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Back to Unedited Philosophy Quotes and Ramblings about Intequinism.

Book name: 
ANATHEISM { Returning to God After God }




Date: Paperback edition, 2011

Ownership: Columbia University Press


Reader: Mr. M.D. Pienaar


Table of Contents




P. xi


'Many speak of a "religious turn" in Continental philosophy or, contrawise, of an "antireligious turn" in a new wave of critical secularism (Daniel Dennet, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens). … The God question keeps returning again and again, compelling us to ask what we mean when we speak of God. A deity of omnipotent causality or of self-emptying service? A mighty monarch or a solicitous stranger? A God without religion or a religion without God? A bringer of war or peace?'


p. xii


"But in addition to witnessing sectarian violence, I also experienced the arrogance of certain Protestant and Catholic leaders speaking as if God was on their side."


'Indeed my education with the Benedictine monks of Glenstal played a formative role in my life. My mentors there took seriously the Rule of St. Benedict regarding uncompromising "hospitality to the stranger."'


p. xiii


" .. my belief that spiritual commitment had the means to provide one of the most effective antidotes to the perversion of religion. Thus while I certainly revolted at an early age against the ecclesiastical authorities of my land, and roundly rejected the God of Triumph, I never ceased to harbour a deep fascination for spiritual questions and an enduring admiration for religious peacemakers."


" .. radically secular society like France—where the principle of laïcité reigned supreme—I discovered myself coming back again to the God question."


French secularism, in French, laïcité (pronounced [la.isiˈte]) is a concept denoting the absence of religious involvement in government affairs as well as absence of government involvement in religious affairs. French secularism has a long history but the current regime is based on the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State. (From:ïcité on 29 April 2013)


".. what kind of God were we talking about?

            This question continued to haunt me during my doctoral studies with Paul Ricoeur and Emmanuel Levinas in Paris."


'In the present volume, I hope to weave some of these reflections into a renewed quest for a God after God. This is I believe, an increasingly pressing inquiry for our "postmodern" age where the adversarial dogmas of secularism and absolutism threaten the option of considered dialogue.'


p. xiv


"The absolute requires pluralism to avoid absolutism."


p. xiv – xv


'In Paris my dialogues with Jewish thinkers like Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida were a crucial influence on <p. xv> my growing appreciation of emancipatory "messianic" horizons, and this was later extended to include a dialogue between the Judeo-Christian circle and the Islamic tradition (occasioned by my encounters with Sufi philosophers in Cairo and Kerala).


p. xv


"If the word was in the beginning, so was hermeneutics. There is no God's eye view of things available to us. For we are not Gods, and history tells us that attempts to become so lead to intellectual and political catastrophe. Hermeneutics is a lesson in humility .. Hermeneutics reminds us that the holiest of books are works of interpretation—for authors no less than readers. … If Gods and prophets talk, the best we can do is listen—then speak and write in turn, always after the event, ana-logically and ana-gogically, returning to words already spoken and always needing to be spoken again. Hermeneutics was there from the beginning and will be there to the end."


p. xvii


"In this sense, the present volume might be described as a narrative of narratives, that is, a philosophical story about the existential stories of our primal encounters with the Other, the Stranger, the Guest—encounters that in turn call for ever-recurring wagers and responses."


p. xviii


" .. we never exit from our hermeneutic circles—unless tempted by a God's-eye view not ours to possess. The acknowledgement of our finite hermeneutic situation saves us, I believe, from both relativism and absolutism."


p. xix


"All three parts hope to show how the anatheist response to the stranger may be witnessed in 1. Primary lived experience, 2. Poetic re-experience, and 3. A doubly renewed experience of ethical and spiritual praxis. Combined they seek to suggest how a faith beyond faith may serve new life."




Introduction: God After God



".. this wager of faith beyond faith, I call anatheism. Ana-theos, God after God."



After Kearney rejected dogmatic theism and militaristic atheism he yearned for God and therefore he is defining God anew.



".. I proceed to extrapolate implications of anatheism for interreligious dialogue and for a new hermeneutics of the "powerless power" of God."



"But let me be clear. When I speak of anatheism I am not advocating some new religion. God forbid. Anatheism is not a hypothetical synthesis in a dialectic moving from theism through atheism to a final telos.



"Anatheism, in short, is an invitation to revisit what might be termed a primary scene of religion: the encounter with a radical Stranger who we choose or don't choose, to call God."



I recall there is a verse written by Paul in which he said we should never call another God. Of course he meant it in the singular because he wrote about God in the singular sense and the statement was specifically about Jesus if I recall correctly. I recall that Paul wrote there were Israeli's or Jews who said Jesus was God whilst he was alive and it should not have been said. The singularity and plurality is important. Singular God does not exist for me any more therefore in my view if a group is referred to as part of God the person doing the referring can include or exclude him/her self from the group.


