In the midst of a postmodern culture the idea of God is increasingly losing ground among the “elites” fox-holed up in academic buildings across the world. This is no more truer than in the spiritual/intellectual autobiography of one of America’s preeminent postmodern philosophers, John Caputo. He has written Hoping Against Hope: Confessions of a Postmodern Pilgrim with the intention of a theology that “preaches” to an audience, which in my opinion, is being ever so slightly led away from the God of the bible.
Caputo grabs onto readers with his “theology of the rose” which blooms without why. He fancifully envisions a world where hope is enough to get people through and community is where people go to find god. His radical theology takes some very interesting turns as the pages twist themselves toward the climax of this volume. The very idea that “God’s inexistence is God’s insistence” is a foreign concept to me and seems as though it should come from the lips of a madman.
The authors sparring partners include men like Hegel and Meister Eckhart, Frederich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger. It seems in my limited knowledge of the subject that Caputo is surrounded by men who approve of his position and shuts out those who have repeatedly shown what the endgame of holding a postmodern worldview does to a man.
As i read through this “theology of the rose” it seems to me that what is being written about is really a hopeful version of atheism. I may be missing the point of what Caputo is saying, I must admit his intellect is quite larger and more sophisticated than mine. If I’m reading him the way I think he’s wanting to be read, and in seeing the idea of God as being absurd, I think William Lane Craig gives a great rebuttal to that idea, “It does seem to me that if atheism is true, then life is, in the final analysis, absurd. It seems to me that there are two prerequisites to an ultimately meaningful, valuable, and purposeful life, namely, God and immortality, and it God does not exist, then we have neither.” 1
If I have completely missed the point of this new theology of the rose and Hoping Against Hope then I will gladly take some constructive criticism. What I think I’m reading though is a claim that we need to get rid of God so that we can act as autonomous beings with no ultimate authority. A life like that has an untimely end and I’m not sure the world would be a more hopeful place with men and women with that worldview running around.