A Madman’s Theodicy

…[the ancient inventors of names] would never have connected prophecy (mantike), which foretells the future and is the noblest of arts, with madness (manike), or called them both by the same name, if they had deemed madness to be a disgrace or dishonour; they must have thought that there was an inspired madness which was a noble thing; for the two words, mantike and manike, are really the same, and the letter t is only a modern and tasteless insertion. – Plato, Phaedrus 244c (circa 370 BC)

 

The blind will not gain their sight by opening their eyes

Not for the sins of the fathers

nor of previous generations

Why do the wicked prosper while the righteous cries out?

Like lambs sent to the slaughter

hopeful, faithful

through love

for salvation

What is this upside-down glory

of a murdered God?

How do you live

knowing

one day

on the third day

(just like that)

 

life still lives

 

and even death dies?

 


About the author: Lucas Coque is a Brazilian theology student in Montreal, QC. He is an agnostic Christian existentialist who wishes to make progressive theology accessible.

Photo by Louis Maniquet on Unsplash

 

The Study of God: on method

Recently a friend of mine who has very little religious education gained interest in theology, and surprised me with maybe the best question I have been asked in a while: what is the theological method?

If you have ever studied something seriously, academically, critically, you understand his question. Ιt is a question of epistemology: “how do I know?”. In traditional sciences, there is a scientific method: controlled, observable and reproducible experiments lead to conclusions and allow predictions. The experiment is then repeated and reviewed by other scientists who confirm or contest the conclusions, and as that happens the whole community arrives at very probable theories about a subject. History also has its method, since history cannot be repeated or reproduced, neither controlled, so it stands outside the realm of science. Math and logic, along with philosophy, all have their systems of proof testing. So when we speak of the Divine, what is our method to differ between truth and non-truth? How do we know? Continue reading The Study of God: on method

A Poem About My Cat

I haven’t written here in a long time. These days, more and more I realize that religious truths are not meant to be communicated through cold logical exercise and exposition, but through vivid imagery, music, and art. I have been writing a lot of poetry, and here I’d like to share something that very well fits this blog.

 

I got him half a lifetime ago. His lifetime.
He’s like my little brother from another species
Mon minou mignon, gato gatoso, my furball
Little fluffy killing machine
My cat Continue reading A Poem About My Cat

God and Inspiration: Lit Up by Broendsted

A few weeks ago, my friend Bjorn called me to join in an interview for his podcast “Lit Up” (← click!), where he interviews people he knows and talks about what inspires them. I thought it would be a really fun thing to do, so we met at Mt. Royal and had our chat, first while walking (and climbing stairs!), but then we sat on some rocks with an amazing view of Montreal’s skyline, and that’s when things really picked up in our talk. I’d say around 20 mins into it.

In the latter half I talked about very personal, deeper thoughts about life, love, fear, destiny, free-will, duality and paradox, that, if you like this blog, you will certainly enjoy listening to it : ) Continue reading God and Inspiration: Lit Up by Broendsted

Who Wants To Live Forever?

What is this thing that builds our dreams / Yet slips away from us / Who wants to live forever? / Who wants to live forever? / There’s no chance for us / It’s all decided for us / This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us.

Who wants to live forever? / Who dares to love forever, when love must die?

If you know good rock music, then you know Freddie Mercury and his band, Queen. The other day I was listening to their album Live at Wembley ’86, where they performed the song Who Wants To Live Forever (listen to it here). Amazing song, amazing lyrics. Right after, they perform I Want To Break Free (here), and I can’t be sure if they put some deep thought in the order of the songs or not, but these two in sequence surely brought a strong meaning to the performance. It made me think a lot, and this post here is me trying to digest those thoughts. It was so beautifully… human. I guess that is what art is about, right?

I never met Freddie, and all I know of him is from his music, and yet I have the feeling that I know him better than many people I have small talk with everyday. To me that is what makes a great artist: when you can see his soul through his art. Transparency.  Continue reading Who Wants To Live Forever?

An Other Self: Self-Awareness, Nirvana, and the Übermensch.

Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, For the straightforward pathway had been lost. – Dante Alighieri, 1265 – 1321

Human beings seem to be the most evolved creatures on earth. We have covered the globe with our civilizations, we have built monuments, we have developed science and art and religions, and our scientists are currently tinkering with the very fabric of reality as they experiment with quantum physics. Yet, both religious and unreligious, we seem to all understand that we are not quite there yet. We feel a need to transcend our humanity: the Buddhist seeks for Nirvana, the Existentialist wants to weave his own meaning, the Darwinian waits for the next evolutionary step, the Western Christian walks in sanctification, the Eastern Christian in theosis. Nietzsche said that “What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal”.

It seems to be the most evident truth about humans throughout all philosophies: we are not done yet. We are not, we become. Continue reading An Other Self: Self-Awareness, Nirvana, and the Übermensch.

The God of unbelievers #1: Theology not for Christians

Ever since I have started studying theology, I have had quite a few interesting conversations with different people. I am studying in a secular, “liberal” university with believers and non-believers from different backgrounds and different insights into who God is. Some of the conversations I have appreciated the most were with atheists, people who deny, for a number of reasons, the existence of the God I love. You see, I am a Christian, but my favorite philosopher (if I may not call him a theologian) is Friedrich Nietzsche, who proclaimed that God was dead. I am very interested in the reasons why people would not believe, and to me, understanding honest atheism helps me understand both God and men, which I believe is what theology is all about. Continue reading The God of unbelievers #1: Theology not for Christians