appealing to eco-theology
Spurred by a post by Peter Gratton and its ensuing interchange (see here), I’ve been preoccupied today by questions about Derrida’s relationship to (mostly Christian) theology, to atheism, and to science… and at the same time, about the relationships between religion, science, and especially (thanks to Tim Morton’s comments) ecology. I won’t repeat here what I already said on Gratton’s blog about my take on Derrida, theology, and especially those who want to save Derrida from theology (e.g., Martin Hägglund, whose reading of Derrida I will say again is right on except to the extent that Hägglund seems to want to disqualify any religious appropriation of him).
The relationship between theology and ecological thought, however, I think can be (indeed, already is) particularly fruitful within the context of a thinking of radical finitude. While I do think that there are many resources in Derrida for pursuing this line of thought, what came to my mind on this point is a paper by Latour from a couple of years ago (and I of course continue to insist that Derrida’s and Latour’s positions have several significant commonalities). In the paper, “Will Non-Humans Be Saved?” (available on his website), Latour argues for an ecological theology that would articulate a relation not between religion (again, confining ourselves to Christianity for the moment) and the “nature” of modernity but rather between religion and the entities (objects, actants) that relate to and interconnect with one another in order to endure and persist as real (or not). The punchline of his argument is that what best allows religion to productively interweave itself among the “creativity” and “reproduction” of entities – in other words to concern itself with immanence, although thinking about immanence changes much of its resonance if we abandon transcendence in the traditional sense – turns out to be Darwinian theory! So, if we follow Latour here, we might be able to read Darwin and St. Paul (and perhaps some early Greek theology) together after all.