Laurie Montgomery asked me what I don’t capitalise ‘god’ in the ‘About Me’ section of this blog. I appreciate the question – and while I don’t have a firm rule about the grammar of names for the divine, some wider thoughts below:
A note on God: I don’t think we can really talk about God. The name cannot begin to conceive of what ‘God’ might actually be. Woody Allen famously asserted that asking him about his belief or non-belief in God was pointless given that he couldn’t even get his typewriter to work. Dealing with small things is difficult enough without facing the deepest existential questions. Given that I don’t use a typewriter, I’ll risk just a little more theologising than Woody, but still bear in mind that whatever we say about God will be inadequate. My friend Pete Rollins writes beautifully about what he calls a/theism – the idea that our best ideas of God will fall short; by the same token, our most profound denials of God cannot come close to describing what Meaning is.
On the one hand, the notion that the Ground of all Being can be restricted to only having personal attributes makes God nothing more than a more powerful version of Santa Claus. On the other, the rejection of the idea of there being Something Beyond us seems to me to be rooted in disappointment with life at least as much as with a rigorous commitment to science, as many proponents of so-called ‘non-belief’ would want to say. For the record, I don’t think God/god/G-d is a magician in the sky, nor a friendly but more capable universal grandfather. Nor do I think we came from nowhere and have nowhere to go. Talk about ‘God’ is always inadequate; it’s far too big a word that it can’t fail to destabilise any sentence that tries to contain it. The paradox is that I think we have to talk about God if we are to discover what it means to be human. So I apologise for the failure of my words to convey what I mean – and I hope you can trust that when I use the word ‘god’ I’m talking about something unimaginable. And that my assumption about this ‘God/god/g-d’ is simple: he, she or it is either made of love, or we’re in trouble.