Radical Theology, Radical Atheism, and the Return of Anti-Religion
First, I present a critique of Hägglund’s “radical atheism” as a torso or truncated form of deconstruction, a narrow, militant logic of auto-immunity at odds with both the substance and the style of deconstruction. Hägglund uses Derrida where he can, corrects Derrida when he cannot, and ignores what he does not need. Then I present Derrida’s own deferred and deferential atheism, which destabilizes the assured binarity of theism and atheism upon which Hägglund depends. Against Hägglund’s reductionistic logic I analyze Derrida’s poetics of a “religion without religion.” Deconstruction, which cannot protect itself from religion, embraces contamination by a faith that cannot keep itself safe. As an experience of the impossible, an affirmation of the unconditional, deconstruction does not destroy religion with a hammer but reinvents it as a post-theistic prayer and desire for the undeconstructible, representing a productive intervention upon ethics, religion and theology which Derrida himself highly prized.
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