Third Way Magazine has a fascinating interview with Jürgen Moltmann, which I highly recommend. I want to pull out some particularly interesting excerpts here:
On today's atheism vs. the atheism after World War II:
It was after World War 2 when we had this type of 'protest' atheism. Because of the misery, many people [objected to] the traditional image of the loving and caring God and therefore they left the church as a protest - but this protest bound them to God! Today, we have people who have just forgotten about the church and have discovered that they can live a happy life without God or religion. It's more an atheism of banality. And so the church should not only bring consolation to this society but stir it up, because (as a character in an Ingmar Bergman movie once said) 'without God everything would be OK, but with God nothing is' - because God gives us a conscience about what we do and what we let happen.
On false idols and images of God:
I became a theologian for God's sake, and he spoke about atheism 'for God's sake' - to follow no false gods in politics and economics and other areas of life. If you take the Second Commandment seriously, you should have no images of God but also no concepts of God, because he is not far away that we must represent him by images or even rational concepts of him. If my wife is travelling I look at a picture of her, but if she is present I don't need pictures. And so in the full presence of God, if you feel that he is present, you don't need pictures, or concepts of whether he is almighty or good or whatever. He is more present than you are. Or, as Augustine said: God is more in me than I am myself. As Meister Eckhart said: If you enter into the way to God, you must leave all images of the way to God behind and be happy in his presence.
On crying out to God:
We were drafted when I was 16 and in 1943 my whole class at school was put in the anti-aircraft batteries in Hamburg, and in the last week of July we experienced the destruction of the city by the Royal Air Force. This was given the codename Operation Gomorrah by the British.3 I was in the centre of Hamburg with my battery and as thousands of people died in the firestorm around me I cried out to God for the first time: Where are you? ...
I don't want it explained why I am in this misery, I want to be liberated from it, and therefore I cry to God: 'Where are you? Save me!'
If you as a pastor visit a dying person and he asks you why he is dying and you explain his situation, he will have you thrown out of the room. The question of theodicy is, to my mind, one asked mostly by the onlookers, not by those who are in a hopeless situation.
On believing in God after Auschwitz:
In whom can we believe after Auschwitz if not God?
Also, Rabbi Emil Fackenheim made a good argument: If we abandoned our faith in God after Auschwitz, we would give Hitler a posthumous victory.
And as long as we know that the 'Sh'ma Yisrael' and the 'Our Father' prayers were prayed in Auschwitz, we must not give up our faith in God.
On the Financial Crisis and Occupy:
I think it is relevant more to the situation of two-thirds of humankind. The Occupy movement is a bourgeois youth movement but where we are really suffering is in Africa and Asia - if you want to learn the power of hope, go to these miserable quarters of humankind. The rich don't have hope, they have only anxiety because they have something to lose; but those who have nothing to lose but their chains, as Marx said once, have real hope in an alternative future.
Today, I think we need a movement to liberate nature from suffering and violence and injustice. I think humankind will learn either through insight or through catastrophe, and I think most of the people in the First World are waiting for the next catastrophe. At the moment I am a little proud of Germany, which has given up atomic power because of Fukushima - but that is another story…
On the death of Martin Luther King and his writing of The Crucified God:
In '67 I was at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and when Theology of Hope was mentioned on the front page of the New York Times my students came to me and said: 'You've made it!' We had a large 'Theology of Hope' conference at the university in April '68 and I could sense how the forward-looking spirit of Americans was reinforced by the theology of hope. And then someone came storming into the room and cried, 'Martin King is shot!' By the end of the day there were pictures of cities burning everywhere - the black population was enraged by the murder of the prophet of the civil rights movement. And then Durham came under curfew and we broke off the conference and they all rushed home as quickly as they could.
And then I saw that the theology of hope is not the right way to speak the gospel to Americans: they need to get a feeling of the suffering and violence and injustice in their country. And I promised that whenever I returned to that country I would speak about the cross of Christ and the cross of Martin Luther King and all the black people who had been lynched. And so I came to write The Crucified God. ...
His cross stands among the thousands of crosses in the Roman Empire - those who were enemies of the Empire and its system of slavery were crucified. So, he carries the suffering of the world on the one hand and the sins of the world on the other. Where there are evildoers, there are victims, and Christ suffers both vicariously for the sins of the perpetrators and in solidarity with the victims. This is a broadening of the significance of the Passion. Church tradition was always oriented towards the perpetrators, but I think liberation theology, unconsciously perhaps, prepared the way for a theology of the victims.
Much of what is in this interview I've heard or read from Moltmann before, but as a summary of where he's been and where he is now as a thinker, it is an excellent piece. Please go read the whole thing, if I've left enough there for you to chew on after grabbing so much to post here!