Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Žižek's Trinity


I realise that this is, like, so six months ago, but I've only recently started reading The Monstrosity of Christ and it's, you know, like cool. But if I'm behind the times by quoting Žižek six months after the book is out, then I'm in a world of hurt every time I quote my mate Kierkegaard.

I like this little quote, a kind of nested quote of Davis quoting Žižek, because it's a succinct description of his materialist Trinity, beautifully placed in the text after Milbank's ontology. On with the show.
By contrast to this ontology, Žižek's "God" reveals himself in a radically self-emptying process, to the point where God's love for the world results in sacrificing his own transcendence -- that is, his own distance from the world, if you will -- in order to be more fully God. "This is why," as Žižek says, following Hegel, "What we have after crucifixion, namely, the resurrected God, is neither God the Father nor God the Son -- it is the Holy Ghost." And, as the Scriptures say, the Holy Ghost is love between believers -- it is the spirit of the community of believers. These famous words of Christ: "whenever two or three are gathered together [in love] I am in the midst of you." Žižek thinks we should all take this passage literally. (Davis, The Monstrosity of Christ, 18)

For a while now I've thought that the Trinity was a concept developed to help believers grasp their experience of God. God was experienced as transcendent, then as human flesh, and then as Holy Spirit. One way to reconcile this with the thought of an eternal God is the Trinity. But it's not a concept that's ever fully expounded in the Bible, and that gives the believer (and the theologian, especially) plenty of wiggle room to articulate this experience of God. And so I take it seriously as something to consider, and frivolously as something not worth fighting over.
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