Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Thinking the Absolute: Speculation, Philosophy and the End of Religion
#the association for continental philosophy of religion
#end of metaphysics
#iain hamilton grant
I hadn’t thought that I’d be able to get to this year’s Association for Continental Philosophy of Religion conference (poster here), since a) it clashed with a conference in London at which I was already due to present on Poetry and Prayer, and b) it was pretty expensive (£195 reduced rate!) and I’m unemployed.
But I had to withdraw from the London conference anyway (because I’m unemployed and couldn’t afford to go to that either - I also withdrew from the Haunting Memories conference).
So the organisers of ACPR 2012 have asked me to attend as a ‘working delegate’, which is great!
Meillassoux identifies the ‘turn to religion’ in contemporary continental philosophy with a failure of thinking. The Kantian refusal to think the absolute leads to scepticism about reality in itself. Ironically, this lends itself to ‘fideism’, the decision to project religious meaning on to the unknowable beyond. According to Meillassoux, a philosophy obsessed with mystery becomes the accomplice of irrational faith. The solution is to find ways of once more thinking the absolute in its reality, severed from its dependence upon a knowing subject, or upon language and social norms. At the same time, new possibilities for thinking religion (exemplified by Meillassoux’s own Divine Inexistence) are emerging.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Atheism for Lent: Forsaken by God Service (Resources 5)
#atheism for lent
#the orthodox heretic
This parable, “Finding Faith,” from Peter Rollins’ The Orthodox Heretic would also make a good reading for a Forsaken by God service on either Good Friday or Holy Saturday.
There was once a preacher who possessed an unusual but powerful gift. Far from encouraging people’s religious beliefs, he found that from an early age, when he prayed for people, they would lose their religious beliefs, beliefs about the prophets, about the sacred Scriptures, even about God. Now he rarely prayed for others, instead limiting himself to sermons.
One day, however, whilst travelling across the country, he found himself in conversation with a businessman who happened to be going in the same direction. This businessman was very wealthy, having made his money in the world of international banking. The conversation had begun because the businessman possessed a deep faith and had noticed the preacher reading from the Bible. He introduced himself and they began to talk. As they chatted together, the rich man told the preacher all about his faith in God and his love of Christ. It turned out that although he worked hard in his work he was not really interested in worldly goods.
“The world of business is a cold one,” he confided to the preacher, “and in my line of work there are situations in which I find myself that challenge my Christian convictions. I try to remain true to my faith. Indeed, it is my faith that stops me from getting too caught up in that heartless world of work, reminding me that I am really a man of God.”
The preacher thought for a moment and then asked, “Can I pray for you?”
Thursday, March 1, 2012
The Contemporary Church is a Crack House (link) →
Pete Rollins on the role of the church as poet or singer-songwriter:
we need collectives that are more like the professional mourners who cry for us, the stand-up comedians who talk about the pain of being human or the poets singing about life at local pubs.
This post is another formulation of his thoughts in Chapter 4 of Insurrection: To Believe is Human; To Doubt, Divine (Howard Books, 2011), “I Don’t Have to Believe; My Pastor Does That For Me,” which I commented upon in my Church and Pomo post, “Becoming Church Mice: From Refusing to Lead to Refusing to Be Led.” I wondered whether Pete’s “fans” often let him disbelieve on their behalf, focusing on the next book, the next blog post, the next vimeo video, the next speaking engagement on pyro-theology rather than setting fires themselves - a danger that Pete himself recognizes (see his response to my post, “I Don’t Need to Doubt; Peter Does That For Me”).
Anyway, I’m going to be writing about this understanding of church as poets, singer-songwriters, mourners, and comedians in a paper for a conference on poetry and prayer, entitled “‘My God! My God Why Have You Forsaken Me?’ Poetry, Prayer and Performance in the Absence of God.” See the call for papers (here), my abstract (here), and these reflections, ”The Poet and The Critic: Transformation and Information.”
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Poetry, Prayer and Performance in the Absence of God
#john d. caputo
#community of believers
#death of god
I managed to get an abstract in on time for the Poetry and Prayer conference at the University of London (June 29-30 2012). Here it is:
Paper Title: ‘My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?’ Poetry, Prayer and Performance in the Absence of God
Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or
What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music…
Peter Rollins, Insurrection
[T]he church should be like the singer-songwriter we might listen to when we are working through a difficult situation…
This paper reflects on the function of prayer and liturgy, poetry and performance art, in the thought of Peter Rollins and the practice of emerging Christianity.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
"Prayer is not the private property of the failful but a common passion, indeed, the common lot of us all, for we are all praying and weeping for the coming of something, even if, especially if, we know not what."
#john d. caputo
John D. Caputo, The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2006), p.18.
I’ve been thinking about this quotation, about praying and weeping, hoping and sighing, in relation to the criticism that the Occupy Movement lacks concrete demands.