The Empty Church

Church has been likened to sport, concerts, or anywhere else where people gather, face the same direction, and share the same experience. But what’s the difference about church? It’s that at football people watch the football, and at a concert the audience watch and listen to the performers, but in a church the supposed object of their attention isn’t actually visible. What we watch and hear, in the place of God, are priests, servers, icons and music. That this is ridiculous is the view of atheists, but theologically it all makes sense. On the cross God empties himself (kenosis / κενωσις, and on a human level we pay respects at the Cenotaph – the ’empty tomb’ (κενοταφος): there’s something powerful about nothingness, emptiness, the empty set. Religious words like holy, blessed are notoriously meaningless, so a fortiori how about God? The Second Commandment bans ‘graven images’, but that’s all we have. Anselm was wrong: non-existence, not existence, is an attribute of a perfect imaginable being.
The ultimate post-Modern trick: in God’s vanishing is his beingcredo quia absurdum.

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