If you ask me, “Do you believe in God?” My response would be, “I have an atheist relationship with God.” My relationship with God is not one of belief. These are the term and conditions of our connection. Belief is not one of them. My relationship with God did not and does not necessitate belief. Indeed, it seems to grow stronger in the absence of such a thing. My God does not require that I believe in them. The nexus of connection, the ruptures of affection, the disasters of absence, the rush of the oceanic, and the fear of God abound the same. I have an atheist relationship with God. A ‘relation’ of atheism is a negative theology – a dark metaphysics. I pray to the God of Oblivion. The God of No-Where, Not-Here, and No-Thing. The God of oceans of unknowability that knows its not there. This ‘negativity’ lies within. But within and without presence is not without relation. Relation relationsz within negativity as well. Is Nothingness-with another name for God? Now, I’ve said too much, and yet saying ‘too much’ is so much a part of saying nothing at all. God is silence. Silence is sound. Let us whisper in our prayers. To say such a thing is to speak personally. On the contrary, I shall go further. To say such a thing is to speak prayerfully (no ‘persons’ involved), and one should understand that the terror of saying one’s prayers out loud (and to write a prayer is to pray out loud, to rid the prayer of its silence, to inscribe it into its digital fossil): “For if you only knew … my experience of prayer, you would know everything.” It is a Socratic itch, I scratch. Praying to a philosopher’s God, would lead to “knowing everything.” My God is a God I know nothing of. It is an onto-theological God that feels. Feels because I feel it, even in my rage against the machine of its notion. See, my rage against the machine of its notion is a tragicomedy of my relation with Nothingness-with. For in the a-to which I apposition towards -theism, I relate to God in a rush of speed and adrenaline, pride and ambivalence, disgust, and concern. Let us return to a well-known mytheology (a potential “myth” that aims to study – where study is understood robustly as beyond the binds of books yet not completely without a ‘Bible’, infinite in its methodology and practice, encompassing of both atheist renunciation and theistic apologetics – on whatever it is that ‘God’ ‘is’), namely, Christianity. Let us imagine that Christ ‘is’ God and in this encounter with life-ending violence ‘God himself’ cries out to himself that ‘he has been forsaken.’ I do not agree with Slavoj Zizek that the ‘radical’ edge of this cry is primarily in the ‘materialist’ reading of the death of God. Zizek proposes that ‘every true atheism must go through Christianity’ since in Christianity, God dies and leaves behind the Holy Spirit of ‘the community of Christians’ for wherein where-ever they are, ‘God’ is. There is a sense in which Zizek’s Christian Atheism is a primer for a theory of God as Nothingness-with when the Holy Spirit is conceived in such a way. But what I think he gets wrong about ‘Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani’ is that ‘God forsaked God’ he did not simply die. What Zizek downplays in his ‘Christian atheist’ materialist interpretation of “Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani?” is that ‘even if Jesus is God’ – God ‘cries out to God’ because God is not there. Zizek is a ‘true’ Christian in that sense. It is better God to die than to have left you. At least in Death, God remains omnibenevolent. Yet, forsaken is the name of a relation of absence. Therefore, what is most ‘radical’ (and I do not care for the use of this word in this context, a context of onto-theology in the most unabashed sense) about this moment in Christian mytheology is to reflect onto-theologically about the fact that God was truly gone while Christ was on the Cross. (I have not read James Cones’ The Cross and The Lynching Tree yet, but I would say that my interpretation of The Cross and The Lynching Tree is similar – God forsakes the Slave at the Lynching Tree.) God’s absence is a part of God’s relation. In this cry of in absentia Jesus (God) shows (him)Self to be Nothingness-with and with-Nothingness: forsaken, without God. The radical reading of this cry is to admit that God was without God and that absence constituted the foundations of the cry. It is for this reason I often say, “I am not a theorist. I am a crier.” Thought leads to tears, for it is leads back to onto-theology. One cries to God even in forsakenness. There is a God even in absence. This is why I would not name this a “radical” prayer. This prayer aims to dig up some Being from Nothingness-With. But it does so by “believing” that just as one might “stay in the hold of the Ship” a prayer of dark metaphysics tries to “stay on the Cross with Christ.” Staying in the grip of “Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani?” means rupturing faith and belief, knowledge and agnotology and Being with absence and all the terror and jouissance that comes with that. As Achille Mbembe states, “In Christianity, the idea of non-death was assumed through the body of a man whose end combined aspects of suicide and politico-religious murder. In a radically orgiastic act, this individual acted and was acted upon at one and the same time.” (Mbembe, “God’s Phallus,” 226) The question of onto-theology then, or the study of God, remains relevant with or without God’s being. For even our mytheologies broach the question of atheism (our being without God) with poetic universality. The atheist remains an onto-theologian, no different than Christ on the Cross, crying out on forsakenness. I pray I take this cry seriously and that I pray on it and that in my prayers – in their so-called meaninglessness, futility, nihilist pleasure, I might find something in the places that no one had ever thought to look. That is my dark metaphysics. I do not wish to seek answers of belief. I pray I stroll into Oblivion. In Oblivion, there is an eon of things to uncover. The resurrection of Christ in Christian mytheology brings Christ together with Socrates on the question of immortality. Thus, making the ‘Essence of Christianity’ an essence that philosophically speaking remains relevant as a ‘philosophical’ text within Western Thought. However, quoting Mbembe yet again: “The Christian idea of the resurrection of the dead was … not new. Moreover, it had developed in the cults of Isis and Osiris in ancient Egypt. When Christianity was beginning its expansions, the Hellenization of this cult was already far advanced. In the cult of Osiris, a tale was told of a god’s coming back to life, completely restored as a person. This tale differed from that of the resurrection of Christ in that Osiris did not exists personally. The ritual that bears Osiris’s name supposedly originated as a miming of royal funerals that gradually became democratized. When Christianity adopted and consolidated it, the metaphor of resurrection had long been ‘denationalized’ and transformed into a possibility available for all the dead.” (Mbembe, “God’s Phallus,” 225) The question of immortality, while occasionally theologically-lended is still a philosophical question with no necessarily link to the question of God itself. It was and remains so beyond (in Philosophy and Science) and before (in Isis and Osiris) Christianity. But what remains mytheological and resolutely bound to onto-theology, is the realm of this prayer, and that moment of forsakenness. I do not care if God returns, I care that God Go-es. I will ponder resurrection, immortality, Phaedo, and the ‘Christian community’ after my prayers. While I pray I will remain on the cross. I will remain forsaken. This is why I say that my prayers are my most atheist moments. It is at these moments I “seek” God. The whole idea of having to “seek” God implies God’s goneness. My critique of Christianity then, and Christians mostly, is that their theology (their study of God) quite simply never leads them to believe that their God is as much of a mystery as God remains. God does not only work in mystery ways, God is a mystery. God is a mystery and that is why we pray. Prayer does not provide an answer, it is a relation with and of nothingness-with. In a way, another way of saying this is that one cannot speak of God in statements. One speaks of God in secrets. One speaks of God in question marks. Thus, one runs to Church in confession. Confession is the philosophification of God. The making of the question that God remains into a Human question of ethics, knowledge and Being. The making of the question of God into a necessary question on and of immortality. God remains a question without or without a resurrection. God forsakes even before the resurrection emerges. Onto-theology does not hinge on Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnibenevolence, Monotheism, Polytheism, Theism, Atheism, Presence, Humanity, Life, Death, Immortality or Resurrection. Onto-theology hinges on the cries and prayers to, from and of Oblivion. To the messages sent to no receiver as a relata in absentia.
I pray all these things through your Sün,