism without Yahweh, and the late theothanatologist, Thomas Altizer, who was central to the development of Death of God theology.

Christian Atheism is a product of existentialist Christian activism that emerged in post-war France and Germany, and powered their post-war economic renaissance, territorial stabilization, and political moderation. The resulting peaceful, wealthy, and liberal environments in Germany and France allowed for a new generation of post-war philosophers to develop new ideas for a revitalized people.

Christian Atheism
An advocate of Christian atheism in London in 2005. CREDIT: Wikimedia.

From Anti-Foundationalism to Existentialist Activism

Karl Popper once described the existentialism taught by Jean-Paul Satre as “a new theology without God”. This existentialism would not have been possible without the efforts of Albert Camus. Camus used his works – La Peste and L’Etranger – to gallicize the German father of anti-Foundationalism, Freidrich Nietzsche. This gallicization was necessary because the Third Reich that occupied France had posthumously made Neitzsche its court philosopher and the intelligentsia affiliated with the French resistance would not have accepted the ideas of German Existentialism associated with Neitzsche and his posthumous successor, Martin Heidegger. What is interesting about Sarte’s Existentialism is that it is a syncretism of German Existentialism with Kantian Ontotheology.

In Paris, Satre’s Existentialism developed from an import from Germany into a cogent gallicized philosophy that was sophisticated enough to be exported to Germany as a new generation of Existentialism. It is this new form of post-war Existentialism that French and German philosophers used to develop what came to be recognized as the inter-related theologies of Trans-theism and Christian Atheism. Christian Atheism and Transtheism, alongside the shared Weltanschauung created by aforementioned Existentialism, powered a new form of Christian activism that was able to compete brilliantly with Marxism and residual holdouts of Nazism and anti-deist Fascism.

This Christian activism benefited from an alliance with an emergent collective of European philosopher-politicians who included the 65-year-old Alcide de Gasperi and 69-year-old Konrad Adenauer. Adenauer and de Gasperi were devout Catholics, confederalists, and advocates of Natural Law.

Alcide de Gasperi once described Mussolini’s fascism as “Bolshevism in Black” (in reference to the black shirts worn by members of the Italian Fascist paramilitary organization called squadristi). When he described Italian Fascism as “the old Police State reappearing in disguise, holding over Christian institutions the sword of Damocles”, de Gasperi was arrested and put on trial where he stood his ground and asserted that “it is the very concept of the fascist state I cannot accept. For there are natural rights which the state cannot trample upon”. He was jailed in 1926 but never served his sentence for long because Pope Pius XI secured his release in 1927 and then assigned him to work and live in the Vatican library until 1941.

In December 1945, de Gasperi formed a coalition government. He led his newly-minted Christian Democratic Party to victory in the elections for the Constituent Assembly. He beat the Socialists who came second, and the Communists who came third in terms of electoral popularity. He later secured parliamentary dominance for his party in 1948 following the fallout between Pietro Nenni and Giuseppe Saragat which caused the Socialists to split into two camps, thus allowing de Gasperi to establish a politically homogeneous government as his party had 304 out of the 574 parliamentary seats. This allowed for the establishment of the de Gasperi Era which saw Italy restore its political respectability in Europe while enjoying an economic boom due to the economic plan he launched termed miracolo. His was the first case of successful Christian activism in European national politics. He set the stage for the next successful Christian activism in national politics through the personage of Konrad Adenauer.

When asked about the prevailing belief in the German genius, Konrad Adenauer answered that “Germans are Belgians with megalomania”. This cost him substantial political capital in the Weimar Republic – a fact that was worsened by his opposition to the idea of German racial superiority. When asked about Prussians, he answered that “A Prussian is a Slav who has forgotten who his grandfather was”.

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