Rollins on Participation

Rollins on Participation August 6, 2018

Another one from Rollins on the idea of belief as subjective “participation”. The question of “Does God exist?” is frequently debated in philosophical form, abstract and impersonal, on how it is more/less logical to posit God as the source of existence. For Christianity, though, this ultimately misses the mark.

“However, from a  Christological perspective, the question itself, which everyone seems to take for granted, now comes to signify something else entirely. Instead of the words, Do you believe in God? meaning Do you believe there is empirical data to assent to the existence of an extra-linguistic Supreme Being governing the universe?, it now refers to a way in which one lives and breathes. The empirical rending of the question may continue to interest the philosopher and is no doubt a fascinating question to have with friends over a drink. But it is not a specifically theological question when taken in this way. For the believer who passes through the Christian experience, God is no longer related to as an object out there. Rather, God is affirmed only through a passionate participation in life itself. This means that we can no longer claim that we know God while hating our neighbor. Those who have taken part in the event of Conversion (participation in Crucifixion and Resurrection) cannot claim to believe in God except as so far as love emanates from them, transforming the world in which they are embedded. In other words, the claim that I believe in God is nothing but a lie if it is not manifest in our lives, because one only believes in God insofar as one loves.” (Rollins, Insurrection, 2011, page 127).

It’s a reoccurring theme in his thought (heavily inspired by Kierkegaard), the idea that belief is the becoming, participating in Christianity is the acting out of Christ’s radical love of others; denying it is simply ceasing to participate. The philosophical and historical foundations are certainly important (I particular enjoy metaphysics and philosophy over a drink) but without participation, a completely sterile way of life.

Image Credit:

Author: Brian O’Neill

Source: Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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