'But the scene of the Stranger is at the core of the anatheist wager that concerns us here, even if this epiphanic moment of awakening is often neglected in official theologies.

Anatheism, in other words, is nothing particularly new. It is simply a new name for something old and, I hasten to add, constantly recurring in both the history of humanity and of each life.'



Anatheism is true to the western tradition of knowing not to know and to realize new knowledge. Socrates said true knowledge is knowing not to know all and Kant identified the noumenon, which cannot be known and wrote about pure reason which is sophistical.



Meeting God as a Stranger is a cataphatic experience after losing God during apophatic analysis.



Apophatic refers to explaining God in the sense of what God is not. Kearney thus opines that apophatic reasoning about God causes irreligious feelings. Apodictic in the sense of Kant's Critique of pure reason means validity. It is not currently sure whether Kant described certainty in Critique of pure reason as a sensible orientation in a cataphatic sense or in an apophatic sense. Roy Clouser promotes apophatic (?) knowledge of God whilst quoting Turkish theologians.


apophatic |ˌapəˈfatik|

adjective Theology

(of knowledge of God) obtained through negation. The opposite of cataphatic .


apophatically |-ik(ə)lē| adverb

apophaticism |-ˌsizəm| noun

ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from Greek apophatikos ‘negative,’ from apophasis ‘denial,’ from apo- ‘other than’ + phanai ‘speak.’


cataphatic |ˌkatəˈfatik|

adjective Theology

(of knowledge of God) obtained through affirmation. The opposite of apophatic .

ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from Greek kataphatikos ‘affirmative,’ from kataphasis ‘affirmation,’ from kata- (as an intensifier) + phanai ‘speak.’


affirmation |ˌafərˈmā sh ən|


the action or process of affirming or being affirmed : an affirmation of basic human values | he nodded in affirmation.

• Law a formal declaration by a person who declines to take an oath for reasons of conscience.

ORIGIN late Middle English : from Latin affirmation-, from the verb affirmare (see affirm ).



Anatheism in a territorial sense is the interaction between Greek objective truths and Jewish transcendent truths. Jerusalem has been host and guest to the Other (Athens) and Athens has been host and guest to the Other (Jerusalem) through the ages and these two cultures have influenced the other city to form the current synthesis of Western religion.



My thoughts before I read Anatheism led to the idea of Others-than-only-selves as a defining of God.



Mimeses are explained as flights of heroes who become Strangers in Other territories. Strangers' bodies' or their Souls depart, depending on the outcome of the specific mimesis. The sacred souls however do not leave Earth but dwell here to protect.



Art and religion are intertwined in figurative speech and writing.



Plato's spirit might fall back to Earth and burn down the spirits of Aristotles if Kearney's book reaches dark outer space.



Once corresponding truths are not part of one's religion an anatheist reinterpretation of own faith will almost certainly include metaphorical combinations to describe relationships with Jesus and the Other.



Anatheism is a "movement" not a "state" because anatheisms do not take a definite position in favour or against any ideology. Believers of anatheisms' existences are constantly on the move from one state to an-other.

1. In the Moment: The Uninvited Guest



Three Abrahamic faiths are identified as Jewish, Christian and Islamic. In these faiths meetings with the divine Other have been written about for example the time when Sarah gave birth to Isaac. The annunciation was by three men to Abraham and after a year Sarah gave birth to Isaac. When the Other appeared to Abraham he welcomed them and did not react with hostility towards them. Kearney shows the discrepant actions of Abraham. Abraham expelled his servant, Hagar and his son Ishmael to fend for themselves and he was willing to sacrifice his other son Isaac.



The Hebrew Bible has thirty-six commands to love the Stranger and only two to love one's neighbour.


Jesus's first thought about loving the Other was projected at his neighbour and his second thought was to include Samaritans in his definition of neighbour. Kearney acknowledges the influence of Sartre's existentialism on him (p.xii). Sartre wrote about one's neighbour being trouble.



Other is translated in Hebrew as eesh/iysh, in Latin as vir and in Greek as anthropos.



The annunciation to Mary is portrayed as if she conceived another's child and not Joseph's child.



In the two genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke Joseph is mentioned as the father of Jesus. Joseph's father is however not certain according to the Bible because of the uncertainty about Nathan or Solomon as forefather of Jesus.



Jesus was a Stranger to his family and his disciples and Jesus preached that the Other should be helped and treated as Guest.



