In theology, regardless of religious background, there are essentially two types of statements which can be made.  The first is cataphatic theology, or positive theology; the practice of making positive statements about the nature of God.  God is good, God is love, God is universal consciousness, etc.  While this sort of practice can be useful to begin to gain an image of God, it also necessarily limits that image.  By defining God in purely human terms, cataphatic theology runs the risk of turning God into a mere supernatural anthropomorphism–just another of many gods.

The second, much stronger type of statement which can be made regarding God are statements of apophatic theology, or negative theology.  Negative theology holds true that for any humanly-comprehensible value (x), God is neither (x) nor (not-x).  That is, God is neither good nor not-good.  God is neither love not not-love.  God is neither universal consciousness nor not-universal-consciousness.

In modern American culture this type of statement is mostly associated with “Eastern religions” (through a nominal acquaintance with Buddhism and Sanatana Dharma (“Hinduism”)).  However, it has a strong tradition in the Orthodox Church, where cataphatic theology is rightly used only by recent initiates.  Re-introducing the practice of apophatic theology would do much to strengthen the Western Church, which has lost a lot of ground in the last century due to an over-emphasis on evangelism at the expense of mystagogy.

Published by Little-Known Blogger

I spent the first years of my life in a trailer park outside of a tiny town in rural Missouri. I grew up to be a long-haired, gun-hating, military-hating, Presbyterian super-liberal. Well, perhaps the “growing up” happened later. While in high school, I was on the cross-country and wrestling teams, and actually won my weight-class in a State powerlifting competition. I went on to attend college on a Bright Flight scholarship, where I promptly became an atheist. I trained for a few years in Shotokan karate and Cheng-system taijiquan before training in my first real martial art, Hwarang-Do, under the late Franklin Fowlkes (later the Founder and Grandmaster of the Five Elements Martial Arts System). I married an older Taiwanese woman my junior year, got divorced in short order, and dropped out of college. After completing my AA in Psychology, I decided I needed a complete change of scenery and joined the U.S. Marine Corps (having early been assured that there was no way that a skinny liberal like me would ever survive Boot Camp). Contrary to what the Hipster Zombies will tell you, this did not “brainwash me into being a Conservative”. Instead, it made me a very unhappy, short-haired liberal, surrounded by guns and the military. However, I spent my whole contract (after schools) on the island of Okinawa, where I was exposed to points of view not dominated by the American liberal media. During this time, I taught ESL classes as a side-job, trained under some of the highest-ranking masters of karate on Okinawa, and discovered the practice of Buddhism. I also spent some time in Korea, where I got to train in hapkido. It was during this period that I came gradually to realize how stupid and evil American liberalism actually is. This was partly due to my Military Police command sending me to Small Arms Instructor school, which gave me more exposure to guns than I could ever have imagined—thus negating my idiotic liberal distaste for them. After the active-duty portion of my Marine Corps contract was over, I worked several jobs, from security contracts to operating a forklift in a warehouse. In 2002, however, when the invasion of Iraq was getting under way, I signed up with the Missouri Army National Guard, and have remained with them since, continuing as a Military Policeman. I am also full-time corrections officer, a member of the Anglican Church, and at one time was an Instructor Candidate in Dekiti-Tirsia Serradas Kali (until my instructor moved away). My hobbies (beyond blogging) include strength training, shooting sports, martial arts, creating digital art, and being a huge science and science-fiction geek.

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