True Fundamentalism

April 24, 2013 Leave a comment

Are, however, the terrorist fundamentalists, be they Christian or Muslim, r e a l l y fundamentalists in the authentic sense of t h e term? Do they really believe? What they lack is a feature that is easy to discern in all authentic fundamentalists, from Tibetan Buddhists to the Amish in the US: the absence of resentment and envy, deep indifference towards the non-believer’s way of life. If today’s so-called fundamentalists really believe that they have found their way to Truth, why should they feel threatened by non-believers, why should they envy them? When a Buddhist encounters a Western hedonist, he hardly condemns the latter. He just benevolently notes that the hedonist’s search for happiness is self-defeating. In contrast to true fundamentalists, terrorist pseudo-fundamentalists are deeply bothered, intrigued, fascinated, by the sinful life of non-believers. One senses that, in fighting the sinful other, they are fighting their own temptation. This is why the so-called Christian or Muslim fundamentalists are a disgrace to true fundamentalism.

– Slavoj Zizek, In Defense of Lost Causes, 332.

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Seeker Sensitive Christianity

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

In the reconsideration of itself and its possibilities imposed by the new situation, [Christianity] did not attain again to the weakness in which alone it can always be strong. Instead, it inwardly affirmed the new situation, as it had previously affirmed the old. That is to say, it accepted modern man with his energetic attitude to himself, asking how best Christianity could be commended to that man. It took up the role allotted to it, and was at pains to make itself indispensable in it, i.e.,  by pointing out and demonstrating that if there is a truth in the Christian religion which can profitably be heard and believed, especially in the modern age, it consists in this, that properly understood, the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and the way of life which corresponds to it, has the secret power of giving to man the inward capacity to seek and attain the aims and purposes which he has independently chosen.

Karl Barth, CD I.2, 336

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December 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Language is, at its most elementary, the medium of commitment.

Slavoj Zizek, (Foreword to the Second Edition of) For They Know Not What They Do, xii

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A New Kind of Community

December 21, 2012 2 comments

Jesus was not just a moralist whose teachings had some political implications; he was not primarily a teacher of spirituality whose public ministry unfortunately was seen in a political light; he was not just a sacrificial lamb preparing for his immolation, or a God-Man whose divine status calls us to disregard his humanity. Jesus was, in his divinely mandated (i.e. promised, anointed, messianic) prophethood, priesthood, and kingship, the bearer of a new possibility of human, social, and therefore political relationships. His baptism is the inauguration and his cross is the culmination of that new regime in which his disciples are called to share. Men may choose to consider that kingdom as not real, or not relevant, or not possible, or not inviting; but no longer may we come to this choice in the name of systematic theology or honest hermeneutics. At this one point there is no difference between the Jesus if Historie and the Christ of Geschichte, or between Christ as God and Jesus as Man, or between the religion of Jesus and the religion about Jesus (or between the Jesus of the canon and the Jesus of history). No such slicing can avoid his call to an ethic marked by the cross, a cross identified as the punishment of a man who threatens society by creating a new kind of community leading a radically new kind of life.

John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus, 62-63

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Man Is

December 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself. That is the first principle of existentialism.

Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Humanism, 28

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To Become a Christian

December 1, 2012 Leave a comment

You should never say “I believe in Christ because I was convinced by the arguments for it.” This is blasphemy. Who are you to judge it?You say “I read Bible, I read Talmud, I read Buddha, and okay, I have some doubts, but after thinking about it I was…” Every good theologist will tell you the opposite. It’s not that you become a Christian because you understood the reasons. No! In order to understand the reasons you already have to be a Christian.

Slavoj Zizek, The Irony of Buddhism

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The Power of Economic Elites

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

We can, therefore, interpret neoliberalization either as a utopian project to realize a theoretical design for the reorganization of international capitalism or as a political project to re-establish the conditions for capital accumulation and to restore the power of economic elites. In what follows I shall argue that the second of these objectives has in practice dominated. Neoliberalization has not been very effective in revitalizing global capital accumulation, but it has succeeded remarkably well in restoring, or in some instances (as in Russia and China) creating, the power of an economic elite. The theoretical utopianism of neoliberal argument has, I conclude, primarily worked as a system of justification and legitimation for whatever needed to be done to achieve this goal. The evidence suggests, moreover, that when neoliberal principles clash with the need to restore or sustain elite power, then the principles are either abandoned or become so twisted as to be unrecognizable.

David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, 19

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