19 December 2006

Differends

As I mentioned last night, a heated discussion has been going on regarding religion over at I Cite, here, and now the Weblog. In one of the most recent exchanges over at weblog, Adam Kotsko writes:
Regardless of your token gestures toward the little pieces of Christianity that you think are good, you have always shown yourself to be a knee-jerk secularist. Don't you remember that one of the first things you ever said to me was "since God is dead, shouldn't we avoid theological discourse"? You have a right to your opinion; I have a right to think your opinion is so oversimplified as to be fucking stupid
Admittedly this was a pretty inflamatory thing to say. I only have vague recollections, but if memory serves me correctly the discussion in which I said this was similar to the current discussion, where some rightwing fundamentalist action was being discussed and suddenly the discussion shifted to religion being under assault and the importance of religion for certain political movements as in the case of Martin Luther King. As in this discussion, claims were made about all the blood secularists have on their hands, and it seemed implicitly suggested that religion is the only thing capable of protecting us from these horrors.

What interests me in Kotsko's remarks above is his phrase "knee-jerk secularist". Kotsko is right, I am secularist in temperament. I believe that the world should be explained through natural causes, and also believe that moral and political deliberations should be undertaken without referring to revealed or sacred texts as a ground of moral claims. I take that this is in part what it means to adopt the principle of immanence-- To think immanently is to refuse any transcendent standards or considerations that would be "out-of-field". I believe this is desirable as immanence is something that can collectively be shared, whereas the other who I would like to persuade cannot necessarily share revelation. But this is all a side-issue. What interests me in Kotsko's expression "knee-jerk secularist" is how it resonates with something else he recently said here on Larval Subjects. Here Kotsko wrote:
I unequivocally reject and denounce the contemporary American religious right. Maybe we could be allies! In fact, I know a lot of people who could be allies with you against the religious right -- the president of my seminary, for example, who very regularly appears in the press propagandizing against them.

Oh, except that you gratuitously insult people like me because of your (completely false and unfounded) position that we're somehow apologists for the religious right due to our refusal to make the (obviously empirically false) claim that the religious right just is religion tout court.

If you need to vent, that's okay. Venting is cool. But your doctrinaire atheism is blinding you to necessary distinctions and to potential allies.
I'm not sure where Kotsko gets the idea that I believe he's an apologist for the religious right, as I've never said such a thing. I do feel that some of the writers for Weblog sometimes behave like thugs and bullies, as they seem to swoop down on any discussion involving religion and shut those concerned with this or that issue down by claiming those involved don't know what religion is or that it can't be defined. That is, I don't know why these acrimonious discussions occur whenever some action of the religious right is being discussed. There seems to be an apparent identification here. The discussion over at I Cite has now gone on now for some 58 posts and perhaps what is most remarkable about this discussion is not what it discusses, but what it omits. That is, in these 58 posts there has hardly been any discussion of what Newt Gingrich has proposed and everything has revolved around whether or not religion has been mischaracterized.

This is what I was referring to in my original post when I mentioned my frustration with the religious studies crowd. While Kotsko and Anthony Paul Smith might not intentionally align themselves with the fundamentalist religious right, they nonetheless functionally promote the aims of the religious right by diverting discussion away from these things. In the case of Anthony Paul Smith this diversion takes the form of dismissing the reality of these social movements. Describing the predominance of fundamentalist discourse in the United States, I had written that, "It just so happens that a particular flavor happens to be particularly dominant in the United States." To which Anthony responded, "In the popular imaginiation, yes, but I think that it is effectively over in reality." That is, Anthony refuses to even acknowledge the reality of things such as Gingrich or what I described in the original post on religion, instead arguing that they aren't worth thinking about or that they don't exist. He would prefer, for whatever reason, to change the subject.

Kotsko is far more sophisticated in his argumentation and a lot less reactive. With Kotsko you either get a discussion of the vital role that religion has played in some progressive movements (about which he's right), or about the horrors perpetrated by secular movements (here he's a bit dishonest, I think, in his argumentation as he seems to want to claim that secularism ineluctably leads to this bloodshed), or about knee-jerk secularists such as the above. Nonetheless, despite Kotsko's occasional name-calling, he is nonetheless to be commended for both firmly denouncing rightwing Christian fundamentalism and for not dismissing it as something that is real and out there.

