In my previous post I shared a clip from the Emergent Village Theological Conversation with Jürgen Moltmann, where he is asked about whether atheists might be “closer to God than most theists”. Here Moltmann is asked about his concept of “protest hope”, in contrast with the “protest atheism” of his previous answer. Moltmann explains how he interprets “to wait and to hasten” (2 Pet 3:13) as “to resist and to anticipate” the coming kingdom of God. The churches must not only pray but “pray and watch”, which in his view should involve direct resistance against injustice in the world, including capital punishment, for, “after the capital punishment that Jesus suffered, there can be… no justification for capital punishment.”
Another great segment, well worth a listen!
Again, I’ve uploaded the audio to YouTube and included a transcript below.
E.V. As you are speaking of protest atheism I think often of your concept of “protest hope”, that for us as people of God in the world that we live not necessarily as protest atheists but as those who protest hope. we are the people who hold on to the hope in the face of the suffering of reality. Can you talk about that?
J.M. What is the art of hope? According to the Second Letter of Peter 3:13 or something like that, we should wait and hasten to the future of the coming day of The Lord. To wait and to hasten looks like it’s contradictory but it’s not. To wait does not mean to wait on Godot, but to expect somebody who promised his coming, and you know already the name and you feel the approach. To wait is not to adjust to unjust conditions in the present because you know that it can be changed and will be changed. and therefore, you resist conformity and silence to injustice and violence in your surrounding. So to wait in this sense means to resist. I think it is in Isaiah 26 where the people in the Babylonian exile say, yes there are other lords who have dominion over us, but we remember only you, and thy name. This is to wait: to expect and to resist. And to hasten means to run from one place to another in space. But what does hasten mean in time to the coming Day of The Lord? It means to anticipate, to transcend the limitations of reality into the realm of posibility. To anticipate the earth on which righteousness will dwell. and every piece of righteousness we can do here and now is an anticipation of that righteousness which will form the new earth, an everlasting earth. So I interpret to wait and to hasten at this point, “to resist and to anticipate”.
E.V. How do we do that as a church collectively? How do we actively resist injustice in the world?
J.M. Well, follow the sermon on the mount.
E.V. Duh! [laughter]
J.M. You must be more specific. I think one point in this country would be to resist capital punishment, because this is not according to the righteousness of God. But then you will come to a very inter-struggle with more conservative people who believe that this is in the name of God. But after the capital punishment that Jesus suffered, there can be from my understanding no justification for capital punishment, which is a violence in the name of the state and is creating new violence. And so there are concrete points wher eyou can engage…. in all the churches we pray. But the New Testament calls us not only to pray, but to pray and watch! So open your eyes if you pray to God. And see what is in contradiction to God ,and what is an anology to the coming of God. So watch! Do not close your eyes and transcend into the other world. Pray with open eyes.