Page 1

Simon Critchley Tough Love: A Response to Richard J. Bernstein’s “Is Politics ‘Practicable’ without Religion?” i’m inclined to agree with what richard j. bernstein writes about The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology in his essay included in this volume. For those readers with some acquaintance with my work, it might seem odd that I have written a book dealing with questions of religion and faith. Elsewhere, of course, I assert that philosophy begins in disappointment, notably religious disappointment—that is to say, crudely stated, the death of God. Nothing in The Faith of the Faithless contradicts this claim. When I talk about faith, it is not at all a matter of belief in the existence of some metaphysical reality like God. My conception of faith—as fidelity to the infinite demand—is not just shared by the denominationally faithless or unbelievers, but can be experienced by them in an exemplary way. Faith is not, then, necessarily theistic. However, and this has also been a constant concern of my work, an atheistic conception of faith should not be triumphalist. I have little sympathy for the evangelical atheism of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens that sees God and religion as some sort of historical error that has happily been corrected and refuted by scientific progress. On the contrary, the religious tradition with which I am most familiar—broadly Judeo-Christian—offers a powerful way of articulating questions of the ultimate meaning and value of human life in

social research Vol. 80 : No. 1 : Spring 2013 57

Profile for h c

Tough Love: A Response to Richard J. Bernstein’s “Is Politics ‘Practicable’without Religion?”  

Simon Critchley's response to Richard Bernstein's review of "The Faith of the Faithless"

Tough Love: A Response to Richard J. Bernstein’s “Is Politics ‘Practicable’without Religion?”  

Simon Critchley's response to Richard Bernstein's review of "The Faith of the Faithless"

Profile for odradek75