Robert Jensen, Atheist Prophet

Alex Doherty wrote in all the way from the UK to tell us about an interview he did with Buddha-killer Robert Jensen over at the New Left Project: “A Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice.” Here’s a righteous morsel for ya—

You describe yourself as an atheist-Christian. What does that mean? Is it not a pre-condition of Christian faith that one must believe in God?

Early in this process I used the term atheist to describe myself, but I no longer do that. I don’t believe in God, defined as a being, entity, or force, but that is only one way to understand the concept of God. So, I don’t believe in a God or in gods, but I do believe that the concept of God is useful in human life. For me, God is a synonym for mystery, for the recognition that most of the world is mystery to us. I think we miss the power of the concept when we reduce God to a being, entity, or force; that kind of religion is idolatry. We have to look for, as many have put it, “the God beyond God,” the task of exploring God without reducing God to a human projection. It’s a task at which we inevitably fail, but the question is whether or not we can fail creatively.