[Audio] Post-Marxist Slavoj Žižek plays theologian and listen to what he says



zizek pixels

Post-Marxist critic Slavoj Žižek elaborates on theology- a great inspiration to listen to.

■ To say salvation is from our good works like an economic exchange is an OBSCENITY! No, it [salvation] has to be predestination [by God]- « this I totally agree with, » says Žižek.

■ It is a mystery that a Protestant ethics on « active work, » rather than a passive hedonism, was spawned by this belief in predestination.

Zizek’s take on this, to much of my delight, is close to the one advanced by Teilhard de Chardin, Jenson, Derrida and Barth. Predestination is not determinism; as an extremely refined dialectic, we understand it as being decided chronologically backwards: thing happened now retroactively decides the past. (And the history is predestined by and in the eschaton.)

« Every great work of art retroactively changes its entire past. » – T. S. Eliot
« A great writer create his or her own precursors. » -Jorge Luis Borges

■ True freedom is found in faith in the postliberal sense (free for others, such as a loving act): We are free to constitute our very predestination, to choose our necessity.

■ The deification (theosis) tradition in Eastern Orthodox Church is very problematic to Zizek. It turns Christ into somewhat an idol.

■ Calvinism is the purest form of Christianity.

■ We are part of God’s history. Using a nice Hegelian dialectic formulation, only through Protestantism does Christianity become what it always is through history. Protestantism does not elevate meditation or some kind of inner orgasm. Rather, it is principled by Sola Scriptura (Bible alone) and it does not mean it’s only you and God; it means you cannot bypass the Logos. Church as an institution- the essence of Gemeinde (community)- means precisely that.

■ What Zizek opposes is the Feuerbach understanding of religion, aka a soft religious humanism. True religion is more than man in man. Even in psychoanalysis, « death drive » is not a pursuit of Nirvana; it is an insistence for more life and death. Here Zizek claims himself to be a strict Kierkegaardian (!). What Kierkegaard jettisoned at his time is also the mundane coin with its two sorry sides without a portrayal reflective of Jesus’ lordship: soft religious humanism and state conformism.

■ Man has to be de-centered with regard to God. But there must also be a gap between God and the Godhead (?). In order to fully account men, you must accept that God is de-centered in Himself with regard to Himself. (This sounds Jenson-ian and Moltmannian)



2 réflexions sur « [Audio] Post-Marxist Slavoj Žižek plays theologian and listen to what he says »

  1. Your grasp of Zizek’s concept of predestination is simply brilliant and clarifying. I agree with you that the idea of predestination, in a Zizekian vein, is another way of asserting man’s freedom in areas such as a loving act. When put in the context of consumerist society, which stood as a great theme in his works, the concept underwent a liberating twist: predestination cannot be used as an excuse for mortfying the present economic structure or things like Nozick’s entitlement theory; rather, it encourages, if not dictates, the believers to face what is forced upon them to make choices that might even hurt them, such as in the case of loving the neighbor.

    Concerning his idea of the decentered God and man, I think it’s related to the Lacanian concept of the Other and the subject. Zizek has argued that the way for the individual to embrace his freedom lies precisely in his recognition of the gap (the impossibility of corresponding to the symbolic designation. For exmaple, God the radical Other always proves your conception of him wrong.) inherent in the big Other by which man always finds his identity. To say that there is a fissure in the Other means that there is always something inadequate in himself. In acknowledging this, man has taken the first step to leave snuggling in the comfort of all that the Other provides him. This falsifying realm, in the Lacanian language, is called fantasy. And to leave this realm requires the existence of death drive, or, in his usage, the fundamentalist worldview. The cynicists who think that they can keep a distance with the cultural machine are in fact holding unto fantasy. That’s why the all-smart entrepreneurs in the west are infatuated with Tibettan Buddihsm, a form of religion that maintains their peace of mind in the relentless pursuit of surplus value.

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