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The Religion of the Future

479 Pages · 2014 · 2.8 MB · English

  • The Religion of the Future

    The Religion of the Future The Religion of the Future


    roberto mangabeira unger


    Cambridge, Massachusetts


    London, En gland


    2014 Copyright © 2014 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College


    All rights reserved


    Printed in the United States of America


    Library of Congress Cataloging- in- Publication Data


    Unger, Roberto Mangabeira.


    Th e religion of the future / Roberto Mangabeira Unger.


    pages cm


    Includes bibliographical references and index.


    ISBN 978-0-674-72907-0 (alk. paper)


    1. Religion. 2. Forecasting. I. Title.


    BL51.U645 2014


    200—dc23


    2013034082 Contents


    1. Beyond Wishful Thinking: Life without Illusion 1


    Death 1


    Groundlessness 5


    Insatiability 17


    Belittlement 23


    Religion and the fl aws in human life 35


    Th e common element in past religious revolution 40


    What religion is, or has been 49


    2. Overcoming the World 62


    Central idea, historical presence, and metaphysical


    vision 62


    Incitements to overcoming the world 72


    Serenity and benevolence 74


    Criticism: betrayal of the past 77


    Criticism: the school of experience 80


    Criticism: betrayal of the future 84


    3. Humanizing the World 90


    Central idea, historical presence, and metaphysical


    vision 90


    Making meaning in a meaningless world 96


    Our situation and our task 98


    Th e ennoblement of our relations to one another 103


    Criticism: betrayal of the past 106


    Criticism: the school of experience 113


    Criticism: betrayal of the future 117 viii contents


    4. Struggling with the World 121


    Central idea, spoken in sacred and profane voice 121


    Metaphysical vision 125


    Conception of the self 136


    Only one regime 143


    Spirit and structure 162


    Self and others 170


    Twin orthodoxies suppressed 180


    Criticism: strength and weakness of the struggle


    with the world 182


    Criticism: estrangement from life in the present 188


    5. Religious Revolution Now: Its Occasions


    and Instruments 196


    Reasons for religious revolution 196


    Th e unique position of the struggle with the world 199


    Resolving the ambivalence of the higher religions


    to the transformation of the world 204


    Radicalizing the signifi cance of the struggle with the world


    for our ideas and institutions 207


    Achieving a greater life, without Prometheanism 213


    Recognizing the defects in human existence 216


    Occasions and sources of religious revolution 221


    In what sense a religious revolution 236


    Th e practice of religious revolution 239


    A tragic contradiction in the history of religion 245


    Philosophy and religion 250


    Direction and indirections of the religion of


    the future 255


    Christianity as the religion of the future? 257


    6. Deep Freedom: The Politics of the Religion


    of the Future 290


    Po liti cal theology without God 290


    Conception of a free society 293


    Four principles 300


    Th e principle of apostasy 303


    Th e principle of plurality 308 contents ix


    Th e principle of deep freedom 314


    Th e principle of higher cooperation 324


    7. Becoming More Human by Becoming More Godlike:


    The Conduct of Life in the Religion of the Future 341


    Th e enhancement of life 341


    Method and vision 344


    Th e overthrow: from self- subversion


    to self- transformation 355


    Virtue as self- transformation 366


    Virtues of connection 370


    Virtues of purifi cation 378


    Virtues of divinization 382


    Th e course of life: decentering 387


    Th e course of life: downfall 393


    Th e course of life: mutilation 397


    Th e course of life: mummifi cation 405


    Th e reward 438


    Countercurrents 439


    Life itself 443


    A Note on the Three Orientations and the Idea of the


    Axial Age 445


    Proper Name Index 457


    Thematic Index 459 The Religion of the Future


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