Bataille ends an early article entitled ‘Propositions’ with the words: ‘the true universality is the death of God’. He is insistent, throughout the entire sweep of his work, that the death of God, as announced in Nietzsche’s The Gay Science, is to be thought of as a religious event, indeed, as the positive end of religion (as zero).
For Bataille—far more than for Nietzsche—the atheology thus engendered is of a specifically Christian character, in that it is rooted in the ‘sense’ of the crucifixion. Bataille reads the world historical power of Christianity through its quasi-latent content of an absolute sacrifice—that of God himself—which has created a religion of divine suicide. At the same time he considers Christianity to have deformed and obscured this thought, burying it under a theology of redemption. In the development of monotheistic belief man ‘tends to substitute for the evident prodigality of the heavens the avidity which constitutes him:
it is thus that little by little he effaces the image of celestial reality without sense or pretension and replaces it with a personification (of an anthropomorphic nature) of the immutable idea of Good’ . The subordination of the sacred category of death to the rational category of immorality (perdurant value) is a profanation of religion; the transformation of sacrifice into utility, exchange, and negotiation. A God unable to expend itself utterly is a figure of servility and abjection, bound to persistence with iron chains. ‘God the transcendent guarantee of being—the service of God abasement before this principle: that being persist, be imperishable.’
Bataille insists that Nietzsche’s thought of the death of God is sacrificial, orgiastic, and festive. Christian belief must pass over not into a complacent scientistic utilitarianism, but into the ecstasies of uninhibited wastage. The loss of God is the loss of self, the definitive shattering of the anthropic image, so that the perdurant ego of servile humanity is dissolved into the solar energy flow. Bataille is not remotely interested in being saved, he wants only to touch the extreme, writing that ‘I have wanted and found ecstasy’, an ecstasy that is the experienced loss of being. This is not a matter of dying, but of surviving (momentarily) only through excess, as chance, without guarantees, and without inhibiting the dissipative tide:
Being is given to us in an intolerable surpassing of being, no less
intolerable than death. And because, in death, this is withdrawn from us at
the same time it is given, we must search for it in the feeling of death, in
those intolerable moments where it seems that we are dying, because the
being in us is only there through excess, when the plenitude of horror and
that of joy coincide
God has only one possible meaning: Phallus. The God of the ontological argument is Omniphallus, in whom reason, being, authority, and the good coincide. It belongs to the essence of a perfect being that he exist forever. Who could deny that the crucified was well hung? But perhaps one should not laugh about such things, for even if God is a comic, one’s willy—and its mythology—has surely to be taken seriously.
As for Jahweh’s immense throbbing member, that is a matter of the gravest consequence.
Through it he establishes himself as the supreme transcendent object, eternally postponing the black spasm whose result is detumescence and the end of theuniverse. Were God to ever sacrifice his erection for a taste of death the principle of identity would dissipate into scorched dust, and being would relapse into the dark. Phallus—as psychoanalysis has always said—is the same as castration. To be an immortal organ of intimidation is to abstain forever from the movement twisted through oblivion and relapse.
In The Solar Anus Bataille remarks: ‘Those in whom the force of eruption is accumulated are necessarily situated below [en bas]’. What God must never succumb to is the molten penis of terrestrial coupling, for which logic (of castration) has lost its sense, because nothing remains to separate it from vulvic dissolution.