Op maandag 21 maart hield Tomáš Halík bij De Zinnen in Den Haag een lezing (in het Engels) ter gelegenheid van zijn nieuwe boek De nacht van de biechtvader. Christelijk geloof in een tijd van onzekerheid. Hieronder vindt u de introductie, het hele artikel is hier te downloaden.
The ‘story of Easter continuing in us’
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
I have gradually learnt to read the Bible so, that I seek questions in it, rather than answers. There are some questions which are so good, that it’s a pity to destroy them by answers. I have come to the conviction that God does not approach us as an answer, but rather as a question.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? According to Mark’s Gospel Jesus left this world with this question on his lips. After much searching this harrowing sentence has become more and more the cornerstone of my faith and starting point for my reflections on faith, of my theology. This strange testament of Jesus can of course be understood as a hopeless cry of despair. Does there remain any space at all for some kind of Christianity beyond the dark abyss of that cry?
But we can phrase the question differently: Isn’t the Christianity that crossed the abyss too easily and found a pat explanation for those words and displaced them from its memory – or even preferred to mishear them – too shallow?
As we read in numerous reassuring commentaries, at that point Jesus was simply quoting Psalm 22, which starts with these harrowing words but ends with the calm consolation of faith. But even if that were so, does it attenuate in any way the urgency of the particular line that Jesus spoke? Chesterton made his oft-cited comment on those words to the effect that if atheists were to choose a religion they should choose Christianity, because it is the only one in which God seemed himself for an instant to be an atheist. Theologians defending the thesis that God died in Christ are implicitly saying that only the All-knowing – unlike we mortals or the “Immortals” (pagan gods) – knows what death is.