What perplexes me about Kotsko's denunciation of "knee-jerk secularism" is how it is possible to square this with what he says about forming alliances. Kotsko writes, "But your doctrinaire atheism is blinding you to necessary distinctions and to potential allies." What I wonder is under what conditions it is possible for Kotsko to be an ally with me. If I am a secularist, then I'm committed to the immanence thesis that would explain the world in its own terms and make no appeals to the divine or the supernatural. I am also committed to producing arguments and critiques that advance such a line of thought and which seek to persuade others. Kotsko's rejection of me as a "knee-jerk secularist" sounds a bit like rejecting a duck for being a duck or doing what ducks do. Kotsko has said that he has no problem with people being atheists. As he writes over at I Cite, "Go ahead and be an atheist all you want. I don't mind. I personally don't practice any particular religion right now and have no concrete plans to restart."

But is Kotsko really being honest here? When the two passages are read above side by side, Kotsko's conception of an alliance seems to be something like the following: 1) I will be allied with you if you never discuss religion or criticize anything religious, and 2) if you allow me to speak about religious issues without any dissent or disagreement. In short, even if Kotsko agrees with others in political or ethical matters, he is only willing to form alliances on the condition that the other person be a believer like himself or never speak of religious issues. Consequently, the secularist is expected to be tolerant and silent with respect to the believer's appeal to non-worldly principles of explanation and ethical deliberation, yet the believer is given free reign to criticize and reject the views of the secularist. Isn't this really the crux of the matter and the whole problem? And isn't the rhetoric that's unfolded in these exchanges carefully crafted to shut the secularist up and back them into a corner, forcing them to make claims that they staunchly oppose. Is there any real or genuine possibility of alliances here?

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20 Comments:

Anonymous glen said...

"Describing the predominance of fundamentalist discourse in the United States, I had written that, "It just so happens that a particular flavor happens to be particularly dominant in the United States." To which Anthony responded, "In the popular imaginiation, yes, but I think that it is effectively over in reality." That is, Anthony refuses to even acknowledge the reality of things such as Gingrich or what I described in the original post on religion, instead arguing that they aren't worth thinking about or that they don't exist."

I'm not much of a sociologist, but wouldn't this be the time to wheel out some statistics on the different churches and their respective attendence figures? Admittedly, raw numbers would not necessarily reflect the power (destructive/progressive) exerted by the different religio-political strains.

December 19, 2006 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Levi,

Of course there's no way of engaging in an "enlightenment" discourse with believers. It is a frontal clash of paradigms with the believers' territorialization of the field of debate.

And isn't the rhetoric that's unfolded in these exchanges carefully crafted to shut the secularist up and back them into a corner, forcing them to make claims that they staunchly oppose. Is there any real or genuine possibility of alliances here?

You're right. And there is no possibility of alliances.

Kotsko's remarks about you as the "knee-jerk secularist" reminds me of Nietzsche's description of (you?) and himself,

I do not by any means know atheism as a result; even less as an event: it is a matter of course with me, from instinct. I am too inquisitive, too curious, too exuberant to stand for any gross answer.

God is a gross answer, an indelicacy against us thinkers — at bottom merely a gross prohibition for us: Thou shall not think!


(Ecce Homo, 1888)

The whole victimization spiel by the Christian right is so transparent and blatant that at best it is pathetic, at worst sadistic.

Levi, you know all this, and still you can't resist.

Do.

All the best,

Orla Schantz

December 19, 2006 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Jodi said...

Glen, I'm not sure church attendance is the best measure.

One could also ask if people self-identify as Christian and what kind (evangelical, fundamentalist, etc).

One could ask about the financial holdings, extent and range of media (television and radio stations, publishing houses), appearances in mainstream media, invitations to the White House, books on best seller list, number of times mentioned in presidential speeches, number of times invoked on Fox News, percentage of shelf space at WalMart, number of elected politicians appearing at religious conventions, etc.

One could also ask about intensity of involvement in politics (vote, give money to campaign, make phone calls, go door to door, distribute information, etc).

A recent pew poll says that 60% of evangelicals think that the Bible should have more influence on the constitution than the 'will of the people.'

http://pewforum.org/docs/index.php?DocID=153

December 19, 2006 5:02 PM  
Anonymous pebird said...

Jodi:

You have to admit that if 40% of evangelicals do NOT think that the Bible should have more influence on the constitution than the 'will of the people.', there is some hope.

I do think that the right over-inflates church attendance figures - if it was anywhere near what they say, you couldn't get on the freeway on Sundays.