Muhammad of Islam met a Stranger in a cave who gave him the Islam message. This message can be interpreted to invoke hostilities or hospitalities.



There was however many Islamic promotions for peaceful co-existence for example by Averroes who spoke against literalists.



Did Averroes generalize against literalists without distinguishing between good and bad literalists?



There is a clear "ambivalence" in Abrahamic religions and Christianity between accepting strangeness and rejecting strangeness.



The ambivalence requires the re-evaluation of Western religions, distinguishing between good and evil in the religions.

2. In the Wager: The Fivefold Motion


6 May 2013


"The anatheist wager I am trying to describe has five main components: imagination, humor, commitment, discernment, and hospitality.



Imagination implies seeing a stranger as someone according to a hermeneutic interpretation.



Empathy is central to the imagination when the Other is seen '"as"' Other in the hermeneutic sense. The suffering of the Other is thus felt in a manner of speaking.




'The story of Jesus's own life is itself divinely comic, moreover. To the extent that it was largely lived, as Kierkegaard observed, "incognito." It is the drama of a Holy Fool disappearing in presence and reappearing in absence, at once there and not there'.



Humor for Kearney relates to the paradoxes of Christianity and the references to miracles. The 'least will be the most', the eye of a needle and a camel and the sight of The-vagrant transcribed into divinity.




Commitment relates to commitment of being not-God, for example the opposite of the commitment of Jesus to beyond the Rubicon to death to his own God.




When the other is met, a judgement has to be made. Is the other like the self or is the Other God? If the other is like the self, then the-I, have to be weary because the other could then be a deceiver, a murderer or a rapist.




Hospitality is the crucial action, which follows the discernment. If the wrong is hosted it could lead to death or damage of the self. Only God is good and forgive all therefore the hospitality should be based on knowledge and that includes the awareness of not knowing all.



Kearney makes the mistake, which Kant explains in Critique of pure reason. The mistake is to accept the existence of an object, which does not exist. Existence is the proof of validity according to Kant. Kearney's definition of God, God who forgives all, is not true because the entity does not exist. The definition is mere words. Kearney uses the definition to explain he is not God [Later in the book Kearney writes about '"us"' being God and he acknowledges that we are the Other of others, we are thus all the Other of someone.] therefore he will turn some vagrants away and will show welfare to others because of his judgement.



Most religions have similarities and one of them is hospitality to the Stranger.



"Another aspect of the fivefold wager worth emphasizing at this point is the powerlessness of the divine."



Kearney says that the idea of a powerful God comes from a literal reading of the Bible.



Reliance in religion is important. God has to be an entity that can resist the evil of the devil. The devil uses force and therefor logically God has to be powerful. It is not from a literal reading of the Bible but logical. God is the plural in Gen. 1:26. '"Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and all the creatures that move along the ground."' The plural indicates power. Singularity indicates weakness. It is because a partly literal reading of Kearney that he ascribes Godly attributes to the singular. Most places in the Bible God are referred to in the singular as Him or His etc.


3. In the Name: After Auschwitz Who Can Say God?



'The young Jewish writer Etty Hillesum recognized this when she wrote in her diary from the jaws of her Holocaust hell, "You (God)) cannot help us, but we must help you and defend Your dwelling place inside us to the last."'



A god who does not help is not legal because the legal system is supposed to help individuals.



'So where was God in Dachau and Treblinka? Suffering with his people. From an anatheist perspective, the covenant is to be understood as a divinity calling humans to full partnership, to co-creation, or, as the old Talmudic adage had it, to the completion of the seventh day of Creation.'



'Also writing in the shadow of the Holocaust, the Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, who lost many of his family in Dachau, speaks of the necessity to reject the infamous God of power who could allow such horrors.'


'.. Levinas holds that the gift of Judaism to humanity is atheism—namely, separation from God so as to encounter the other as absolutely other.'



A characteristic of an anatheist is the proposition that God is weak and suffering.



'The philosopher dreams of a prophet who would realize today the liberating message of Exodus that exists prior to the law: "I am the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." Such faith speaks of freedom and proclaims the Cross and Resurrection as invitations to a more creative life; a belief that articulates the contemporary relevance of the Pauline distinction between Spirit and Law and interprets "sin" less as the breaking of taboo than as the refusal of life.'



The above is contrary to the definition of love by Jesus because Jesus equated love with compliance to laws and prophecies.



Anatheism is a result of philosophical atheism's criticism of traditional religion and the search for new definitions for God by looking at traditional religion's origins.



4. In the Flesh: Sacramental Imagination



'"Only through singularities can we find the divine."     —Spinoza'



The above quote of Spinoza makes sense if the fear of being alone and weak and human in difficult situations makes us realize that only plurality can be God.



