The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event

The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event

The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event

The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event


Applying an ever more radical hermeneutics (including Husserlian and Heideggerian phenomenology, Derridian deconstruction, and feminism), John D. Caputo breaks down the name of God in this irrepressible book. Instead of looking at God as merely a name, Caputo views it as an event, or what the name conjures or promises in the future. For Caputo, the event exposes God as weak, unstable, and barely functional. While this view of God flies in the face of most religions and philosophies, it also puts up a serious challenge to fundamental tenets of theology and ontology. Along the way, Caputo's readings of the New Testament, especially of Paul's view of the Kingdom of God, help to support the ""weak force"" theory. This penetrating work cuts to the core of issues and questions -- What is the nature of God? What is the nature of being? What is the relationship between God and being? What is the meaning of forgiveness, faith, piety, or transcendence? -- that define the terrain of contemporary philosophy of religion.


As I put the finishing touches on this book, the world reels under the overwhelming violence of the tsunami (“sea wave”) that occurred on the day after Christmas 2004, which destroyed the lives and property of hundreds of thousands of people in south Asia.

Predictably, many religious leaders have been rushing to the nearest microphone or camera to explain that, while these are all innocent victims, we cannot hope to explain the mystery of God’s ways—implying that this natural disaster is something God foresaw but for deeper reasons known only to the divine mind chose not to forestall. Others are telling us that God has taken this terrible occasion to remind us that we are all sinners and to dish out some much-needed and justifiable punishment to the human race.

Tell that to the father who lost his grip on his three-year-old daughter and watched in horror as she was carried out to sea.

Those are blasphemous images of God for me, clear examples of the bankruptcy of thinking of God as a strong force with the power to intervene upon natural processes like the shifting movements of the crustal plates around the Pacific rim as our planet slowly cools—the decision depending upon what suits the divine plan.

One can look upon the book that follows as an attempt to think of God otherwise.

January 2005 . . .

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