Schools for Scandal

Kevin L. Hughes

in The Experience of God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780823225187
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237135 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Schools for Scandal

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Michael Purcell argues that “Human life is meaningful… we are entered into a world in which there is already meaning”. This same life, he says, can seem evacuated of meaning. Ethical responsibility is possible only in the midst of the withdrawal of God. But the doctrine of Incarnation in the Christian faith seems to suggest precisely the opposite: it is the sign of a God who comes to meet us, not the other way around. Hence, one wonders if the notion of “God's purposeful withdrawal” is in the end compatible with or helpful in expressing Christian faith. The coincidence of opposites — God's presence and innocent suffering — is in fact coincidence and not contradiction after all. And this is, as Purcell claims, a scandal. The scandal of the cross is the manifestation of God as weakness, as lament. Insofar as justice seeks to end suffering, it is doomed to fail. In the world as we know and experience it, love is forever touched by suffering.

Keywords: God; Michael Purcell; faith; weakness; love; suffering; purposeful withdrawal; Incarnation; lament; justice

Chapter.  2608 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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