With regard to sacraments Husserl and Heidegger mentioned the flesh but did not acknowledge the flesh as flesh. Merleau-Ponty recognised the bread of the Eucharist as bread in his phenomenological writings and he opines that God is in this world suffering as a human being. It is not clear what Merleau-Ponty's opinion is about singularity and pluralities in God.


"Julia Kristeva—… But she, no less than Merleau-Ponty, rejects the God of metaphysical theism. She recommends, in Strangers to Ourselves, that we surmount the theocratic dualisms of pure and impure, saved and damned, native and stranger; for, she argues, such dualisms lead to sacrificial scapegoating and war. "The big work of our civilization," she says, "is to fight this hatred—without God.""


10 May 2013



"In both writing and healing, the reversible transubstantiation of word and flesh expresses itself as catharsis. (32) Kristeva goes on, rather boldly, to suggest that the aesthetic of transubstantiation not only helps to heal the wounded psyche but also releases writers like Proust and Joyce from the prison house of linguistic idealism.

What pertains to Proust, I will suggest, also pertains to Joyce and Woolf. And it is to a closer reading of these three novelists that I return in my next chapter. My aim is to sketch a sacramental aesthetics that illustrates how dying to an acosmic God may allow a God of cosmic <p.99> epiphanies to be reborn. Whether these authors are concerned more with an aesthetic religion or a religious aesthetic remains and open question."



"Kearney motivates that God is of cosmic nature and not "acosmic". Thus in this world. He refers to Francis of Assisi who broke with "previous metaphysical doctrines of Christianity as acosmic denial of the body."



It is not now clear to me whether Kearney refers only to a body in the past tense or also to a body in the present tense or bodies in the past and/or present tense. Whether his "body" is dead or alive, if in the present tense is also not sure. His "body" seems to be a human "body" of flesh and not "in the flesh".



'Against the acosmic tendencies of mainstream metaphysical Christianity, Francis's intrepid achievement was to combine love of God with a sense of union with the life and being of Nature. (36) His greatness was to have expanded the specifically Christian emotion of love for God the Father to embrace "all the lower orders of nature," while at the same time uplifting Nature into the glory of the divine.(37) … For here, after all, was a "mystic who dared conjoin transcendence and immanence, the sacred and the secular, by calling all creatures his brothers, .. <p.100> .(38)'



The above quote implies that Kearney's God he promotes is 'Nature' because he quotes someone else's or Francis of Assisi's '".. lower orders of nature,"'.



'This mystical panentheism—the view that God is in all beings—was condemned as blasphemy by many orthodox Christians before and after Francis.'

5. In the Text: Joyce, Proust, Woolf



'Each was deeply marked, to be sure, by their religious education and upbringing: Joyce as a Catholic, Woolf as a Protestant, and Proust as someone with a mixed Christian-Jewish background. …

There is a notion among modern intellectuals that matters of existential profundity and ultimacy, previously considered the preserve of churches, are now, in Western culture at least, being transferred to the sanctuaries of art. .. it often misses the degree to which many authors remained deeply committed to a sacramental imagination that defied the either/or division between theism and <p.102> atheism.'



'For these three authors believe, along with Paul Eluard, that there is indeed another world, but that it is inside this one. …

I will be suggesting, in other words, that these three authors .. , in favour of a retrieval of the sacramental in the sensible. The Eucharistic imagination, described by Merleau-Ponty and Kristeva in the last chapter, is no longer the exclusive preserve of High Church liturgies,'


Proust 2

Proust, Marcel (1871–1922), French novelist, essayist, and critic. He devoted much of his life to writing his novel À la recherche du temps perdu (1913–27). Its central theme is the recovery of the lost past and the releasing of its creative energies through the stimulation of unconscious memory.


Woolf |woŏlf|

Woolf, Virginia (1882–1941), English novelist, essayist, and critic; born Adeline Virginia Stephen. A member of the Bloomsbury Group, she gained recognition with Jacob's Room (1922). Subsequent novels, such as Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927), established her as an exponent of modernism.


Joyce |jois|

Joyce, James (Augustine Aloysius) (1882–1941), Irish writer. An important writer of the modernist movement, he first became known for his short stories in Dubliners (1914). His novel Ulysses (1922) revolutionized the structure of the modern novel and developed the stream-of-consciousness technique. Other notable novels: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1914–15) and Finnegans Wake (1939).


stream of consciousness

noun Psychology

a person's thoughts and conscious reactions to events, perceived as a continuous flow. The term was introduced by William James in his Principles of Psychology (1890).

