File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 58

Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 10:48:30 +0100
Subject: Re: Tantalizing times - arguing for atheism....


It is not clear why more has not been written about religion - I assume it is
because they occupy what are essentially secular, non-religious or even
anti-religious positions, which places religion in the same area of intellectual
work as mythology. There are however notable exceptions, except I would hesitate
to place them in the category of postmodern philosophers, Emmanual Levianas for
example. I've also seen somewhere a US published series on postmodern
religions...Personally my favorite piece is probably Jean-Luc Nancy's 'Of Divine
Places' in the Inoperative Community - in a typically post-neitschean,
post-heideggerian piece of writing he bids a found farewell to all gods. It does
not read as a piece full of regrets that they don't actually exist, rather it is
piece that, like Freud leaves me wondering why we keep resurrecting some god or

> by postmodern philosophers?  Admittedly, most of my reading in postmodernism
> is from secondary sources but I don't recall having read any specific
> criticisms of religion anywhere. Granted that Lyotard's identification of the
> postmodern incredulity toward metanarratives in the PC implies that god is
> dead but have any contemporary PM philosophers elaborated on the demise of
> religion?

There are increasing attempts to create a postmodern theology from the
radical-liberal elements of churches, but it seems frankly ludicrous to imagine
that Deleuze (for example) can be used to create a new theological position.

> I have sometimes wondered how Lyotard justified his position that societies
> are moving away from totalizing concepts given the popularity of
> fundamentalism and the fact that a very high percentage of people in the West
> declare themselves Christians at least in surveys. Even if there are as you
> say, a proliferation of micro discourses wouldn't they still be based on
> universalizing principles?

My own take on this is that all the micro-discourses, religions in this case, all
imagine that they are founded on some universal truth. In theories of difference
all positions, discourses and beliefs appear to be morally equivilant. The
reality is slightly different for whilst human theories may appear equivilant, in
the sense that they all claim to represent 'the truth', the reality is that as
there is no evidence to support the discourses they are founded on 'faith', a
form of weak knowledge.

People declare themselves to be christians in the west - is this a form of
Pascal's wager carried out by an increasingly secular society?




Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005