But I don't want to underestimate their influence - it is beyond their numbers (must be divine intervention).

December 19, 2006 6:11 PM  
Anonymous Jodi said...

Pe Bird--fair point. I should keep it in mind with debates with the Weblog crew: 60% of evangelicals are the problem, not all evangelicals or evangelicalism per se. I will need to get figures then for fundamentalists, too.

December 19, 2006 6:19 PM  
Blogger Anthony Paul Smith said...

"The discussion over at I Cite has now gone on now for some 58 posts and perhaps what is most remarkable about this discussion is not what it discusses, but what it omits. That is, in these 58 posts there has hardly been any discussion of what Newt Gingrich has proposed and everything has revolved around whether or not religion has been mischaracterized."

The NYTimes piece hardly gives enough information to start a whole disucssion of 'what Newt Gingrich' proposed with regard to religion. Some vague statement about recentering America on God and appointing judges who respect the role of God in history. That's it. If you've read anything of mine on political issues ever you would realize that those things seem obviously stupid and merely rhetorical to me. Newt Gingrich isn't even a real threat. He preaches to his choir just like you preach to yours. As a Southern Baptist he has his own private shames (divorced twice, very public affairs, etc.) that put him on the outside of that community. If anything was omitted, it's becaue it's obvious - Newt Gingrich is batshit insane and is using religious rhetoric to try and galvanize conservative voters. Big fucking deal. I don't feel any kind of moral imperative to denounce every stupid thing said by every stupid person in this world. If Jodi wanted to whine about some marginal figure, and talk to conservatives that what Gingrich is now, that is completely fine. If you want to pretend that it comes down to religion and that you have some thick theory of immanentism behind your views, that's fine too. It seems to me you are fooling yourself if you think that you're just looking at the facts, since you don't have any kind of empirical data on the religious right and their support or non-support of Gingrich, but that's your prerogative. Jesus Christ! Do I really have to add a pre-comment paragraph denouncing the religious right every time I post? I'm willing to guess that I've done more in reality than you have to try and change conservative Christians minds. Bitching about them and going on about the constitution doesn't usually do much in that way.

My point about the "particular flavor" of Christian that you think is dominant (and what by that do you mean?) was simply that evangelicals have shown they are tired of not getting what they want. They thought this government would outlaw abortion, create a marriage amendment, institute all sorts of faith based programs. On each count they haven't. Outlawing abortion is not going to happen, as the recent events in North Dakota remind us. The marriage amendment seems to be dead in the water, despite moderate Democratic support for it. Faith based programs have actually made many churches nervous as they are being made to comply with certain amounts of government 'meddling' concerning equality. I have never denied that there are issues here, NEVER. I am just saying that spending this much god damn time on it is a waste of time. You have a problem with only one abortion clinc being open in Alabama? Well, the law supports you. Get off your ass and open one. Hire security. Create a whole infrastructure for it. People use the religious right as a boogeymen, a new internal threat that keeps all us intellectuals from getting what we want. The fact is evangelicals, the everyday kind, are fucking human beings with complicated lives whose political leanings are sometimes very confused. I'm willing to bet that you'll find more evangelical teenagers who know and are bothered about Darfur five years ago than other groups. And then you'll get them saying something insane about homosexuals. It's not rational. My own in-law's are all evangelicals, in the last elections they voted for Bush, Nader, and Kerry. The latest gubernatorial one, they voted for the Green candidate for governor. They are working class, small towners, with little to no interaction with minorities. Yes, they can be galvanized by way of religion, so I'm guessing they'll vote for Barack Obama next time around. Seems to have taken over the religious rhetoric from the right.

Yes, Adam is far more sophisticated than me. I think he is far more intelligent than you as well and a more gracious reader. You read as if you were a sledgehammer. I'm sure you'll come back with some self-affirming Nietzsche quote. That's fine, you can always be right.

"I should keep it in mind with debates with the Weblog crew: 60% of evangelicals are the problem, not all evangelicals or evangelicalism per se. I will need to get figures then for fundamentalists, too."

Jodi,

What are the differences between evangelicals and fundamentalists?

December 20, 2006 3:37 AM  
Anonymous Dr X said...

I believe that fundamentalists are considered by many to be a subset of the evangelicals, although I’m sure some people will disagree on this. Fundamentalists believe in literalism and absolute inerrancy of the bible, while evangelicals believe more broadly in the bible as the word of God – leaving room for a degree of interpretative activity. Fundamentalists also tend to be preoccupied with the details of the ‘end times.’

