Agora Lecture – Gianni Vattimo: Christianity as Secularisation

August 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

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Italian philosopher and member of European Parliament Gianni Vattimo delivered the first Agora lecture. His speach discussed ideas related to the issue of modern secularisation. He started by paraphrasing Rene Girard’s idea of mimetic violence, the scapegoat mechanism as the origin of sacrifice and Christ as the innocent victim that made the notion of religious sacrafice obsolete.

According to Vattimo, one is able to combine Christianity with Nietzscheanism, for both positions disclaim the absoluteness of reality and celebrate the death of classical metaphysics. Furthermore, the incarnation of Christ means exactly the same thing as the death of God famously promoted by Nietzsche, if we understand by God an Aristotelian unmoved mover, i.e. unconditional and absolute foundation of the reality. From the classical metaphysical point of view, the Christian idea of God incarnating to a limited human being is a skandalon.

Vattimo also elaborated an ethical theory based on this unfoundationalism. From the moral perspective, the metaphysical idea of God as an unconditional being is equal to violence, that is limiting the potential of other possible actors. Vattimo quoted St. Paul’s idea of Christian caritas as an intersubjective theory of action that would recognise the equal rights of your neighbor.

Watch Vattimo’s Agora lecture:

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