- List of Contributors
- The Self and the Good Life
- Nationalism and Patriotism
- The Making of the Modern Metropolis
- The Other
- Freedom and Human Emancipation
- Work and Labour
- Suffering In Theology and Modern European Thought
- Nihilism and Theology: Who Stands at the Door?
- War and Peace
- Radical Philosophy and Political Theology
- Beauty and Sublimity
- Time and History
- The Metaphysics of Modernity
- The Bible
- Divine Providence
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter analyses the fundamental needs of nihilism, drawing upon the thoughts of Alain Badiou, Gianni Vattimo, Giorgio Agamben, and Jean-Luc Nancy. Nihilism has many needs, but the most serious, essential need is that it must not simply be nihilistic; that is, it cannot be mere lack. This fundamental need is witnessed in the necessary move to colonize theology, as seen when advocates of nihilism appropriate religious terms and concepts in an effort to remove any residual dualism between atheism and theism, and to ward off any sense of limit or absence. The first person examined is Badiou, whose main need is to rid himself of finitude so that the notion of a beyond is nonsensical. But that will come at a cost, for in losing any sense of a beyond, it is not transcendence that suffers, but immanence. In other words, it is the natural (and not the supernatural) that is lost in the flux of mere history. Vattimo, Agamben, and Nancy are more explicit in their attempt to colonize religion by setting up counterfeit theologies in the hope of saving nihilism.
Conor Cunningham is Assistant Director of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham. He is author of Genealogy of Nihilism (2002) and Darwin’s Pious Idea: Why the Ultra Darwinists and Creationists Both Get it Wrong (2010). Cunningham also wrote and presented the acclaimed BBC documentary Did Darwin Kill God? aired originally in March 2009.
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