Everyone wants to be a materialist

Everyone wants to be a materialist July 9, 2014

Materialism just isn’t what it used to be. Nowadays everyone wants to be a materialist, even the theologians, while the materialists want to look like they lead a spiritual life. The battle that is joined today is no longer between materialism and idealism, or hard-nosed Newtonians and far out spirit-seers, but between “materialist materialism” and “theological materialism”, between crude soulless materialism and materialism with spirit, a materialism of the spirit, a religious materialism.

These are the first two sentences of John D. Caputo’s review of The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic?, by Slavoj Žižek and John Milbank. I nearly laughed out loud when I read this. It rings so true!

The rest of the review is fascinating as well, if you’re into this sort of thing. Here’s another quote I found interesting—

Žižek has not the slightest compunction about invoking violence and he owes it to his readers to be clear about what he means, how far he would go and under what circumstances. Milbank on the other hand batters our ears with a barrage of rhetorical violence, with the vintage violence of theological imperialism — is there any other? — a disturbing and dogmatic theological dismissiveness of anyone who disagrees with him — or, as it is more and more turning out, with the metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas. Milbank and the authors who swim around him in the “school” of “Radical Orthodoxy” flatter themselves with the insufferable conceit that the entire world may be divided into either medieval Thomistic metaphysicians — or nihilists! They remind us, in case we might have forgotten, why no one trusts theology.


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