Thursday, March 20, 2008

Integrating religion with politics within a cogent framework of ontology

[at a distance to the state: radical democracy and religion
the church and postmodern culture: conversation by geoff holsclaw
( Download: at a distance to the state draft.doc
Abstract: Contemporary globalization puts both religion and the State on notice. Giving rise to a backlash of religious fundamentalism, cultural and economic globalization also puts the State into a reactionary stance. In light of this, questioning the political relationship between religion and the State must again offer an account of the State as well as religion. This paper will therefore investigate the relationship between the State, religion, and radical democracy. An interrogation of the State will proceed through a juxtaposition of the 17th century English philosopher
Thomas Hobbes and 21st century French philosopher Alain Badiou. The former understands politics as principally concerned with forming the State, while the latter understands politics as operating ‘at a distance to the State.’ Within these conceptions of the State, we will then examine the recent account by Romand Coles and Stanley Hauerwas of radical democracy and radical ecclesiology in Christianity, Democracy, and the Radical Ordinary: Conversations Between a Radical Democrat and a Christian. In relation to Hobbes and Badiou, we will examine the feasibility of the church as an alternative ‘polis’ in relation to the project of radical democracy. With Badiou, it will be argued that the best understanding of politics is not as ‘against the State’ in a religious or political sectarianism, but ‘at a distance to the State’ and yet participating within it, both reducing either the polemical rhetoric between the two or a reduction of one to the other.]

Instead of exhuming Hobbes, who lived in entirely different times, we need to turn to Sri Aurobindo, who has contemplated over the human condition and destiny through the tumultuous years of the two World Wars. The outcome of his long years of rumination is The Life Divine. In this book we find an optimistic agenda of integrating religion with politics within a cogent framework of ontology. [TNM]

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