fredag, februari 24, 2012

Är politik utan transcendens möjlig?

"Is politics conceivable without religion? The answer is obviously affirmative as the evidence of various secular political theories testifies. But is politics practicable without religion? That is the question. And it is the question that Rousseau´s thinking politics faces. Can politics become effective as a way of shaping, motivating, and mobilizing a people or peoples without some sort of dimension -  if not foundation -  that is religious, without some sort of appeal to transcendence, to externality, to what we call above, with Charles Taylor, ´fullness,´ however substantive or otherwise that appeal might be? I do not think so."
The secularization that seems to define modern politics has to acknowledge a moment of what Emilio Gentile calls sacralization, the transformation of a political entity like a state, nation, class, or party into a sacred entity, which means that it becomes transcendent, unchallengeable, and intangible.

So, can a political collectivity maintain itself in existence, that is, maintain its unity and identity, without a moment of the sacred, without religion, rituals, and something that we can only call belief? Once again, I don not think so."

Simon Critchley, The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology (Verso, 2012), 24.

söndag, februari 19, 2012

Det transcendentas nya synlighet

"For a time it was fashionable in some revolutionary circles to suggest that liberation was to be found only beyond the confines of [transcendence]. If humanity was to overcome the afflictions of this present age, then a genuinely revolutionary politics must eschew, indeed escape, the constrictions of [transcendence]. Now . . . the dismissal of [transcendence] is being reconsidered. While totalizing discourse may be anathema and practice celebrated, it is recognized that liberation hinges upon a prior ontology that maps the trajectories of the constitutive power of life. [And] for a time it was also popular to espouse a militant atheism, to insist that liberation, if it is to be truly liberative, reject appeals to transcendence (and its handmaid, theology) in accord with the received prejudice that transcendence was but a species of opiate."

Creston Davis citerar Daniel Bell i The Monstrosity of Christ, s. 4

torsdag, februari 16, 2012

Žižek om utbildning

"You know who told me the best story? The British Marxist, Terry Eagleton. He told me that 20 or 30 years ago he saw a big British Marxist figure, Eric Hobsbawm, the historian, giving a talk to ordinary workers in a factory. Hobsbawm wanted to appear popular, not elitist, so he started by saying to the workers, “Listen, I’m not here to teach you. I am here to exchange experiences. I will probably learn more from you than you will from me.” Then he got the answer of a lifetime. One ordinary worker interrupted him and said, “Fuck off! You are privileged to study, to know. You are here to teach us! Yes, we should learn from you! Don’t give us this bullshit, ‘We all know the same.’ You are elite in the sense that you were privileged to learn and to know a lot. So of course we should learn from you. Don’t play this false egalitarianism.”

Again, I think there is a certain strategy today even more, and I speak so bitterly about it because in Europe they are approaching it. I think Europe is approaching some kind of intellectual suicide in the sense that higher education is becoming more and more streamlined. They are talking the same way communists were talking 40 years ago when they wanted to crush intellectual life. They claimed that intellectuals are too abstract in their ivory towers; they are not dealing with real problems; we need education so that it will help real people—real societies’ problems. And then, again, in a debate I had in France, some high politician made it clear what he thinks and he that time in France there were those demonstrations in Paris, the car burnings. He said, “Look, cars are burning in the suburbs of Paris: We don’t need your abstract Marxist theories. We need psychologists to tell us how to control the mob. We need urban planners to tell us how to organize the suburbs to make demonstrations difficult.”

But this is a job for experts, and the whole point of being intellectual today is to be more than an expert. Experts are doing what? They are solving problems formulated by others. You know, if a politician comes to you, “Fuck it! Cars are burning! Tell me what’s the psychological mechanism, how do we dominate it?” No, an intellectual asks a totally different question: “What are the roots? Is the system guilty?” An intellectual, before answering a question, changes the question. He starts with, “But is this the right way to formulate the question?”"

