Friday, January 01, 2010

The Contradictions of Our Being and Our Longings: A sort of Heideggarian theologico-anthropological reflection.

I have been confronted with contradictions lately: My own, of the varieties of Christianities demanding I recognize them as true (even if some may not use "truth" to describe their position, and "justice", "prophetic", "inclusion", and "welcome" are the preferred symbols that pretend to not be about "Truth" but are still claims to Truth). I feel the contradictions arise in an attempt to be full. Full of whatever is considered to be good. The contradictions also arise as the Good is defined by what is only present at hand. The contradictions arise then out of simply seeking to be, and yet believing that simply by acting according to our being there (or here) we can transcend whatever we believe to be false, evil or unjust (depending on the linguistic conventions we are comfortable with, though any of those linguistic conventions fails if they attempt to stand alone apart from the other.) But how can a being here (or there) and a being that is towards death, ever be full? How can any of my actions be truly and fully good, true, just, perfect?

It seems to me that my mortality, while simply part of being a creature (That is created and contingent) is also bound up in other limitations. As a being towards death I am always incomplete, partial. I am always already dependent on others: people, systems, institutions, technology. None of which are full of goodness.

I wonder if much progressive Christian emphasis on achieving a just world, while commendable seeks to in fact distract us from a longing we in our own effort and being can never achieve. I have long felt that conservative Christian emphasis on personal morality and narrow theological positions also so distracts us. We want to deny our being towards death and that there is only one escape from such a being: The Crucified Human Divine one who beat down death by death. He became Dasein that being towards death may lead to life, and fullness. But this way does not lead through our own efforts to be good, true, just, or correct.

I am always already Dasein, being there, a being towards death, incomplete and never full, grasping but never achieving, in its fullness, the Good. Only in accepting the coming of the Good, True and Just into the world of Dasein, can I ever hope to be full of the Good, I long for and long to be. But this means that now I am always already in contradiction, in two worlds, I am a being there and a being to come. I am a being towards death, a project whose completion is beyond my control, and yet in my hands, present to hand. I, in the face of the divine human one, must lay aside my seeking to be full, that I may be filled.

If our seeking and acting to be in the truth, to do the good, and the just, do we not hide from ourselves our own failures to be good, true and just? Yet at the same time these actions can lead us to lay aside pretensions of being fully these things, and embrace ourselves as beings who are contradictions, that is as projects, towards death. This laying aside or pretension and embrace of our being towards death, should also send us to the one who is full of all we long for and seek and who in being towards death passed through death to fullness of life. This one is the only true, good, just one, our only hope to be freed from our own contradictions that we hide from ourselves in our attempts to make the world, good, true and just.