Without Religion

Peter Rollins is becoming one of my favorite thinkers.  Good stuff here.

While the supportive nature of unbelief might be obvious in fundamentalist communities the challenge is in seeing it also in operation in liberal and progressive communities. Someone might, for instance, believe that the universe is in ultimate harmony and that all things work to the good. This seems like a beautiful belief, but it is only beautiful because it is sustained by unbelief. If we removed the unbelief and fully affirmed it we would realise that it isn’t too far from the views of people like Pat Robertson. We too would celebrate genocides, hurricanes etc. It is only while the belief is disbelieved that we can gain psychological pleasure from it without having to confront its horror. In short, we avoid the true nature of the belief as that which prevents us from fully embracing our human, all too human, situation.
The point of radical liturgy (the subject of a book I am writing at the moment) is that we are confronted by the horror of our religious belief through the removal of unbelief so that we move beyond it into what Bonhoeffer called “Religionless Christianity.”
This is however deeply traumatic for it means letting go of our intellectual security blankets and fully embracing the world with the courage to be, a courage devoid of ideological fantasies. The claim of the radical tradition however is that this full embrace of the world without guarantees is the way to truly taste life and life in all its fullness.

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1 Response to Without Religion

  1. Burk Braun says:

    Gosh- sorry to have been such an enabler!

    But then to realize how absurd and traumatic and horrific the beliefs actually are.. how can you go on? Why would you go on?

    Oh, but then he cleverly turns his argument around on liberals and unbelievers. Who believe in some other security blankets somehow more absurd than his own. Hmmm

    At some point all we can ask is to be truthful as possible and subject our stories (and everyone else's as well) at least to the best factual and moral criticism we can muster. Stories are necessary and we can't get around them, so his “full embrace of the world, its fullness, etc.” as if it were unmediated and finally, really, true and direct… is just more delusion.


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