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Is God dead?

Theology: Toward a Hidden God
The Times, Friday, Apr. 08, 1966

Is God dead? It is a question that tantalizes both believers, who perhaps secretly fear that he is, and atheists, who possibly suspect that the answer is no.

Is God dead? The three words represent a summons to reflect on the meaning of existence. No longer is the question the taunting jest of skeptics for whom unbelief is the test of wisdom and for whom Nietzsche is the prophet who gave the right answer a century ago. Even within Christianity, now confidently renewing itself in spirit as well as form, a small band of radical theologians has seriously argued that the churches must accept the fact of God's death, and get along without him. How does the issue differ from the age-old assertion that God does not and never did exist? Nietzsche's thesis was that striving, self-centered man had killed God, and that settled that. The current death-of-God group* believes that God is indeed absolutely dead, but proposes to carry on and write a theology without theos, without God. Less radical Christian thinkers hold that at the very least God in the image of man, God sitting in heaven, is dead, and—in the central task of religion today—they seek to imagine and define a God who can touch men's emotions and engage men's minds.

If nothing else, the Christian atheists are waking the churches to the brutal reality that the basic premise of faith—the existence of a personal God, who created the world and sustains it with his love—is now subject to profound attack. "What is in question is God himself," warns German Theologian Heinz Zahrnt, "and the churches are fighting a hard defensive battle, fighting for every inch." "The basic theological problem today," says one thinker who has helped define it, Langdon Gilkey of the University of Chicago Divinity School, "is the reality of God."

A Time of No Religion.
Some Christians, of course, have long held that Nietzsche was not just a voice crying in the wilderness. Even before Nietzsche, SÖren Kierkegaard warned that "the day when Christianity and the world become friends, Christianity is done away with." During World War II, the anti-Nazi Lutheran martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote prophetically to a friend from his Berlin prison cell: "We are proceeding toward a time of no religion at all."

For many, that time has arrived. Nearly one of every two men on earth lives in thralldom to a brand of totalitarianism that condemns religion as the opiate of the masses—which has stirred some to heroic defense of their faith but has also driven millions from any sense of God's existence. Millions more, in Africa, Asia and South America, seem destined to be born without any expectation of being summoned to the knowledge of the one God.

Princeton Theologian Paul Ramsey observes that "ours is the first attempt in recorded history to build a culture upon the premise that God is dead." In the traditional citadels of Christendom, grey Gothic cathedrals stand empty, mute witnesses to a rejected faith. From the scrofulous hobos of Samuel Beckett to Antonioni's tired-blooded aristocrats, the anti-heroes of modern art endlessly suggest that waiting for God is futile, since life is without meaning.

For some, this thought is a source of existential anguish: the Jew who lost his faith in a providential God at Auschwitz, the Simone de Beauvoir who writes:

"It was easier for me to think of a world without a creator than of a creator loaded with all the contradictions of the world." But for others, the God issue—including whether or not he is dead—has been put aside as irrelevant. "Personally, I've never been confronted with the question of God," says one such politely indifferent atheist, Dr. Claude Lévi-Strauss, professor of social anthropology at the Collège de France. "I find it's perfectly possible to spend my life knowing that we will never explain the universe." Jesuit Theologian John Courtney Murray points to another variety of unbelief: the atheism of distraction, people who are just "too damn busy" to worry about God at all.