• a literary style in which a character's thoughts, feelings, and reactions are depicted in a continuous flow uninterrupted by objective description or conventional dialogue. James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Marcel Proust are among its notable early exponents.


(Version 2.1 (80), Copyright © 2005–2009 Apple Inc. New Oxford American Dictionary)






'In short, the author agrees to die so that the reader may be born.'




'(Not to reinvoke Benjamin, who deeply influenced both Derrida and Agamben.)'


14 May 2013



'In short, transliterating Penelope and Odysseus into Molly and Bloom, Joyce performs a daring act of eucharistic comedy. He converts the epic into the everyday and rediscovers the sacred in the bread and wine of profane existence. So doing, he proves his conviction that the "structure of heroism is a damned lie and that there cannot be any substitute for individual passion."(11)

            Molly's rewriting of Penelope conforms, I believe, to the basic features of comedy outlined by Aristotle and Bergson, namely: the combining of more with less, of the metaphysical with the physical, of the heroic with the demotic. Or, to put it in our sacramental idiom, the combining of Word with flesh. …love: eros defying the sting of thanatos.)'


katharevousa |ˌkäθäˈrevoōsä|


the purist form of modern Greek used in traditional literary writing, as opposed to the form that is spoken and used in everyday writing (called demotic).

ORIGIN early 20th cent.: modern Greek, literally ‘purifying,’ feminine of kathareuōn, present active participle of Greek kathareuein ‘be pure,’ from katharos ‘pure.’


Thanatos |ˈθanəˌtōs; -ˌtäs|

(in Freudian theory) the death instinct. Often contrasted with Eros .

ORIGIN from Greek thanatos ‘death.’





'And it is surely significant that Molly herself is "full with seed" (not her husband's) as she records her fantasy of death and rebirth, just as Bloom himself is described as a "manchild in the womb." Allusions to second natality abound.'




Kearney explains how the biblical texts are transfigured into fiction and how that influence readers. The Word becomes flesh through the fiction reading. Kearney also refers to the scatological (relating to excrement) and the eschatological in Joyce's writing.






Kearney explains how the eschatological of the Bible is reread in the writings of Proust and interpreted differently by different people for example Kristeva and Benjamin. The hermeneutic influence of the Bible can however be noticed in the writing of Proust and in the interpreting of Proust by readers.






Kearney explains how Woolf included an incorporeal God she called "it" in her life and writings. "It" was included in her thoughts and writings as nature, which cannot be copied by humans although humans also try to create through art but can never reach the level of creation represented by "it".





'The sacramental aesthetic of our three authors is far removed from an economy of penalty and compensation. On the contrary, it bears witness to literary epiphanies of radical kenosis and emptying where the sacred unhitches itself from the Master God ("equality with the Father," as Paul put it) in order to descend into the heart of finite flesh. Thus the birth of the child as incarnate being attests to the demise of the Immutable Monarch. Unless the divine seed dies there can be no eucharistic rebirth. Or to put it in the words of the young Jewish mystic, Etty Hillesum, "by excluding death from one's life we deny ourselves the possibility of a full life."'




'In sum, anatheism is not about evacuating the sacred from the secular but retrieving the sacred in the secular.'




Kearney writes that in the literature of the three writers transubstantiations take place from flesh of the writers to their words and then to the flesh of the readers. Religion is replaced by art with anatheism and the artists' lives are the divine beings, which has been influenced by the sacraments of religion.


6. In the World: Between Secular and Sacred?




Between secular and sacred means the two presuppositions about God's perfection and oneness are rejected. God is not perfect and God cannot be one person nor is God oneness of the cosmos. Plato's Forms are perfect but the Forms are not God.




'After our hermeneutic detour through sacramental poetics we return, finally, to the question of sacramental ethics. .. what does it mean to accept the sacred stranger into the secular universe? What is involved in translating epiphanies of transcendence into immanence of everyday action? What are the practical implications of moving from sacred imagination to a sacred praxis of peace and justice?'



The above objectives of Kearney explain what he would like to see as the teleological ends of his anatheism. Secularisation with a place for the sacred stranger and immanent actions instead of transcending procrastination is important to Kearney. Practical peace and justice instead of sacred imaginations of utopias are espoused by Kearney. There is not a radical element in Kearney's wishes except radical hospitality. His wishes imply a broadening of intellectual and religious horizons.




'Anatheism, I have argued, is not an end but a way. It is a third way that precedes and exceeds the extremes of dogmatic theism and militant atheism.'





<p.134> a kenotic moment of "nothingness" and "emptiness" resides at the core of a postmetaphysical faith; but neither sees this as the last word. Abandonment leads back to action, surrender resurfaces as service.

