God after atheism – what the word ‘God’ fails to mean

‘The word “God” does not function as a philosophical concept….
Even if one is tempted to say…that “God” is the religious name for being, still the word “God” says more: it presupposes the total context constituted by the whole space of gravitation of stories, prophecies, laws, hymns, and so forth.
To understand the word “God” is to follow the direction of the meaning of the word. By the direction of the meaning I mean its double power to gather all the significations that issue from the partial discourses and to open up a horizon that escapes from the closure of discourse….
The God-referent is at once the coordinator of these various discourses and the index of their incompleteness, the point at which something escapes them.’
Paul Ricoeur, 1995:45-6.

I’d be interested to know what people reading this think it means. It’s a quotation from French philosopher Paul Ricoeur. Leave a comment below. Thanks!

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One thought on “God after atheism – what the word ‘God’ fails to mean

  1. Simple really. The term God is a term that has no real meaning. Alot of words have multiple meanings, but God is probably the only one where there are an infinite variety AND they are contradictory.

    Ricoeur is pointing out the word is entirely incomprehensible outside any context.

    It basically is the capstone that holds them all together… but that doesn’t have any substance on its own.

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