What I understand is that Evangelical beliefs are essentially consistent with main line Calvinists in matters of doctrine – e.g., justification by faith alone -- but the emphases vary on particular aspects of doctrine. Evangelicals are big on the ‘great commission,’ which is the biblical instruction to spread the teachings of Christ, thus many consider the responsibility to evangelize as essential to their faith. They tend to be bigger on the notion of the return of Christ than most mainline Protestants and Catholics, but my impression is that they aren’t quite as preoccupied as fundamentalists are with the details.

At the level of practice and culture, fundamentalists more often seem to veer toward the openly hate-filled rhetoric, although there doesn’t seem to be any theological basis for that particular tilt. I suspect that ‘literalism,’ itself, might be associated with paranoid defense against uncertainty – thus the tendency to externalize and attack ‘evil.’ Accordingly, fundamentalists seem far more inclined to selectively cite Leviticus than they are to refer to the beatitudes which are supposedly the words of Christ himself. The former offer more convenient opportunity to condemn, the latter stress the blessedness of the suffering and oppressed.

Evangelicals vary from the paranoid position a good deal more (in my experience), with some emphasizing condemnation of specific sin, but many (perhaps most) taking the position that sin is sin, all people sin, and that they should not get into condemning anyone, but instead should be bringing people to faith. They stress faith and grace as the means to overcome endemic human alienation from God. In practice, most still seem to freak about abortion and gay marriage, but you are still more likely to find an evangelical who believes in ‘equal rights’ for homosexuals in matters of employment, than you would be to find a fundamentalist who would endorse any notion of rights for gays and lesbians.

December 20, 2006 5:56 AM  
Blogger Adam S. said...

Levi,

I wonder if the problem here doesn't especially have to do with the peculiar kind of immanence proper to a genuinely common truth.

To frame this in a way that draws on Badiou: immanence is not enough in order for something genuinely political to take place. The public sphere of immanence is the sphere of particular interests in which everyone (secularists and fundamentalists both) are more or less shut up and closed off in their own identitarian politics by the pursuit of their own advantages.

The genuinely common takes place only in relation to an event. Now, I agree with Badiou that this event does itself need to be conceived as immanent, but it is immanent in a different way than normal discourse: it is both more and less public. The political truth of an event will be open to everyone in a way that identitarian political statements are not, but the political truth of an event will also be something that is only available to those who have committed themselves to the shift in perspective that the event requires.

In this way, the political truth of an event is immanent, but really it is (to make up an awkward phrase) hyper-immanent. This hyper-immanence is what makes the truth potentially common and generic, but it is also what makes it invisible from the everyday situation's own perspective.

It is at this point, I think, that the question/problem of religion becomes especially pertinent.

It is possible to argue that religion remains crucially relevant to contemporary politics if one reads it as an act of fidelity to the hyper-immanence of an event that exceeds the everday interested immanence of a situation. In this respect, religion may be a bulwark against the reduction of the world to the immanent play of capital. (Though religious people may - at least potentially - misunderstand their own commitment to a hyper-immanent event as fidelity to something transcendent?)

However, from the opposite perspective, it is possible to read religion as simply an obscure appeal to something transcendent that thereby forsakes the possibility of something immanently common. The secularist would here be the one defending the possibility of a genuinely evental truth by battling against the identitarianism of religious obscurantism.

The primary questions seems to me to be this: if the hyper-immanence of an event is not intelligible from within a situation's own immanence, how do we go about deciding if the other perspective is genuine fidelity or trascendent obscurantism?

Or, to put the question the other way around, how would we gather together religious fidelity to HYPER-immanence with secular fidelity to hyper-IMMANENCE? How do we see if we are both on the same side and, if so, how do we get together?

Such an alliance is possible, but it's not possible in the space of everyday immanence. It seems to me that it's only possible in the hyper-immanent space of an event in which BOTH sides have divested themselves of their identities in order to participate anonymously in the extension of a truth.

My best,
Adam

December 20, 2006 7:32 AM  
Anonymous pebird said...

"What are the differences between evangelicals and fundamentalists?"

It's a trap, don't answer, he's a theology student, he must know, let's wait, maybe he'll enlighten us (hit F5, hit F5) ...

December 20, 2006 8:46 AM  
Blogger Adam Kotsko said...

