Thank you to everyone who came along last night to the lecture, it was a full house and a patient crowd; it was a very dense lecture. But it seemed to be well received and I think people’s questions showed a lot had sunk in. Thank you again to Janice Harding and her wonderful Universettee for the invitation, and Sophie whose settee was employed.
My main thesis ended up being that Zizek is trying to use Christianity to create a more successful form of atheism that goes through the Judeo-Christian experience of intense Otherness, and uses its logic. This means bypassing the Resurrection of Jesus and depersonifying the Holy Spirit into a kind of community spirit. This is the big disappointment with Zizek’s conclusion; he opts for the least likely explanation of the birth of the Church – that the Disciples are so disappointed by Jesus’ murder that they are stirred into forming the Church. My thesis is that Zizek’s own logic relies upon something traumatic, not merely disappointing happening at Easter. I argue in line with NT Wright that the fact that the followers of Jesus do not go the same way as the many other messiah movements of the 1st Century when their leaders were killed hints at a trauma having happened, and the physical resurrection of Jesus would be such a trauma. If he had just died and not risen, the disciples would have ended their days fishing.
Several people asked for a copy of the lecture, so we’re going to make it available as a sound file through our website somehow.
Unanswered questions for those present: The Bhagavad Gita is a Sanskrit poem almost certainly of Hindu origin. Some say it was part of the Hindu attempt to make god more concrete and prevent followers drifting to Buddhism, others that it is pre-Buddhist entirely; my translation stresses its use by Hindus and Buddhists. Zizek obviously conflates both religions in his text because they are both pagan and point to the one-All ethical conclusion that ‘compassion is the sword’.
The three people Zizek regards as successful atheists are Hegel, Heidegger, and Lacan.