Thursday, June 1, 2017

More nonsense

I'm enjoying Stephen Mulhall's The Great Riddle very much. Here he is on religious language:
...insofar as God is the source of all that is, possessing in his being all the perfections he causes, then everything in creation is a potential source of imagery for the divine, and the more of it we activate in religious language the better, since only thus can we acknowledge God’s superabundant variety. And yet, using language in all these ways simultaneously will inevitably lead to us speaking contradictorily about God (as male and female, light and darkness, weakness and strength); and nothing we say about him can conceivably capture his nature anyway. But that transcendence of God is best acknowledged precisely by following out the consequences of attributing contradictory attributes to him; for if he is both male and female, and we know that no person can be both male and female, we thereby appreciate that our idea of him as a personal God is itself a misrepresentation—a necessarily unsuccessful attempt to delineate that which is beyond delineation.
The best way to appreciate the transcendence of God to human language is thus not to fall into silence, avoiding even the assertion that nothing is assertable of him, or to attempt some inconceivable synthesis of affirmation and negation; it is rather endlessly to employ that language in relation to him, and endlessly to experience its inevitable collapse upon itself. Religious language is thus essentially self-subverting language; the repeated collapse of its affirmations into complete disorder is its mode of order—it is, one might say, the only way the ‘language-games’ woven into honest, transparent religious language-games should be played.


  1. tres derridada-ish
    his book on seeing aspects is very good