I neither believe that secularism leads ineluctably to violence nor that religion is likely to stop "secular" violence. I find the worries about "religious violence" to be overblown and one-sided -- why would I just flip it upside down? I do not take responsibility for your dichotomies.

In such terminology as "doctrinaire atheist" or "knee-jerk secularist," the emphasis is on the adjective.

It seems to fall outside the realm of your conceptual competence to understand that I'm not an apologist for religion. And of course, the swipe about me being "effectively" an apologist for the religious right was absurd.

December 20, 2006 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If I am a secularist, then I'm committed to the immanence thesis that would explain the world in its own terms and make no appeals to the divine or the supernatural."

Agreed that this would follow. Two questions that follow, from this, for me (this is not a bait, i'm just seeking to clarify for myself your position): 1. if one is committed to the immanence thesis, does that commit one to being a secularist? 2. Certainly immanence requires rejection of a transcendent being, etc., but does it require rejection of a category of religion?

discard

December 20, 2006 10:58 AM  
Blogger Adam Roberts said...

Adam K. "In such terminology as "doctrinaire atheist" or "knee-jerk secularist," the emphasis is on the adjective."

Atheist is an adjective though. It's a distortion to talk as though it's anything else. It's a common enough usage, I know, but that doesn't stop it being an attempt to reify 'the atheist', a person wholly defined by and expressive of opposition to religion. A strawperson, in other words.

This is another form of the point, which has come up a few times in these various threads, that 'atheism', though wishing to define itself as independent of God, is inevitably already defined in reference to God, and is therefore a sort of subset of religious belief. You can see why the logic appeals; ditto Adam K.'s (much smarter) point about 'secularism is a religion' being a tool of the right to give them the purchase to oppose secular courts, schools etc.

To say 'atheism is something always already grounded in theism' is to work with the presupposition that God is the ground, and the other quantity is always thrown into relief by that ground. But the opposite argument has exactly as much legitimacy: the oppsite argument being that godlessness in the ground --let's say, the whole empty, rainy stony Earth into which early man came into consciousness -- and religion, prophylactic against angsty nihilism and despair, is always thrown into relief against that ground. That atheism, in other words, is prior. So, not that secularism is a religion, but religion is another kind of seculairsm, that theism is another kind of atheism.

That's not to say that there's a way of deciding which of these, ying, yang, is the right way of looking at things, of course.

December 20, 2006 11:36 AM  
Blogger Adam Kotsko said...

I will note that at no point in these debates have I espoused a position on the existence of God or on the possibility of supernatural intervention in the world. In fact I do not think that most "believers" would accept me as one of their numbers, nor do I have any interest in claiming that label.

My concern has always been to critique a particular rhetorical style, which I characterize as that of the "doctrinaire atheist" or "knee-jerk secularist" or whatever. I have no interest whatsoever in the intellectual basis for a person's atheism, etc. There are certain ways of entering into these debates that are, in my opinion, stupid and irresponsible. Sinthome has often but not always intervened in those ways. Richard Dawkins almost without exception does so. Adam Roberts, less often.

December 20, 2006 1:04 PM  
Blogger Sinthome said...

I suspect that Dawkin's aim is not to persuade the religious but to rally what he considers to be his troops, draw those who are already on the fence, and speak to those of perhaps a younger generation. The rhetorical strategy would be analogous to what we find in politics, where the aim isn't to persuade the opposition, but is instead staged *for the onlookers*, both the evoke a certain response from the opposition that works to groups advantage and to win those onlookers to one's side. Dawkin's seems to be employing this strategy pretty successfully.

Strangely your remarks about "doctrinaire atheism" and "knee-jerk secularism" seem to emerge whenever any criticism of religion emerges at all, which is a pretty effective rhetorical strategy of your own depending on the context of who's looking on.

December 20, 2006 1:34 PM  
Anonymous N. Pepperell said...

I just wanted to pick up on these points from anonymous (since I seem to be determined to intervene in this as an epistemological, rather than as a political, debate... ;-P):

Two questions that follow, from this, for me (this is not a bait, i'm just seeking to clarify for myself your position): 1. if one is committed to the immanence thesis, does that commit one to being a secularist? 2. Certainly immanence requires rejection of a transcendent being, etc., but does it require rejection of a category of religion?

