The Faith of the Faithless

The Faith of the Faithless:Experiments in Political Theology

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Investigation into the dangerous interdependence of politics and religion

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 Somehow, the secular age seems to have been replaced by a new era, where political action flows directly from metaphysical conflict.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?
From Rousseau’s politics and religion to the return to St. Paul in Taubes, Agamben and Badiou, via explorations of politics and original sin in the work of Schmitt and John Gray, Critchley examines whether there can be a faith of the faithless, a belief for unbelievers. Expanding on his debate with Slavoj Žižek, Critchley concludes with a meditation on the question of violence, and the limits of non-violence.


  • [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.

    Stuart KellyThe Guardian
  • A a sustained and fascinating reflection on the place of religion in political discourse.

    Giles FraserNew Statesman
  • A thoughtful, illuminating exploration ... erudite and measured.

    Publisher's Weekly