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The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology

“A sustained and fascinating reflection on the place of religion in political discourse.” - New Statesman

The return to religion has perhaps become the dominant cliché of contemporary theory, which rarely offers anything more than an exaggerated echo of a political reality dominated by religious war. Somehow, the secular age seems to have been replaced by a new era, where political action flows directly from metaphysical conflict. The Faith of the Faithless asks how we might respond. Following Critchley’s Infinitely Demanding, this new book builds on its philosophical and political framework, also venturing into the questions of faith, love, religion and violence. Should we defend a version of secularism and quietly accept the slide into a form of theism—or is there another way?

Reviews

  • “[A] movingly optimistic work...'Everything to be true must become a religion,' Wilde says, and Critchley, poetically and persuasively, suggests ways in which this might be accomplished.”
  • “A sustained and fascinating reflection on the place of religion in political discourse.”
  • “A thoughtful, illuminating exploration…erudite and measured.”
  • “This version of a faithless faith that Simon is fleshing out in this book is a radical break in his own thinking ... in this new book Simon’s insights arrive in their most brilliant splendor: Unlike Derrida’s version of truth (and its political important) that keeps deferring and is always different, here the breakthrough happens precisely when we are able to confront our own toxic void and in the suffering of this confrontation we are able to connect with the immanent other in an act of love in the horizon of a broken embracement. Like Christ’s brokenness on the cross he opens up a way through suffering that does not cancel out the void and lack that grounds us, but unites us in the very brokenness itself.”
  • “[T]he book amply demonstrates Critchley's many strengths as a thinker and teacher. Where the book is exegetical, it is strikingly clear ... Even better, the book displays Critchley's skill as one of the very best close readers of philosophical texts we have...this fascinating and important book traces, as it were, a trajectory of his thought and is not an end in itself.”
  • The Faith of the Faithless provides a powerful vision of what our politics ought to look like.”
  • “A rich, audacious attempt to plumb the meaning of faith, the most sustained left-atheist engagement with Christian theology since Ernst Bloch … an exacting and indispensable reflection on the nature of political commitment.”

Blog

  • VIDEO: In Memoriam Philip Seymour Hoffman

    With the passing of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the world of cinema has lost a giant, an Oscar-winning actor who could basically fit in every role, from a maverick CIA agent to a Catholic priest, from Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman to Truman Capote.

    Just over a year ago philosopher Simon Critchley met with Philip Seymour Hoffman for the final in a series of on-stage conversations called Happy Talk. During a very lively discussion, the actor wrestles with the concepts of happiness, love, and death with the same courage and compelling insight that he brought to his roles. 

  • January 1st, 2019

    In a humorous piece of short fiction written for the blog Communists In Situ, Verso author Simon Critchley looks back from the future to provide a biting critique of our current state of affairs.
     
    In the post, dated January 1st, 2019, Critchley describes a dystopia in which the President has committed suicide, people either have sex in public or not at all, and the Russian search engine that overtook Google has instituted a "1:1 drone to person charity program."

    Critchley's dystopic brief embodies what he has proposed as the appropriate approach to art today: "the heart of any artistic response to the present should perhaps be the cultivation of the monstrous and its concomitant affect – disgust."

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  • Take Classes with Verso Authors at Free University Week

    Do you have the urge to attain higher education, but don’t want to borrow exorbitant sums of money and cripple your financial future to do it? Well, you’re in luck because it’s Free University Week! As part of Occupy Wall Street’s birthday week, from September 18th to the 21st the Free University is facilitating more than 140 classes and workshops in Madison Square Park on topics like the global financial crisis, activism, social justice, and climate change. 

    A few past and present Verso authors will be teaching classes as part of this initiative—details are below, or visit here for a complete schedule. 

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Other books by Simon Critchley