I would suggest that these questions can become very awkward if someone tries to start with the ontological assertion of immanence - if they assert immanence as their ontological stance. (This kind of assertion is also what can put one on the conceptual terrain where one can get accused of asserting immanence as a kind of theological position...) Once you begin with a strong and, in a sense, a priori ontological stance, this might suggest that questions about secularism, god, etc., are predetermined from the outset.

If, however, we approach the question from a different direction, some of these issues can be approached more agnostically. If immanence is, however, a conclusion we draw when we reflect on certain dimensions of our experience, then we're more in the position, as expressed in Sinthome's post back on 29 May:

As Laplace responded to Napoleon when asked about the role of God in the new physics, "Je n'ai pas besoin de cette hypothèse". "I have no need of this hypothesis."

In other words, we may find that we aren't in need of the hypothesis that there would be a god, in order to explain the phenomena we are seeking to explain. This doesn't specifically compel us into any position one way or another about whether a god could exist (although it may have implications for claims we could accept about how a god intervenes in this world - it may displace, as has already occurred in theological shifts expressed in a number of traditions, the "involvement" of the divine in everyday life into questions about meaning, rather than questions about, e.g., interventionary causation...). It therefore doesn't necessarily compel us into secularism, in the sense of requiring a secularist belief system from anyone who accepts a thesis of immanence as an explanatory framework for how humans and their contexts are mutually embedded...

The observation of immanence does, I think, provide a basis for making judgments about certain kinds of religious claims - as it does for making judgments about certain kinds of ethical or theoretical claims. This could be useful, however, if we'd like some conceptual tools for making moral distinctions among religious movements...

I should note that I'm trying to think through logical implications here - I happen personally to be a secularist, just one who has never personally been terribly troubled by other people's claims to have experiences of a relationship with the divine. As Sinthome has expressed in other contexts, my reaction to these sorts of claims is, essentially, on what basis could I judge them? On any given day, I have any number of experiences and engage in any number of relationships whose existence I couldn't "prove" to anyone else, but that are nevertheless quintessentially meaningful to me...

This becomes problematic only when I try to appeal to these kinds of personal experiences in order to compel behaviours from those who don't share the same experiential base - who would have no rational reason to agree...

To me, the observation of immanence relates to the attempt to tease out the sorts of experiences that we have - quite inadvertantly, in my opinion - caused to be distributed quite widely across the world. Without meaning to, we have created the conditions of possibility to be united in some specific respects - while being quite diverse and divergent in others... But I'm probably being too loose with my concepts, tossing these ideas out in this form...

December 20, 2006 2:05 PM  
Blogger Adam Kotsko said...

I think it's hard for Americans to be secularists in anything but a knee-jerk way. (Similarly with atheism in anything but a doctrinaire way.) That Nietzsche quote does give something to aspire toward in terms of atheism -- I'm not sure it really describes Nietzsche himself, even.

For Europeans, that kind of attitude toward the question of God -- that it isn't even an issue -- is much more possible. Christianity is just such a non-issue over there. For us, it's hard not to want to say: "I don't believe in God -- and fuck you reactionary motherfuckers!"

So it could just be that I run in circles that tend to be heavily trafficked by highly educated secularist Americans, meaning that the knee-jerkism is much more prevelant simply because our public sphere is populated by so many religious douchebags (and worse). But be that as it may, perhaps an attempt to calm the fuck down would be in order sometimes. Or you could just cast personal aspersions on me.

December 20, 2006 2:23 PM  
Blogger Sinthome said...

I believe I've been remarkably calm throughout this entire discussion, especially given some of the more colorful and ill-tempered language directed my way.

I think your analysis of Europe is correct, though I don't believe it was always so. One might, for instance, read Voltaire or Hume on these issues, or even Spinoza's Theologico-Politico Treatise. I wonder how Europe came the predominantly secular site it is today? I wonder if there were progressive theology students telling the primary movers and shakers of this transformation to calm down and that they are riduculous to believe religion could ever be taken out of politics or governance given that so many people are attached to it?

December 20, 2006 3:26 PM  
Blogger Adam Kotsko said...

The funny thing is how many European countries have established churches. I have often advocated that as a way of killing religion in the US.

And yes, I am familiar with the history of the Enlightenment.

December 20, 2006 3:46 PM  
Anonymous glen said...

jodi,

I agree 100%. I tried to signal my ignorance of the actual power structures. The dominance of a discourse versus the dominance of material infrastructures and bodies in motion is important.

The 60% figure is interesting though.

December 26, 2006 3:41 PM  
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December 29, 2008 11:56 PM  

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