Friday, June 09, 2006

Political priests and Sectarian Theologians: is the shrine empty?

(continuing on...)

It goes like this: The priests of the ‘empty shrine’ (like Stout and Laclau) see a religious community making substantive (and theological) claims about itself and politics in general. To the priests this is an attempt at creating a particularist identity without reference to the larger context (the secularizing context), and therefore sectarian. The theologians counter that they are indeed making reference to the context, and that they are even trying to change the context. But the priests reply that the theologians are closing down discussion (rather than opening it up) because they are attempting to fill the ‘empty shrine’ with their particular god. But by definition the shrine must remain empty, otherwise political disagreement will revert back to sectarian violence. So the priest remind the theologian, either enter politic by acknowledging the ‘empty shrine’, or continue in your sectarian complacency and complaining.

It seems some in the EC are opting to endorse the ‘empty shrine’ approach of modern democracy, seeing no alternative in their compulsion (which is good) to bring their faith out the private realm into the public, this is their equating the 'empty signifier' with the 'empty shrine'.

But might what we think is 'empty' is really a cover for both the invisible idols of nationalism and capitalism?

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