Götterdämmerung

Or, Christians as secular atheists:

“Knowledge of God in the sense of the New Testament message, the knowledge of the triune God as contrasted with the whole world of religions in the first centuries, signified, and still signifies, the most radical “twilight of the gods”, the very thing which Schiller so movingly deplored as the de-divinisation of the “lovely world.” It was no mere fabrication when the Early Church was accused by the world around it of atheism, and it would have been wiser for its apologists not to have defended themselves so keenly against this charge. There is a real basis for the feeling, current to this day, that every genuine proclamation of the Christian faith is a force disturbing to, even destructive of, the advance of religion, its life and richness and peace. It is bound to be so. Olympus and Valhalla decrease in population when the message of the God who is the one and only God is really known and believed. The figures of every religious culture are necessarily secularised and recede. They can keep themselves alive only as ideas, symbols, and ghosts, and finally as comic figures. And in the end even in this form they sink into oblivion.

No sentence is more dangerous or revolutionary than that God is One and there is no other like Him. All the permanencies of the world draw their life from ideologies and mythologies, from open or disguised religions, and to this extent from all possible forms of deity and divinity. It was on the truth of the sentence that God is One that the “Third Reich” of Adolf Hitler made shipwreck. Let this sentence be uttered in such a way that it is heard and grasped, and at once 450 prophets of Baal are always in fear of their lives. There is no more room now for what the recent past called toleration. Beside God there are only His creatures or false gods, and beside faith in Him there are religions only as religions of superstition, error and finally irreligion.” (II/1, 444)

(Pick any sentence from this passage and Barth could sound like an extremist!)

2 thoughts on “Götterdämmerung

  1. dpredie

    der ring des nibelungen!

    anyway, i think an ecclesiastes-death-sheol outlook wouldnt be much different in practice with a good-moralist-atheist’s eschatology

    Reply
    1. septian Post author

      When Barth said, “God is One and there is no other like Him”, I automatically read it as lā ʾilāha ʾillallāh.

      Anyway, the “lovely world” or enchanted world is fun, but only for fun.

      Reply

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