- Slavoj Zizek, "intervjuad" i the Harward Crimson.

onsdag, februari 15, 2012

Dawkins dilemma

Den sekulära humanismens kanske främste profet, Richard Dawkins, har förutom sina böcker om darwinism och religionskritik, även gjort sig känd för sin aldrig sinande svada. Lite komiskt var det därför när Dawkins i en radiodebatt i BBC nyligen helt saknade svar på tal efter ha blivit verbalt tillintetgjord av en präst.

Dawkins hänvisade till en enkätundersökning där många som angett sig vara kristna inte kunde namnge den första boken i Nya Testamentet. Dawkins poäng var att dessa individer på grund av sin kunskapsbrist inte kvalificerade som "riktiga kristna". Dawkins fick då frågan om han kunde den fullständiga titeln på Darwins "The Origin Of Species".
Giles Fraser: Richard, if I said to you what is the full title of 'The Origin Of Species', I'm sure you could tell me that. 
Richard Dawkins: Yes I could 
Giles Fraser: Go on then. 
Richard Dawkins: On The Origin Of Species.. Uh. With, Oh God. On The Origin Of Species. There is a sub title with respect to the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 
Giles Fraser: You're the high pope of Darwinism… If you asked people who believed in evolution that question and you came back and said 2% got it right, it would be terribly easy for me to go 'they don't believe it after all.' It's just not fair to ask people these questions. They self-identify as Christians and I think you should respect that.

Den brittiske överrabbinen Jonathan Sachs skriver om händelsen här, och Huffington Post bistår med ljudfilen.

fredag, februari 10, 2012

Taylor om identitet

“My identity is defined by the commitments and identifications which provide the frame or horizon within which I can try to determine from case to case what is good, or valuable, or what ought to be done, or what I endorse or oppose. In other words, it is the horizon within which I am capable of taking a stand”
- Charles Taylor. Sources of the Self, 27
I ljuset av ovanstående blir talet om nationell identitet obegripligt!

TV4 Göteborg om frikyrkans kris

Den senaste veckan har frikyrkans framtid debatterats i tidningen Dagen. Debatten startade med en ganska uppgiven och sorglig artikel av Sigfrid Deminger, där han överger det skepp han varit med om att styra under lång tid. Även om det finns mycket som är problematiskt med Demingers artikel, till både form och innehåll, så pekar den på något djupt problematiskt vad avser hur underhållningskulturen tenderar att tränga undan djup och allvar i gudstjänsten.

Med anledning av debatten gjorde TV4 Göteborg ett inslag med Deminger från Fiskebäcks Missionskyrka.

torsdag, februari 09, 2012

Otydligt vara vs. vara otydlig

"There is an old philosophers’ joke that the analytical philosopher always accuses the continental one of being insufficiently clear, while the continental philosopher accuses the analytical one of Being insufficiently."

via Ernst Blog

tisdag, februari 07, 2012

Kan religionen rädda politiken?

“… before we can begin to think about the normative or on-going relationship between religion and postsecular politics we need to re-create the possibility of a genuine politics. A key, if not the key catalyst for this is institutional religion. This is because religions, particularly those with formal institutional structures, are one of the few means of mobilizing people for common, public action; they present a contradiction to the attempt to over-come, move beyond or avid politics through either the market or management; they keep alive ultimate questions about what it means to be human and what the good life consists of in such a way as to re-open the need for political deliberation about what we value and why we value it; and finally, religions are the bearers of moral notions of the person and the good society and traditions of practice that enable resistance to process of commodification and instrumentalization. Religious groups thereby uphold the possibility of democratic citizenship which is itself premised on the idea that the state and the market have limits and that persons are not commodities but have infinite value."

Luke Bretherton. Religion and the Salvation of Urban Politics in Arie Molendijk, Justin Beaumont, and Christoph Jedan, Exploring the Postsecular: The Religious, the Political, and the Urban (Brill Academic Pub, 2010), 220.

måndag, februari 06, 2012

Taylor om religion och akademi

“I am not arguing some “post-modern” thesis that we are each imprisoned in our own outlook, and can do nothing to rationally convince each other. On the contrary, I think we can marshal arguments to induce others to modify their judgments and (what is closely connected) to widen their sympathies. But this task is very difficult, and what is more important, it is never complete. We don’t just decide once and for all when we enter sociology class to leave our “values” at the door. They don’t just enter as conscious premises which we can discount. They continue to shape our thought at a much deeper level, and it is only a continuing open exchange with those of different standpoints which will help us to correct some of the distortions they engender.

