Religion, Theology, and the Human Sciences

By Richard H. Roberts | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
Identity as vocation: the prospect for religion

It now remains briefly to review in retrospect the contents of this book, and then to consider both what the prospect for religion might be and how reflection that persists in regarding the religious dimension as of central importance to an evolving human condition might evolve. The first part of this book began with an examination of Francis Fukuyama's assertion of the 'End of History' and then of the much-proclaimed assertion that 'capitalism has triumphed'. In effect, Fukuyama may be understood as the modern-day equivalent of a right-wing but non-theistic Hegelian who extends and transposes Hegel's equation of the real and the rational in the Philosophie des Rechts from the Prussian state to the global totality of 'liberal democratic capitalism'. We then traced out on the levels of global ideology, the Thatcherite revolution from above, the ingestion of spirituality into management training and consultancy, and the massified production of a skill-bearing 'product' in British universities, respectively, as a complex process of advanced capitalist 'normalisation' in which commodification now extends in virtually unbroken interconnection from the reconfiguration of globality down to each individual mind – or 'soul'. The 'normalisation' or mopping up operation that has taken place after the collapse of communist socialism has involved a cyclic process in which a discourse replete with key topoi or commonplaces inspired by resonant metaphors is proclaimed and then translated as 'vision' from metaphor into a managed and increasingly managerialised socio-cultural reality. This managerial modernity confronts humankind at every quarter, thus posing the question of how effectively the religious dimensions of tradition and experience may have moderated or critically impeded what now appears as a seemingly unassailable, even terminal transmogrification of the (post-)human condition. The emergence of new mutual synergies was detected; these were innovative elective affinities between religion (or quasi-religion) and social reality that are culturally located in the manipulation of the groundlessness of

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