philosophy

"Croik Church, pulpit" by Lee Carson, via Flickr

Faithful Apostasy

What do the “preachers who are not believers” not believe?

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No Utopias

“Hope is a kind of religion, and religions don’t work.”

What makes you think you've got the right?

Still Just a Comic Book

Asterios Polyp and the fate of life lived through modernism.

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Theology for Atheists

At the Guardian today, I’ve got a short bit about secular, mainly Continental philosophers who, in recent years, have turned to theology: [Slavoj Zizek] is one of several leading thinkers in recent years who, though coming out of a deeply secular and often-Marxist bent, have made a turn toward theology. In 1997, Alain Badiou published…

Killing the Buddha

The Varieties of Unbelief and the Ghost of Richard Dawkins

When the City University of New York’s Graduate Center decided to convene last night’s session of its Great Issues Forum around the question, “What Are the Varieties of Unbelief?” they seem to have tried as best they could to avoid a New Atheist-style foodfight. The name itself gestures to the title of a 1964 book…

The back cover of Zizek's "The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity"

Theologians ♥ Zizek

Buddha-killer Becky and I have been in a bit of a back-and-forth lately about a peculiar phenomenon we’ve been observing: the preponderance lately of hip young Christians (and even Quakers) getting worked up about the atheist, materialist, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek. (May the bodhisattvas of multiculturalism forgive my leaving out the diacritical marks.) Last year,…

Cornel West in Examined Life.

Cornel West: Truth

A drive through Manhattan with a jazzman in the world of ideas crammed in the back seat.

Killing the Buddha

What Would Plato Do for Labor Day?

“Of the painter we say that he will paint reins, and he will paint a bit?” Socrates asks Glaucon in the epilogue to Plato’s Republic. “But does the painter know the right form of the bit and reins? Nay, hardly even the workers in brass and leather who make them; only the horseman who knows…

Killing the Buddha

The Practice of Questioning

This came in a letter from Bruce Illig: Hello Editors,  I just finished Jeff’s book [The Family], and had to subscribe to your site’s newsletter and become a facebook fan just to find a place to hide.  The amazing book answered many questions of my past 40 years, most notably the relationship between “elite” and…

"between the sheets" by ***j9*** via Flickr

Metaphysics

From Essential Stories: What is the essence of being?

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The Pleasure of Proof

I’m really pleased to report that the excellent New York Times blog Happy Days—a series of reflections on “the pursuit of what matters in troubled times”—has just posted an essay of mine: “The Self-Thinking Thought.” It’s a reflection on my experience spending part of a summer with St. Anselm, the 11th-century monk-turned-archbishop who introduced the…

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The Proof Industry

Today at The Guardian, a bit of a glimpse into my ongoing obsessions about proofs for the existence of God. Just last night, sifting through a novella I wrote as a freshman in college, I discovered a whole forgotten chapter about the proofs—for some reason, they have been following me so doggedly all these years.…

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The What of God?

A chat with Robert Wright on his new monster, The Evolution of God.

Killing the Buddha

The Metaphysics of Anxiety

An insightful note came in today from one Michael Bush, referring to the first phrase of our Manifesto, “Killing the Buddha is a religion magazine for people made anxious by churches.” He writes: To paraphrase Mrs. Roosevelt, no one can make you anxious without your permission. You might consider changing your tag line: A religion…

Cornel West

The Supreme Love and Revolutionary Funk of Dr. Cornel West, Philosopher of the Blues

(A version of this article first appeared in the May 28, 2009 Rolling Stone.) Cornel West is a slender man, but he hugs like a sumo wrestler: crouch, grab, wrap and squeeze. “I want to love everybody,” West tells me not long after he greets me at his Princeton University office with a bear hug…

Killing the Buddha

Philosophy Can Get YOU on TV

On an email list I just got this announcement. Finally all that hard philosophical thinking might pay off for some of you: ABC’s WIFE SWAP CASTING PHILOSOPHICAL THINKERS FOR PRIMETIME ABC’s primetime series “Wife Swap” is currently casting its fifth season and looking for unique families with plenty of personality to take part in the…

Killing the Buddha

Happy Easter from Cornel West

Every religious tradition has been tied into various forms of domination and subjugation. Every religious tradition has been manipulated and bastardized by elites to try to control believers. At the same time, there are always prophetic elements, dimensions, and slices of religious tradition that stand in opposition to the powers that be. Christianity itself came…

Killing the Buddha

Ars Moriendi

“To study philosophy,” wrote the French essayist Montaigne, “is to learn how to die.” In medieval times, particularly as the Black Death spread through Europe, the art of dying—ars moriendi—became the goal to which a lifetime of piety was devoted. Sure, a person can get by faking a good life. But a good death? There’s…