Post-theism is a variant of nontheism that proposes that the division of theism vs. atheism is obsolete, that God belongs to a stage of human development now past. Within nontheism, post-theism can be contrasted with antitheism. The term appears in Christian liberal theology and Postchristianity.

Frank Hugh Foster in a 1918 lecture announced that modern culture had arrived at a "post-theistic stage" in which humanity has taken possession of the powers of agency and creativity that had formerly been projected upon God.[1]

Denys Turner argues that Karl Marx did not choose atheism over theism, but rejected the binary "Feuerbachian" choice altogether, a position which by being post-theistic is at the same time necessarily post-atheistic.[2] For example, at one point Marx argued "there should be less trifling with the label 'atheism,'” as he insisted "religion in itself is without content, it owes its being not to heaven but to the earth, and with the abolition of distorted reality, of which it is the theory, it will collapse of itself."[3]

Related ideas include Friedrich Nietzsche's pronouncement that "God is dead" and the transtheism of Paul Tillich or Pema Chödrön.

Notable post-theistsEdit

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Gary J. Dorrien , The Making of American Liberal Theology: Idealism, Realism, and Modernity, 1900-1950 (2003), ISBN 978-0-664-22355-7, p. 177f.
  2. ^ D. Turner, "Religion: Illusions and liberation", in: Terrell Carver (ed), The Cambridge Companion to Marx (1991), ISBN 978-0-521-36694-6, p. 337.
  3. ^ Karl Marx, Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge In Dresden (1842)


  • H. J. Adriannse, "After Theism" in: H. A. Krop, Arie L. Molendijk, Hent de Vries (eds.) Post-Theism: Reframing the Judeo-Christian Tradition (2000), ISBN 978-90-429-0853-6.
  • Christoph Schwöbel, "After Post-Theism" in: S. Andersen (ed. ) Traditional Theism and its Modern Alternatives (1994), 161–196.
  • Vincent Brümmer, "The Enlightenment Project and the Human Image of God" in: Hans-Georg Ziebertz (ed.), The Human Image of God, BRILL, 2001, 55–72.

External linksEdit

  • Post-colonialism and Post-theism by Christopher Bradley (2007)
  • Entry on "Atheism" at Marxists Internet Archive: Encyclopedia of Marxism
  • Post-Atheism: from Apophatic Theology to "Minimal Religion" by Mikhail Epstein In the book: Russian Postmodernism: New Perspectives on Post-Soviet Culture (with Alexander Genis and Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover, in the series Studies in Slavic Literature, Culture, and Society, vol. 3). New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1999, 528 pp.345-393.