For this reason we have to be aware of the ways in which an “unthought” of secularization, as well as various modes of religious belief, can bedevil the debate. There is, indeed, a powerful such unthought operative: an outlook which holds that religion must decline either (a) because it is false, and science shows this to be so; or (b) because it is increasingly irrelevant now that we can cure ringworm by drenches; or (c) because religion is based on authority, and modern societies give an increasingly important place to individual autonomy; or some combination of the above. This is strong not so much because it is widely supported in the population at large—how widely seems to vary from society to society—but because it is very strong among intellectuals and academics, even in countries like the U.S.A. where general religious practice is very high. Indeed, the exclusion/irrelevance of religion is often part of the unnoticed background of social science, history, philosophy, psychology. In fact, even unbelieving sociologists of religion often remark how their colleagues in other parts of the discipline express surprise at the attention devoted to such a marginal phenomenon. In this kind of climate, distortive judgments unconsciously engendered out of this outlook can often thrive unchallenged.”

- Charles Taylor. A Secular Age, s. 428-429

Religionens nya synlighet i Fokus

"Attityderna i samhället och inom de religiösa grupperna är inne i en förändringsvåg. Och den största utmaningen verka ligga i hur vi ska leva med religion i ett samhälle som kanske inte var så sekulärt som vi trodde från början."
- Fokus om religionens nya synlighet 

lördag, februari 04, 2012

Ontologi für alle

Min gamla lärare Hans Boersma från Regent College har fått fina recensioner för sin senaste bok Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry. Hans projekt kretsar kring att bryta ner barriären mellan det naturliga och det övernaturliga, mellan jord och himmel, som är så central för det moderna projektet. Boersma går tillbaka till kyrkofäderna och nouvelle théologie-teologer som deLubac, Balthasar och Chenu för att finna resurser för en teologi där det övernaturliga genomsyrar det naturliga, vad Milbank skulle kalla en "participatory ontology".

The word “ontology” may put some people on edge. The expression places us, so it seems at least, in the area of abstract, metaphysical thought. Should Christians really concern themselves with ontology? Isn’t the danger of looking at the world through an ontological lens that we may lose sight of the particularities of the Christian faith: God’s creation of the world, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the particular ecclesia community, and Scripture itself? I understand these fears, and I appreciate the word of caution as an important one. Nonetheless, the objections do not make me abandon the search for an ontology that is compatible with the Christian faith…I believe that the Great Tradition of the church – most of the Christian ear until the late Middle Ages – did have an ontology. The call for a purely “biblical” theology seems to me terribly naïve. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we all work with a particular ontology; unfortunately, usually the ontology of those who plead for the abolition of ontology turns out to be the nominalist ontology of modernity (20).

Mixed bag

- William Cavanaugh skriver lysande om myten om "religionskrigen"och den sekulära staten som fredsmäklare: "the true historical oddity is not the 'politicization of Islam' but the 'religionization of Christianity'.

- James K.A. Smith ger en god introduktion till modernitetens och postmodernismens förhållande till religion: Beyond A/Theism: Postmodernity and the Future of God”. 

- Underhållande om lycka och produktivitet, där det "vetenskapliga" receptet påminner om de kristna dygderna.

- John Stackhouse skriver om varför Mitt Romneys mormonism är av intresse.

torsdag, februari 02, 2012

Angående historielösa analyser

"It is of course notoriously true that, with the exception of the likes of Wilfred Sellars, Richard Rorty and Bernard Williams, analytic philosophers are proud of their total ignorance of the history of ideas, or the history of anything else save things like playing cards and voting practices."
- ur John Milbanks Stanton lecture, pt1