God and Desire (Alison, 2007)


Well, I’ve started here, not because I really wanted to talk to you about Original Sin (though no Catholic discussion about God and Desire can bypass the issue), but because it is my claim that the doctrine of Original Sin is an important piece of the grammar of how we talk about God. It is, or should be, a permanent reminder that we humans do not come to talk about God from a stable, fixed, starting place which we can dominate by our discourse. On the contrary. If God is true, then the starting place for our discourse is always as those in the midst of undergoing something. We always start as those who, having thought of ourselves (depending on our self-importance) as minor or major protagonists, in a narrative which we thought we understood, are always having that narrative blown apart by the emergence of another narrative in which someone else is protagonist, and we are peripheral in a way which turns out to be surprisingly reassuring. Or, in other words, the kind of “we” that has brought each one of us into having the unsteady and instable thing we call a “self”, an “I”, over time, that “we” is being radically restructured, and each of us is finding ourselves losing a certain sort of self so as to be given a quite different one in relationship to quite a different sort of protagonist.

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