Sunday, March 6, 2016

"'These are your gods, O Israel!'"

E. Béricourt, "[Procession de la déesse Raison]" (1793).
Bibliothèque nationale de France.
"the proof that the unbelievers have neither gods nor [any] access to divinity consists in this pretention precisely, repeated incessantly as a great privilege, a great right—that of deciding [for] themselves who is god [(decider eux-mêmes de qui est dieu)]:  the Senate (or National Assembly, or Congress) votes on the divinity of each idol:  '. . . among you, divinity is weighed in the judgment of men.  There is no god except the one you will have decided upon; from now on the man will have to bestow his favor on the god' (Tertullian, Apologeticum 5.1; cf. 13.3).  But by definition ‘There is no one to make gods, Nemo est qui deos faceret (11.3)."

     Jean-Luc Marion on the second-century apologists (who would have had little or nothing to do with modern "apologetics"), "Apologétique et apologie," Communio:  revue catholique internationale 39, no. 1-2 (janvier-avril 2014):  15 (9-17).
     The "accusation [of atheism] remains . . . perfectly current:  not only because Christians find themselves persecuted by other religions and marginalized by widespread unbelief, but because they contest the quasi gods of contemporaneity ('values', 'pluralism', 'tolerance', the 'mastery of the end of life', the 'freedom of choice', [economic] 'growth', the 'market, etc.)" (14).
     "God, the true [God], is not nominated, but only de-nominated [(Dieu, le vrai, ne se nomme pas, au mieux il se dé-nomme)]" (16).
     On the other hand, surely this was an urban legend:  "Tiberius accordingly, in whose days the Christian name made its entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from Palestine of events which had clearly shown the truth of Christ’s divinity, brought the matter before the senate, with his own decision in favour of Christ.  The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected his proposal. Cæsar held to his opinion, threatening wrath against all accusers of the Christians" (Tertullian, Apologeticum 5.1).

No comments: