By Terry Eagleton
The best way to reside in a supposedly faithless international threatened via non secular fundamentalism? Terry Eagleton, bold philosopher and well known cultural critic, investigates during this thought-provoking publication the contradictions, problems, and value of the trendy look for a substitute for God. enticing with a phenomenally wide variety of principles, concerns, and thinkers from the Enlightenment to at the present time, Eagleton discusses the nation of faith earlier than and after Sep 11, the ironies surrounding Western capitalism’s half in spawning not just secularism but additionally fundamentalism, and the unsatisfactory surrogates for the Almighty invented within the post-Enlightenment era.
The writer displays at the specific capacities of faith, the chances of tradition and paintings as glossy paths to salvation, the so-called battle on terror’s influence on atheism, and a number of alternative themes of shock to those that envision a destiny within which simply and compassionate groups thrive. Lucid, trendy, and interesting in his ordinary demeanour, Eagleton provides an excellent survey of contemporary proposal that still serves as a well timed, urgently wanted intervention into our perilous political current.
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Extra info for Culture and the Death of God
Indd 44 19/12/13 7:38 PM Idealists nineteenth-century Religion of Humanity, a school of thought we shall be glancing at later. In Badiou’s judgement, it is hermeneutics, with its passion for sense-making, which has tried to fill the shoes of divinity, since religion in his view is essentially a desire to invest reality with a degree of meaning. The modern age, then, has been heedless of the warning not to make graven images of the godhead. None of the divine deputies it has come up with, needless to say, is reducible to that role.
His Holy Trinity was said to consist of Pope, King and Hangman. indd 25 19/12/13 7:38 PM Culture and the Death of God absolute sovereignty, the public executioner played no mean role in his political imagination. He even had a sneaking admiration for the Jacobins’ guillotine, believing as he did that all power was divine. 61 Perhaps society had need of a civic religion, though Gibbon thought that Islam might fill the bill more effectively than Christianity. ’62 The more radical of the philosophes, by contrast, insisted on a complete divorce of religion and morality, maintaining that an atheistic society might prove more morally admirable than a Christian one.
It is not hard, for example, to see Spirit as a surrogate for God, and this in a fairly exact sense. Spirit, or freedom, is the foundation of the world, but it cannot be reckoned up within it or captured in a graven image; and although it lies at the source of the self, it is also infinitely transcendent of it. For a range of thinkers from Herder to Hölderlin, rationalism is in danger of bleaching the world of inherent value. The problem is how to restore that value without excessive recourse to the very religious notions that rationalism itself is busily undermining.