Breton .. claims… faith "must inhabit the world and give back to God the being he has not." Speaking more specifically of Christian kenosis, he talks of a process that follows "the descent of the divine into a human form, obedience unto death, the ignominy of the Cross. …"



Using 'he' above does not make sense and it was probably done because of the presupposition of God as One in Christian religion, without realising. 'They' would have made more sense. Breton emphasised welfare work as an important way of sharing.




'In the case of the contemporary thinker and activist Gianni Vattimo, kenosis entails a reading of 1 Corinthians 12 (on love) that treats the Incarnation as God's relinquishing of all power so as to turn everything over to the secular order.'




Gianni Vattimo envisages cooperation between The-incorporeal part of God and creaturely humans as part of God.




John Caputo also advocates kenotic faith when he says the sacrificial power, when sacrificing others, should be left behind and emptied into accepting strangers and others with love.


"All these contemporary thinkers contribute, in their distinct ways, to the anatheist option of a sacredness beyond sacrifice. … Or as Francis did when he followed the kenotic way of Christ …"



who did not start a sacrificial revolution against the Romans and Greeks who colonized Israel.




"For what is God, as Irenaeus put it, if not us fully alive?


The acknowledgement of divine kenosis, .. is by no means confined to Christianity. .. is a crucial moment of new creation."




If survival is based on creating as an ethical methodology instead of sacrificing others as method of eliminating competition or of appropriating others' assets and ideas, the above kenotic experience can take place.





'In what follows I propose to explore how anatheist attitudes might be put into practice. How may one keep open the space of hospitality when it is real strangers knocking at the door, real migrants seeking food and <p.138> shelter, real adversaries challenging our way of life—and maybe even our lives? Here then we return to the ultimate, and unsurpassable dilemma: what is to be done?

Let me begin by saying what, in my opinion, is not to be done. To be avoided, at all costs, is the ruinous temptation to use religion to dominate politics. … Stalinism and Nazism were, as Mircea Eliade recognized, examples of perverted messianism .. and the Middle East .. bear out the sorry lesson of ongoing religious violence.'






… The task is to reenvision the relationship between the holy and the profane such that we can pass from theophany to praxis while avoiding the traps of theocracy and theodicy.'


theophany |θēˈäfənē|

noun ( pl. -nies)

a visible manifestation to humankind of God or a god.

ORIGIN Old English , via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek theophaneia, from theos ‘god’ + phainein ‘to show.’


theodicy |θēˈädəsē|

noun ( pl. -cies)

the vindication of divine goodness and providence in view of the existence of evil.


theodicean |-ˌädəˈsēən| adjective

ORIGIN late 18th cent.: from French Théodicée, the title of a work by Leibniz, from Greek theos ‘god’ + dikē ‘justice.’ (New)



Thus theophany should be allowed as Jesus told his disciples by asking them to be God. In a way Kearney is doing the same as Jesus; the most important difference is that Kearney is not doing as he is saying because he mostly refer to the Other whilst excluding himself. He did however accept his own responsibility on page 137 where he rhetorically stated: "For what is God, as Irenaeus put it, if not us fully alive?"





'Raimon Panikkar is a contemporary philosopher who proposes the option of a creative relationship between the secular and the sacred. … <p.141> This is not to say the secular and the sacred are identical. … It is a matter of reciprocal interdependency rather than one-dimensional conflation. And this chiasmic coexistence may itself serve as model for the interanimation of democratic politics and mature faith: ..'



In other words the secular needs the creativities of creators and creatures need networks of secularism.




'To collapse politics and religion into one leads, as history shows, to holy war, theocracy, and ecclesial imperialism.'




'.. Panikkar coins the word cosmotheandrism to connote the creative cohabiting of the human (anthropos) and divine (theos) in the lived ecological world (cosmos). …

The secular entails a radical reorienting of our attention away from the old God of death and fear, for without such con-version we could not rediscover the God of life at the heart of our incarnate temporal existence.'




Kearney writes about the old devil, which sacrificed and caused fear when Kearney writes about the old God of death and fear.






Kearney hopes that Islamic law will change to include democratic systems with Sufi Islam at the lead. He often quotes ibn-Rushd who is also called Averroës.




Democratisation is taking place in some Islamic countries. It seems Sufi Islamic groups have been targeted by the old tutelary powers of Islamic states in for example Egypt. (From: on 15 May 2013)






'What then of non-Abrahamic religions? … Central to anatheism is the freedom to converse with those who remain alien to one's own faith. … This question of inclusive hospitality to "other Others" seems to be particularly crucial in an age when we are increasingly aware, through global communications, of just how many others there are in the world. … This question of religious difference, on a gobal scale, cannot be avoided if anatheism is to be true to its intentions of radical hospitality. And I say this for practical as well as theoretical concerns: the wager of welcoming or refusing the stranger is often a matter of war or peace.

