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The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology
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The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  143 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
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 Somehow, the secular age seems to have been replaced by a new era, where political action flows directly from metaphysical conflict.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 r ...more
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Verso (first published January 1st 2012)
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This study of religion and politics starts, of all places, with Oscar Wilde's De Profundis. Starting from the depths of despair, Critchley investigates how the Political Left can return to use the concepts of religion after the Death of God, and how to contrast the precepts of faith with relativistic nihilism. Critchley echoes Carl Schmitt in that he calls for a return to theological framing, and not the usual means of drawing attention to injustice (or as some would deride it, liberal guilt).

Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory
The infinite ethical demand allows us to become the subjects of which we are capable of being by dividing us from ourselves, by forcing us to lie in accordance with an asymmetrical and unfulfilable demand – say the demand to be Christ-like – whilst knowing that we are all too human.

Likely the best philosophical primer I’ve encountered in a while. Someone noted (here on GR?) that Žižek is more of an associative thinker, rather than a representative one. One likely won't this author guilty of said
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
A solid 3.5 stars that I'll round up because Critchley is more or less on the team.

I don't completely agree with the conclusion of a turning to love as a concept that can help us out of the mess, but I think there is lots of insight that can be gained from his hermeneutics and reflection on continental philosophers. There's a little bit of an over-reliance on "classic"/pre-1940s anarchist thinkers (Bakunin mostly), but they're still sort of represented faithfully. Actually, the most enjoyable pa
Taymaz Azimi
I actually enjoyed this book; I usually cannot get the point of radical philosophical writings, but this book clarified many different points for me. Now I can easily say that I know how anarchism can make sense (It still doesn't, it has the potentiality of making sense though!). The first two chapters (on Rouseau and Schmitt) are fantastic but then it gets too messy to understand. Although it took a long time for me to finish this book, I still think it was worth reading.
Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seriously, a good load of excellent work has been placed into this one. I've almost turned out surprised, how many of my concerns with Infinitely demanding have been explored at detail in here: which exactly concerns the relationship of politics and religion with respect to the politics of the undeterminable. In any case, provides a lot of valuable discussions on Rousseau and the theological origins of the idea of social contract, a reading of contem
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Highly readable given the complexity of ideas being covered -- chapters on "mystical anarchism" and Paul/Heidegger especially interesting
Brian Moore
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Explores interesting concepts that provoke a lot of thought, but ultimately does not have much of a prescription of how to avoid authoritarianism. Makes a lot of references to his ethical system laid out in Infinitely Demanding, reading it shortly to see if these hurdles can be overcome by that work.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Very interesting discussion of Rousseau and the role of the civic religion, but mostly this reminds me of what is worst about modern academic writing. I'm just not prepared to invest the time to understand the jargon anymore.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Politikasına katılmakla birlikte düşünsen içeriği çok derin olmayan bir kitap.
Bob Reutenauer
First third of book addresses the theme of "faith" directly. This faith is not attached to a metaphysical God but to a civil religion.. to politics. Critchley recasts "modernization" from a process resulting in an increasingly secular society to one in which the sacred remains central but is redefined. Oscar Wilde, Rousseau, and St. Paul feature in this argument. I was completely lost in much of it. I expected an easier go of it , and perhaps the false start through me off. Critchley writes very ...more
Aiman Caezar
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great resource for thinking about the intersections between politics, faith and violence. See myself returning to it soon for a second reading after the first impression of Critchley's argument sinks in.

Finally, Critchley really is one of the best close readers of text around. Particularly liked his treatment of Rousseau - fresh thoughts on a subject like social contract theory are always good!

In all, It's really a deeply hopeful and inspiring book and the are moments where his argument fully
Nikolay Nikiforov
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Начало, про гражданский катехизис Руссо, довольно увлекательное, но с какого-то момента книга начинает напоминать шизофазию / сцены из фильма Вуди Аллена "Любовь и смерть"

Главное, невозможно понять, как именно автор понимает свою задачу: анализ, проповедь, публицистика, наставление, просто неймдроппинг.
Geoff Giancarlo
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Critchley's engagement with Rousseau is the highlight of the book, and his penetrating and perhaps exhaustive look at faith is worth the price of admission. As usual, the sparring between him and Zizek is quite spirited. The final 20 or so pages really gives a clear look at Critchley's conception of resistance, and it ties the book to a close nicely.
Nick Buck
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Critchley brings his anarchist ("infinitely demanding") ethics to a next step. His engagements with Rousseau, Schmitt, Heidegger, Agamben, and Žižek are fantastic, even if his argument is a bit underwhelming.
Dec 06, 2012 rated it liked it
A great read. Lucid, compelling and well-written analysis of the intersection between religion, politics, and violence.
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent exploration of the meaning of faith, and of the difficulty of acting responsibly (among other things).
Alex Cistelecan
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
mystical anarchism, indeed.
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, anarchism
I enjoyed his writing style.
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
The stuff on Heidegger is some of Critchley's best work.
Jordan Peacock
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Feb 22, 2013
Cody Sisco
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Feb 03, 2016
Mu-tien Chiou
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Jan 06, 2014
David Breeden
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Aug 21, 2018
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Jun 24, 2012
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May 28, 2015
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Dec 06, 2012
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Joseph Abbate
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Mar 12, 2017
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Simon Critchley (born 27 February 1960 in Hertfordshire) is an English philosopher currently teaching at The New School. He works in continental philosophy. Critchley argues that philosophy commences in disappointment, either religious or political. These two axes may be said largely to inform his published work: religious disappointment raises the question of meaning and has to, as he sees it, de ...more