RESOURCE: Jamie Smith on A/Theism
A/Theism is an interesting move within the conversation about postmodern theology and the church. An effort by some to overcome onto-theological concerns, you can find it in the writings of the emerging church leader Peter Rollins and in the academic work of John D. Caputo — to name only a couple of thinkers familiar to readers of this blog. Our own series editor, James K. A. Smith, offered a lecture at the University of Ottawa in 2010 entitled “Beyond A/Theism: Postmodernity and the Future of God.” It’s helpful in many ways as an introductory lecture on what continental thinkers like Jacques Derrida are really up to, and why Christian writers like Rollins, Caputo, and others employ his thought about religion. The following is a blurb which describes the nature of the lecture from those who hosted the talk, The House. The video is below.
What is the place for religion in our postmodern society, if any? While new atheists spar with fundamentalisms of various stripes over concerns of exclusivity and violence, there has been a quieter proposal for a “pure” postmodern religion offered by figures as diverse as Jacques Derrida and Mark Johnston. These voices suggest a religion purified of particulars (dogma, institutions, authoritative texts), offering us an alternate hope. But is such a proposal “postmodern” enough, or is there better way to understand God in our conflicted time?