… It is not simply a categorical imperative of moral reason (à la Kant)'



Kant refined Jesus's wish that we will treat others the way we want to be treated when Kant promoted universality of actions. Kant wrote we should ask ourselves what the world would be like if all act like selves do. If the envisaged impact to the world will be negative if all act the specific way, which is questioned, the action is wrong. If we all throw papers in the street and not in dustbins, our streets will be a mess, therefore it is wrong and no one should throw papers in the street. If we all start sacrificing oppositions, the world will digress into a state of nature, which we do not want, therefore it was wrong when devils sacrificed their oppositions for example Jesus.




'.. here is a sample of typical formulations concerning compassion for the other adduced in a wide variety of religions:


Zoroastrianism: "Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself" (Sahyast-na-Shayast, 13:29)

Buddhism: "Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful" (Udana-Varga 5:18)

Jainism: "One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated" (Mahavira, Sutrakrtanga).

Confucianism: "One word that sums up the basis of all good conduct … loving kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself" (Confucius, Analects 15:23).

Hinduism: "This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you" (Mahabharata 5:1517)



It can be noted that the three Magi who arrived in Israel to give gifts of incense and gold to support Jesus's foreign spirit came from Iran where Zoroastrianism was founded. Zoroastrianism[1] and Jesus influenced Nietzsche when he wrote Zarathustra. Nietzsche did not overcome the false presupposition of a singular God, which is present in his Zarathustra.




'Such exchangeability between different spiritual traditions of the planet captures one of the essential points of interreligious dialogue: namely, the commonality of all religions across confessional differences. Hence the claim that when you reach through creedal distinctions to a shared praxis and mystical communion, you realize, as the ancients say "we are all one." … But anatheistic hospitality toward the stranger is, as noted, not just the recognition of the other as the same as ourselves (though this is crucial to any global ethic of peace). It also entails recognizing the other as different to ourselves, as radically strange and irreducible to our familiar horizons.




'.. as divine as the universality of Golden Rules. …

            The readiness to translate back and forth between ourselves and strangers—without collapsing the distinction between host and guest languages—is, I submit, one of the best recipes to promote nonviolence and prevent war.'





7. In the Act: Between Word and Flesh




'The three arcs of anatheism—the iconoclastic, the prophetic, and the sacramental—attest to ways in which the sacred is in the world but not of the world.'




'Extreme secularism tends to ignore God as Stranger in its exclusive focus on God as Sovereign (suprema potestas).'


'For if others are strangers to us we are equally strangers to others and to ourselves.'




Iconoclasm happens when traditional religion is rejected. Prophetic parts of anatheism relates to a better world to come as predicted by Levinas, Bonhoeffer and Ricoeur. <p.153> 'The sacramental moment of anatheism is when we finally restore the hyphen between the sacred and the secular. It is also the moment we return from text to action, from the realm of critical interpretation to the world of quotidian praxis and transformation.'




Earlier Kearney promoted Jesus's love by asking that we follow universal laws in our daily lives. It is manifesting love of not doing things against fellow human beings.




Kearney also promotes positive action for example working for vagrants and destitute people.




I recall Jesus said somewhere we will be judged according to how much we gave to destitute people.




'For Dorothy Day, as for Dallmayr, one of the greatest tragedies of Christianity was that Christ's teaching about nonsovereignty went largely unheeded.'




'My second example of sacramental action is Jean Varnier. A Canadian philosopher who experienced the fallout of World War II as a young man, Vanier later gave up a university career to devote his life to the service of discarded people—those he called the wounded of the earth. …

Exposing ourselves to insecurity, we are instructed by the strangers we set out to teach.'




'A central aim of Gandhi's career was to combat the dichotomy between the spiritual and the social. His key notion of swaraj entailed both 1. personal <p.164> practice of self-restraint ("experienced by each one for himself") (26) and 2. public commitment to political emancipation ("a complete independence through truth and non-violence … without distinction of race, color or creed"). (27)'





'Anatheism, I have argued, is not an end but a way. It is a third way that precedes and exceeds the extremes of dogmatic theism and militant atheism.'



Today I think that essentially Kearney is trying to find a middle position between atheism and theism. The search for the elusive middle made him loose contact with reality. God needs to be powerful to be able to stand against the devils and this reality Kearney argues against.




'Anatheism does not say the sacred is the secular; it says it is in the secular, through the secular, toward the secular. I would even go so far as to say the sacred is inseparable from the secular, while remaining distinct. Anatheism speaks of "interanimation" between the sacred and secular but not of fusion or confusion. They are inextricably interconnected but never the same thing.