...SNIP... http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...835309,00.html
Revisiting Time's 'Is God Dead?' Cover

Forty-eight years ago this month, April 8, 1966, to be exact, Time magazine published what may be the most famous cover in its celebrated history. It consisted of a plain three-word question, printed in a bright blood red on an all-black background: Is God Dead?
At the time, believers read the headline as either blasphemy, an apocalyptic announcement or a declaration of war. Atheists and other secularists heard the death knell for all religion. To them, it was confirmation that the relentless march of reason and science had finally crushed the last vestiges of faith, superstition and irrational belief.
As many commentators have pointed out, those who rejoiced in the headline were sorely mistaken. Poll data consistently shows that belief in God is very much alive and well. But hold on: there's a lot more to the story.
The actual article in that Time issue made no dramatic predictions. Nor was the headline intended as a declarative statement about God or belief or anything else, as the question mark should have made perfectly clear. In fact, for a mass market piece on religion, the text is remarkably nuanced, and the reporters were perceptive enough to identify a trend that was about to explode. What the article actually described was a struggle among scholars, religious leaders, and ordinary people alike to rethink and redefine what we mean by God, and it saw that the search was on for new ways to pursue the timeless yearning to know the Infinite. "The new approaches to the problem of God," said Time, may (among other possibilities) "lead to a more realistic, and somewhat more abstract, conception of God."
And that, it seems clear, was exactly what happened. Polls may show that upwards of 90 percent of Americans check the "yes" box when asked if they believe in God. But when they are asked what they mean by God, it turns out that what was dying back in 1966 was God as the cloud-dwelling, white-bearded male overseer in Michelangelo's classic image. As it happens, in subsequent decades that anthropomorphic deity has largely been replaced by a conception of the Divine that's more akin to The Force ofStar Wars, or a coherent energy like something physics might describe, or theBrahman of Hinduism -- formless, eternal and transcendent, and yet also imaginable in any number of forms.
The Time reporters were tuned into the zeitgeist. In the spring of 1966, baby boomers were in high school and college. They were the best-educated generation in history, and they also had plenty of spending money, free time, and unprecedented access to information, thanks to postwar advances in communication and technology. They also had free-thinking role models: the beatniks, the hippie vanguard, the early adopters of LSD, the political activists and others for whom "question authority" was a mantra.
And speaking of mantras, the West also had easy access to Eastern wisdom for the first time. The Beats had ushered Zen onto the scene; the Hare Krishnas had become a fixture in be-ins and other counterculture happenings; Yoga and Transcendental Meditation classes were cropping up on campuses; George Harrison had put a sitar riff on "Norwegian Wood" and was about to be mentored by Ravi Shankar, setting the stage for the Beatles' historic sojourn in India; and books by interpreters of Hinduism and Buddhism, like Alan Watts and Aldous Huxley, were making the rounds, along with the Bhagavad Gita, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, the East-infused novels of Herman Hesse and J.D. Salinger, and Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi.
All in all, conventional religious beliefs were being called into question as never before, and the search for answers was not confined to the young; large numbers of grownups were also questioning what they had been taught about God. People were discovering new ways of understanding and pursuing spirituality, and adopting new language to discuss it , often eschewing the very word "God" because it was laden with connotations they wished to leave behind.
Time was onto something with that cover story four dozen years ago, but not exactly what most people who cite it -- and it has been cited thousands of times -- think it was saying. It foresaw a religious revolution marked by the emergence of an independent, pluralistic, non-dogmatic, spirituality whose ramifications we won't fully fathom for quite a while. That process continues, taking on new forms all the time. Probably, the best answer to the question in that long-ago headline should have been: it depends on what you mean by "God" and "dead."

Is GOD Dead ? ... - YouTube

Jun 24, 2010 - Uploaded by GoodPersonTestDOTcom
Dr. Ravi Zacharias discusses the TIME magzine issue of : Is God Dead ? ... sermon will bring you closer to ...

  1. The Intelligent Universe  by Fred Hoyle: Fred Hoyle was an important scientist who worked at the frontiers of astronomy and theoretical physics. In 1983 he published a well illustrated popular book for nonscientists in which he attacked the whole idea that life originated and evolved on Earth and replaced it by 'intelligent cosmic control: http://wasdarwinwrong.com/pdf/korthof47.pdf
  2. Science finds Godhttp://justonegod.blogspot.com/2015/01/science-finds-god.htm
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