“A Headless God or religion for our times” (The Structure of Metamodern Religion 1/3)

Substack blogger Octopusyarn writes on metamodern religion:

Being self-aware of its constructedness, a metamodern God concept needs to be able to sustain critique. Daniel Görtz describes this concept of a headless God as follows: “It is a God whose altar can be pissed upon, is insulted again and again, yet remains sacred, is resurrected. (…) Always on its way to the guillotine.” This allows for an anti-fragile dynamic where whatever belief structures are left after ferocious critique can be believed in with much more conviction. This constant critique also acts as a pruning function to get rid of structures no longer needed. Since our God is anti-fragile, there should be no hesitation in tearing down any narratives that are disproven by our scientific advances and reconstructing ones that better reflect reality. 

Just as we can acknowledge that our God is ultimately fictional, we may also extend that principle to our prophets. This move has several advantages: It absolves any popularisers of the religion from the need to live up to people’s inevitable expectations to perfectly embody its values and to hold their projections. At the same time, we are inoculating ourselves from gurus who identify with these projections to become psychopaths drunk on power in little time. We neither have to wait for our savior nor be devastated about the inevitable fall from grace of our priesthood. The fictional prophet of Metamodernism Hanzi Freinacht is a great recent example – the fact that it’s a made-up character (a caricature of the Nietzschean philosopher) allows the authors to enter a prophetic mode without taking themselves too seriously. 

Leave a Comment