Catacombic theology is a desiring theology of becoming. While speaking of desire it is worth making the initial remark that catacombic theologians are careful not to speak of desire in terms of acquisition, as if desire follows from a lack of a possible object—the real object. Desiring-production is rather affirmed as pure multiplicity beyond the One and the many, a catacombic assertion from the middle of experience, which is indifferent to any sort of unifying code. In Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, Deleuze & Guattari set out to schizophrenize the unconscious and the sociohistorical domains as an act of liberation so as to rediscover the forces of desiring-production. Following D&G, the catacombic theologian refuses the banal and repressive requirements of representation to which the high priests, the doctores angelici, of the Cathedral adhere. Catacombic theology should be understood as expression rather than representation since, as Daniel Barber writes, echoing Spinoza, ”Being is expressive; it is nothing more and nothing less than the expression of God.” Any resemblance between the delirious catacombic code and the heavenly code of the Cathedral is therefore the result of a catacombic parody.
From the dark and gritty underground emerges an active, affirmative theology: a theology of spirit and truth. But why invoke the dualism between the catacombs and the Cathedral? The Cathedral, with its erected towers, stale architecture, high priests and impossible stairways, its many doors and their keepers, is built on a lie. Untruth is its universal principle. Its will to power is turned upon itself since it is not strong enough to affirm its own difference. It is reactive and hence it denies everything it is not. Its logic of representation is a unifying code that enslaves the masses and poisons their will to will power. The Cathedral accuses life in order to redeem it and redeems it in order to justify it. As catacombic theologians our response to the Cathedral is an unmitigated no, hence we invoke the dualism between the catacombs and the Cathedral to challenge the dualism inherent to the logic of the latter, and it is all a matter of truth, justice and liberation.
Our catacombic no is always exclaimed in the service of our affirmation of difference, our yes to the multiplicity beyond the One and the many. The antagonism we appeal to should therefore not be conceived of as a pure negation, our opposition towards the Cathedral is instead grounded in our affirmation of possibilities the Cathedral’s otherworldly logic triumphantly deems inadmissible. The catacombic theologian thus follows the deleuzian schizo in the refusal of reducing two contraries to an identity of the same. Their differential affirmation is a yes to that which relates the two as contrary. And as Catherine Keller spells out as she brings Nicholas of Cusa back in vogue in Cloud of the Impossible, the affirmation of what relates opposites opens the door for a relational theology of becoming.
From the towering vantage point of the high priests, the immanent catacombic space which the differential affirmation opens up is nothing short of hell; the black night of the undifferentiated, but the catacombic response is that the cursed night of the undifferentiated is created as a chimera by the repressive differentiations that result from the reactive theology of the priests. Yet again it is correct to say that their accusation of life is the precondition for the darkness from which they claim to save us. With that in mind, it is important to emphasize that the mission of catacombic theology is not to resolve this theological dilemma of the Cathedral by heroically accepting its inherent ambiguity and its infinite negative logic. The catacombic no is not a surrendering but necessarily functions in the service of our affirmation.
This is not a critique of people from the underground who appear in the cathedrals, parodically dressed as doorkeepers and priests, helping others to rediscover the spiritual forces of desiring-production in order to shatter the iron collars around their necks. What the catacombic theologian embraces is not the presupposed witness of faith on which the Cathedral is constructed, but the inherent constructedness and thus the plasticity of the Cathedral and of its values. Following Nietzsche, we therefore speak of the Cathedral’s genealogy and of its genealogy as both the value of its origin and the origin of its values. Genealogy, then, is said of both the origin and of the difference within the origin itself.
Catacombic theology consciously avoid any notion of a pure origin, rather than creatio ex nihilo we thus speak of creatio ex profundis, and from all this follows that we do not attempt to justify existence and that we refrain from entering any game of theodicy. Rather than speaking of justice in terms of eternal values and inherent lack we stand with Kafka in saying that everyone is part of justice, ”not because of the transcendence of the law but because of the immanence of desire.”