Crediting God: Sovereignty and Religion in the Age of Global Capitalism

By Miguel Vatter | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION
Crediting God with Sovereignty

MIGUEL VATTER

The rise of religious fundamentalism in the closing decades of the twentieth century continues to have enormous repercussions not only for politics, but also for the disciplines of the human sciences, philosophy, and theology. The sociology of religion, perhaps the paradigmatic achievement of the discipline of sociology, has been dealing with the effects of the crisis of its theories of secularization. The so-called deprivatization of religion has forced on the table the old-age question of the relation between God and society, or faith and the constitution of community, with the added complication that the community at stake nowadays is a global one.1 Political economy, whether one takes a Marxist or Simmelian approach, is structurally dependent on the idea of credit, which in turn is also ultimately rooted in an understanding of trust and faith, which are difficult to disentangle from theology.2 Philosophy, for its part, is coming to terms with an intuition already prefigured by Hermann Cohen, and now voiced by such diverse thinkers as Jacques Derrida, Jürgen Habermas, and Hilary Putnam, among others, that no philosophical (“scientific”) foundation of ethics can hope to capture the full grammar of justice (which thus seems to call upon resources that are to be found only in religious experience).3 Furthermore, the deconstruction of metaphysics initiated by Heidegger and Wittgenstein, and the shadow it has since cast on the status

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