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By G. Pattison

Can theology nonetheless function within the void of post-theism? In trying to resolution this question Agnosis examines the idea that of the void itself, tracing a historical past of nothingness from Augustine via Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to Bataille and Derrida, and dialoguing with Japan's Kyoto institution philosophers. it really is argued that neither Augustinian nor post-Hegelian metaphysics have given a passable figuring out of nothingness and that we needs to glance to an adventure of nothingness because the top floor for destiny non secular lifestyles and suggestion.

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Nonetheless (and looking towards the project of German idealism) Pascal can be read as determining the scope and problematic of any future ontology that would seek to incorporate the Augustinian story of the self. At first it might seem as if the way in which Pascal frames the crisis of the divided self underlines even more strongly the singularity of the human being's subjective experience within a universe dominated by mathematically determinable laws of rigorous inflexibility. It is also striking that, in his unfinished Pensees, Pascal achieves The Augustinian Inheritance 35 this by means of a few extraordinarily condensed reflections and aphorisms.

If Augustine concedes a degree of freedom in all this, it is not so great as to legitimate the kind of talk of human merit that he ascribes to his opponents. His essential purpose remains the justification of God in the face of human complaints. As he says in responding to the Pelagian writer Julian: 'They are not, then, free from righteousness except by the choice of the will, but they do not become free from sin save by the grace of the Saviour' (APW, p. 240). Augustine returns again to Paul and, in particular, the seventh chapter of Paul's letter to the Romans where Paul is addressing the contradiction between the content of the Jewish Torah, which he affirms, and its effectiveness in bringing about the fulfilment of its own commandments.

This is the situation both of the Apostle and of all who, like him, are 'established under grace ... [but] ... not yet established in that perfect peace in which death shall be swallowed up in victory' (APW, p. 255). In this intermediate state, even though we have withdrawn our consent to sin, we still lack the power to overcome it. Indeed, in a sense, conversion intensifies the predicament of the divided self. For the turning of the will, through grace, towards the good sharpens the conflict between the different factors in the situation.

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