Unfortunate Post-Secular Modernity


When a (Christian) church desires to become a state, not only does it wish to intervene in governmental affairs, but also curiously covets the very place the state cannot in principle occupy. Curiously, that place may be a non-place – both church and state must leave the place untouched, unoccupied. As a non-place – in a parody of Agamben – that place cannot be sacrificed to the totality of juridical definition. The church desires to become a state by not sacrificing its desire for resolution, speaking of which desire must also honor the non-place, the place of irresolution.

The church desires the separation of state and church. But its desire must also be sustained by the other’s desire, the state that it must in principle accuse of dishonoring the modern contract. There must be a mutual accusation so that, and here is the wonder of all, the non-place may finally acquire a legal status. On the part of the state, the non-place can now be incarcerated or killed as a last resort.

On the part of the church, the non-place can be utilized to mark the ground upon which its future is to be built; a future that must under all circumstances be prohibited to arrive as it threatens to become a future without a church. Here the notion of the katechon comes to mind. The church accuses the state of promoting the katechon – in St. Paul, it is suspected that the katechon is the Roman empire. If the empire or the state cannot assume its role as a katechon, the church must take the place of the state. The suspicion is that the state will mishandle its role. After all, the katechon begs a non-secular role.

Altogether, this point to the undecidability of final judgment. 



2 thoughts on “Unfortunate Post-Secular Modernity”

  1. A Christian desire to take the very place the state cannot in principle occupy.

    Indeed! Religious freedom should be about following your own religion. Not forcing everyone else to follow your religion. It should be about making sacrifices for your religion. Not asking everyone else to make sacrifices for your religion.

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