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stateless and nationless

More unvarnished critique of the American religion from an interview with the British academic Terry Eagleton. I think the best definition of vanity, from the point of view of Christianity, is to use scripture to cover for your largely errant belief system.  I’m using child labour; let me stress this passage on talents.  In fact let me move the talents passage to the heart of what I believe, and conveniently forget the rest.  It would also be useful and soothing to work in my nationality and its state of blessedness over all other people.  That way consequence is diminished as I do whatever I want.  Easy peasy.

Eagleton, in a mini jeremiad, says God won’t be used that way.  He won’t let you use his name in that manner.  He won’t let you take it and use it in vain for your vanity.  From the interview —

NS: Though of course the Christianity you present doesn’t sound like a lot of the Christianity one hears in the public sphere, especially in the United States.

TE: I think partly that’s because a lot the authentic meanings of the New Testament have become ideologized or mythologized away. Religion has become a very comfortable ideology for a dollar-worshipping culture. The scandal of the New Testament—the fact that it backs what America calls the losers, that it thinks the dispossessed will inherit the kingdom of God before the respectable bourgeois—all of that has been replaced, particularly in the States, by an idolatrous version. I’m presently at a university campus where we proudly proclaim the slogan “God, Country, and Notre Dame.” I think they have to be told, and indeed I have told them, that God actually takes little interest in countries. Yahweh is presented in the Jewish Bible as stateless and nationless. He can’t be used as a totem or fetish in that way. He slips out of your grasp if you try to do so. His concern is with universal humanity, not with one particular section of it. Such ideologies make it very hard to get a traditional version of Christianity across.

–Religion for Radicals: An Interview with Terry Eagleton, Nathan Schneider, The Immanent Frame

resources:

author: Terry Eagleton

interview:  Religion for Radicals: An Interview with Terry Eagleton

website: The Immanent Frame

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