Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Alain Badiou and the truth of the Christian legacy

“In terms of recent theory, … the insistence on the superiority of Christianity (a very Hegelian claim) is peculiar to Badiou and Slavoj Žižek. Such a position clearly flies in the face of liberal pluralism; either you accept the truth that can be extracted from the Christian legacy, or you are wrong…. The doyens of difference start to hear alarm bells at this point. In my view Badiou’s defense of this argument is unassailable: what is at stake in reclaiming the truth of the Christian legacy is the very status of the universal itself; it is not a question of asserting the superiority of a closed coterie of true believers, for the Christian claim is precisely what challenges the closed community.”
—Liam A. O’Donnell, “St. Paul: Apostle, Militant, Communist,” Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 2:1-2 (2006), p. 347.

“The fundamental question is that of knowing precisely what it means for there to be a single God…. Here Paul confronts – but also renews the terms of – the formidable question of the One. His genuinely revolutionary conviction is that the sign of the One is the ‘for all’, or the ‘without exception’. That there is but a single God must be understood not as a philosophical speculation concerning substance or the supreme being, but on the basis of a structure of address. The One is that which inscribes no difference in the subjects to which it addresses itself. The One is only insofar as it is for all…. Monotheism can be understood only by taking into consideration the whole of humanity. Unless addressed to all, the One crumbles and disappears.”
—Alain Badiou, Saint Paul (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), p. 76.

4 Comments:

IndieFaith said...

"We who are summoned by the void, we who intervene so as to decide the undecidible, we who are sustained by the indiscernible truth, we who are finite fragments of that infinity which will come to establish that there is nothing more true than the indifferent and the generic, we who dwell in the vicinity of that indistinction in which all reality dissolves, we, throws of the dice for a nameless star — we are greater than the sacred, we are greater than all gods, and we are so here and now, already and forever."

Alain Badiou, Une Soirée philosophique

This was quoted in the comment section here. I suspect that many of us exploring people like Badiou have not gone on to tackle his views of immanence and how it relates to contemporary Christian theology (well at least I haven't).

I would be curious to hear any thoughts on the matter.

Anonymous said...

Why then, at least as far as I know, is Badiou not a Christian?

Anonymous said...

Badiou is like the rest of us an ego struggling to make sense of the inherent chaos of existence and his fear of death.

All the god and gods of man are, whether male or female in their descriptive gender, merely the personal and collective tribal, and entirely dualistic, or conventionally subject-object-bound, myths of the human ego-mind.

I would say that Badiou's "one" god is just a monumental extension/projection of himself, the only one (his ego)that he really knows anything about.
And by extension the western ego altogether.

IndieFaith said...

"We who are summoned by the void, we who intervene so as to decide the undecidible, we who are sustained by the indiscernible truth, we who are finite fragments of that infinity which will come to establish that there is nothing more true than the indifferent and the generic, we who dwell in the vicinity of that indistinction in which all reality dissolves, we, throws of the dice for a nameless star — we are greater than the sacred, we are greater than all gods, and we are so here and now, already and forever."

Alain Badiou, Une Soirée philosophique

This was quoted in the comment section here. I suspect that many of us exploring people like Badiou have not gone on to tackle his views of immanence and how it relates to contemporary Christian theology (well at least I haven't).

I would be curious to hear any thoughts on the matter.

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