'I am not suggesting that faith is only genuine if it has passed through the grids of Western liberal secularism. … Anatheism is not something that comes only at the end of history, as dialectical teleologies might suggest. It marks the eternal crossing of time. It was there from the beginning and recurs at every moment that the stranger trumps the sovereign.


Anatheism … We conceive of this as a necessary purging of the perversions of religious power, following the adage (oft cited by Ivan Illich) that corroptio optimi est pessima: the corruption of the best is the worst. To justify torture, conquest, and domination "in the name of God" is, I believe, the worst sin of all.'




'And I agree with Dawkins that the idea of <p.168> God as a superterrestrial "superintendent" of the universe, who controls and determines our actions, needs summary debunking. … Ricoeur noted how Nietzsche became ensnared in the very spirit of nihilism he sought to expose, how he fell victim to the resentment he resolved to combat—and neglected the yea-saying. … For whenever convictions are arrived at, not by direct contact with the objects themselves but indirectly "through the critique of others, the processes of thinking are impregnated with ressentiment."(3)'




'Faced with the Huntington thesis that "we only know who we are … when we know whom we are against," the ethic of hospitality replies that the stranger is precisely the one who reminds us—not as enemy but as host—that the self is never an autonomous identity but a guest graciously hostaged to its host. (11)'




'The distillation of all religions into a set of common denominators has its purpose. An impressive example of this is the project of the Parliament of World Religions, convened in 1992, to develop a global ethic of peace, based on the Golden Rule that we should treat all others as ourselves. … But anatheism suggests, once again, that there is something else, another step to be taken that supplements the move toward universal principles. And this second step involves a radical descent into the specificities of each spiritual tradition .. to a Word that surpasses us.'




'All great ethical teachings share a set of precepts—do not kill, tell the truth, be just, look after the weak. What religions, anatheistically retrieved, can add to such shared priciples, as inscribed in world charters of human justice, is a deep mystical appreciation of something Other than our finite, human being: some Other we can welcome as a stranger if we can overcome our natural response of fear and trauma.'





'The glory of God is each and every one of us fully alive.

--Irenaeus, AD 185'


'But I am talking here of a transcendence in and through immanence, which, far from diminishing humanity, amplifies it. If the divine stranger does not enhance one's humanity, inviting it to better things, that is, to a more just, loving, and creative manner of being, then it is not worthy of the name divine.




New Oxford American Dictionary (Version 2.1 (80), Copyright © 2005–2009 Apple Inc.)




Abrahamic faiths · 7

absolutism · 2, 3

acosmic · 15, 16

anatheism · 4, 20, 21, 27, 30, 34

anthropos · 8, 26

Apodictic · 5

apophatic · 5, 6

atheism · 4, 13, 14, 17, 22, 32

Averroes · 9


Benjamin · 18, 19


cataphatic · 5, 6

Continental philosophy · 1

creation · 13, 20, 23

creative · 13, 17, 25, 26, 34

creatures · 12, 16, 25, 28


Derrida · 3, 18


eschatological · 19


Gandhi · 31

God of death and fear · 26

Golden Rules · 29


hermeneutic · 3, 10, 19, 21

hermeneutics · 3, 4

heroism is a damned lie · 18

hospitality · 2, 10, 11, 22, 24, 27, 29, 33


immanence · 16, 21, 34

interreligious · 4, 29

Irenaeus · 23, 25, 34


Jesus · 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31


Kant · 5, 11, 27

kenosis · 20, 22, 23


laïcité · 2

Levinas · 2, 3, 13, 30


messianic · 3

Mimeses · 7

Monarch · 20

Muhammad · 9


Nietzsche · 28, 33


Other · 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 17, 25, 34

others · 11, 23, 24, 27, 28, 30, 33


panentheism · 16

Pauline distinction · 13

pluralism · 3

power · 12, 13, 23, 33

powerless power · 4

powerlessness · 11


radical · 4, 20, 22, 26, 27, 34

relativism · 3


sacramental · 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 30, 31

sacred · 7, 16, 18, 20, 21, 25, 30, 32

scatological · 19

secular · 2, 16, 20, 21, 23, 25, 26, 30, 32

Spinoza · 14

stranger · 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 21, 27, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34

Sufi · 3, 26, 27


telos · 4

theism · 4, 14, 17, 22, 32

theophany · 24, 25

transcendence · 16, 21, 34

transubstantiation · 15


universal · 30, 34

universality · 27, 29


Varnier · 31

[1]        From on 15 May 2012.