A Dose of Caputo

As I re-read it for my thesis, I must say that Jack Caputo’s On Religion has to rank among my favorite few books that I’ve read in quite some time. Caputo brilliantly unpacks how Nietzsche’s perspectivism has had some unexpected consequences:

…what no one saw coming was the way the Nietzschean critique undoes the modernist critique of religion and opens the doors to another way of thinking about faith and reason. The result of a more sober reading of Nietzsche is not relativism and irrationalism but a heightened sense of the contingency and revisability of our constructions, not the jettisoning of reason but a redescription of reason, one that is a lot more reasonable than the bill of goods about an overarching, transhistorical Rationality that the Enlightenment tried to sell us. For that is a highly unreasonable Reason, a hyper-enlightened illusion that no one can live up to. No one foresaw that Nietzsche’s theory of fictions would converge with the biblical critique of idols, of mistaking our own graven images for the divinity. In this way of looking at things, the Enlightenment and its idea of Pure Reason are on the side of Aaron and the golden calf, while Nietzsche, God forbid, he who philosophizes with a hammer, stands on the side of Moses as a smasher of idols, and stands right beside Paul giving the Corinthians holy hell about the idols of the philosophers. That opens the door for a notion like the love of God, the idea I love most of all, to get another hearing among the intellectuals. For it is a bal Enlightenment prejudice, unvarnished reductionism, to try to run that idea out of town and to denounce it as sucking on your thumb and longing for your mommy. The name of God is the name of the impossible, and the love of God transports us beyond ourselves and the constraints imposed upon the world by what the Aufklärer called “reason” and Kant called the conditions of possiblity, transportiung us toward the impossible. Today, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud are all dead but God is doing just fine, thank you very much.

On Religion, 63-4.

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