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Christianity, Truth, and Weakening Faith

Christianity, Truth, and Weakening Faith: A Dialogue

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 136
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  • Book Info
    Christianity, Truth, and Weakening Faith
    Book Description:

    The debate over the place of religion in secular, democratic societies dominates philosophical and intellectual discourse. These arguments often polarize around simplistic reductions, making efforts at reconciliation impossible. Yet more rational stances do exist, positions that broker a peace between relativism and religion in people's public, private, and ethical lives.

    Christianity, Truth, and Weakening Faith advances just such a dialogue, featuring the collaboration of two major philosophers known for their progressive approach to this issue. Seeking unity over difference, Gianni Vattimo and René Girard turn to Max Weber, Eric Auerbach, and Marcel Gauchet, among others, in their exploration of truth and liberty, relativism and faith, and the tensions of a world filled with new forms of religiously inspired violence.

    Vattimo and Girard ultimately conclude that secularism and the involvement (or lack thereof) of religion in governance are, in essence, produced by Christianity. In other words, Christianity is "the religion of the exit from religion," and democracy, civil rights, the free market, and individual freedoms are all facilitated by Christian culture. Through an exchange that is both intimate and enlightening, Vattimo and Girard share their unparalleled insight into the relationships among religion, modernity, and the role of Christianity, especially as it exists in our multicultural world.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52041-6
    Subjects: Religion, Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. 1-22)
    Pierpaolo Antonello

    Among the numerous “conflicts” that characterize contemporary philosophical and intellectual discourse, the one between laicism¹ and religion—between the need for democratic states to promote confessional pluralism and substantial relativism, and the supposedly peremptory, authoritarian, and hegemonic culture of the religions—is emerging as one of the most crucial and important. The debate on the laicity of the state in France or in Turkey, the theologization of politics in the United States, the discussion of so-called postsecular society in Germany, the ongoing debate in Italy about the relation between relativism and faith, and the polemical fury over the clash of...

    (pp. 23-47)
    Gianni Vattimo and René Girard

    Pierpaolo antonello: I would like to begin our dialogue with the two terms that supply the framework for this encounter: Christianity and modernity. Your conceptual instruments are different—anthropological for Girard, philosophical for Vattimo—but you wind up saying more or less the same thing: that modernity, as constructed and understood by the European West, is substantially an invention of Christianity. Your research has led you to the apparently paradoxical result that Christianity is responsible for the secularization of the world. The end of the religions was brought about by a religion. In a recent book, Girard actually informs us...

    (pp. 48-63)
    Gianni Vattimo and René Girard

    Pierpaolo antonello: One of the major topics of debate in recent years in Italy has been the disconnect between faith and relativism or, to put it another way, between universalism, whether anthropological or moral, on the one hand, and multicultural relativism, on the other. Obviously, you both start from essentially different positions in philosophical terms, but I would like to probe a bit to see what kind of reconciliation (if any) might be possible between these two positions.

    Gianni vattimo: Let me state my convictions with respect to relativism: from René Girard I took the idea that God can only...

    (pp. 64-77)
    Gianni Vattimo and René Girard

    Robert harrison:¹ I would like to ask René Girard to comment on the particular reading that Gianni Vattimo has given to his work by reinterpreting it in a Heideggerian key.

    René girard: I may not be the person best qualified to supply a response to Gianni Vattimo in strictly philosophical terms, but I must say nevertheless that I find myself in agreement with the bulk of what he has to say, especially when it comes to his claim about the relation between Heidegger and the Judeo-Christian scriptures. There have been numerous attempts, especially in France, to study the relation between...

  8. 4 HEIDEGGER AND GIRARD: Kénosis and the End of Metaphysics
    (pp. 78-87)
    Gianni Vattimo

    The short testimony I want to contribute to this colloquium about René Girard may very well start with this quotation from Things Hidden. My purpose is to show how the work of Girard has helped me to “complete” Heidegger, to clarify the meaning of his thought and eventually to reopen communication between (some part of) contemporary postmetaphysical philosophy and the Judeo-Christian tradition. This testimony is also meant as a thanks offering to Girard for all that I believe I have learned from him, although in doing so I may well have committed misunderstandings or distortions of his original intentions.


    (pp. 88-108)
    René Girard

    From the standpoint of “deconstructive nihilism,” modern atheism is only one “metaphysical” creed among many others. The reassurance provided by its supposedly scientific grounding is as illusory as the reassurance of religions, philosophies, and ideologies. A complete liberation from false certainties demands that atheism be deconstructed too, along with other metaphysical illusions. Once this task is accomplished, Christianity should become attractive once again. In a genuinely “nihilistic” world, the religion of the cross should fare better than all the creeds and ideologies that imprudently relied on false scientific “objectivity.” This is what Gianni Vattimo suggests in his recent works, notably...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 109-120)
    (pp. 121-124)