Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
Similar to Richard Rohr’s “If it fits in a box, it’s not God.”
James, do you know the context of this? I think I agree, to a point, but I do wonder if this quote might suggest we can’t say anything true or even appropriate of God, throwing us into the religious language problem. That’s part of what I was researching before I left grad school, so I’d be interested in reading what Bell says here.
Also, I guess I should ask: what’s your policy on sharing these pictures on other sites? I’ve gotten in the habit of sharing some of these over at Tumblr, including links back to your site and sometimes with my own thoughts added as well. (Here’s how I shared this one, for example.) Is it okay to share the images like this on other platforms?
Oh yes, sharing is not only acceptable but encouraged, and your linking back to my blog is appreciated immensely!
I don’t know Bell’s writings well enough to know his own view, and I don’t know the context of this specific quote. But my own view is that all religious language is inadequate by definition and is thus symbolic, a pointer to a transcendent reality that cannot be done justice to with human words.
“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”
Douglas Adams – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Also similar to the Tao in the “Tao Te Ching”:
“The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao. The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name. (Conceived of as) having no name, it is the Originator of heaven and earth; (conceived of as) having a name, it is the Mother of all things.”
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