Has the passing of the old God paved the way for a new kind of
religious project, a more responsible way to seek, sound, and love
the things we call divine? Has the suspension of dogmatic
certainties and presumptions opened a space in which we can
encounter religious wonder anew? Situated at the split between
theism and atheism, we now have the opportunity to respond in
deeper, freer ways to things we cannot fathom or prove.
Distinguished philosopher Richard Kearney calls this condition
ana-theos, or God after God-a moment of creative "not
knowing" that signifies a break with former sureties and invites us
to forge new meanings from the most ancient of wisdoms. Anatheism
refers to an inaugural event that lies at the heart of every great
religion, a wager between hospitality and hostility to the
stranger, the other-the sense of something "more." By analyzing the
roots of our own anatheistic moment, Kearney shows not only how a
return to God is possible for those who seek it but also how a more
liberating faith can be born.
Kearney begins by locating a turn toward sacred secularity in
contemporary philosophy, focusing on Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Paul
Ricoeur. He then marks "epiphanies" in the modernist masterpieces
of James Joyce, Marcel Proust, and Virginia Woolf. Kearney
concludes with a discussion of the role of theism and atheism in
conflict and peace, confronting the distinction between sacramental
and sacrificial belief or the God who gives life and the God who
takes it away. Accepting that we can never be sure about God, he
argues, is the only way to rediscover a hidden holiness in life and
to reclaim an everyday divinity.
Subjects: Religion, Philosophy
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