Over at the Religion and Ethics blog of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Slavoj Žižek has written an opinion piece on what he views as the aspect of the Christian legacy that is most important for radical politics today—atheism. Echoing arguments he has previously made in The Fragile Absolute, he suggests that within Christianity there is a kernel of radical politics that challenges the dominant social order. Offering an against-the-grain reading of agape and kenosis, he writes:
For this reason, Christianity is anti-wisdom: wisdom tells us that our efforts are in vain, that everything ends in chaos, while Christianity madly insists on the impossible. Love, especially a Christian one, is definitely not wise. This is why Paul said: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise” (“Sapientiam sapientum perdam,” as his saying is usually known in Latin).
We should take the term “wisdom” literally here: it is wisdom (in the sense of “realistic” acceptance of the way things are) that Paul is challenging, not knowledge as such. With regard to social order, this means that the authentic Christian tradition rejects the wisdom that the hierarchic order is our fate, that all attempts to mess with it and create another egalitarian order have to end up in destructive horror.
Agape as political love means that unconditional, egalitarian love for one’s neighbour can serve as the foundation for a new order. The form of appearance of this love is what we might also call the idea of communism: the urge to realise an egalitarian social order of solidarity.
Read the full piece here.