My first reading of Quentin Meillassoux ended with as much angst as his contemporary respondents illustrate within their respective responses. Aside from Ray Brassier with his always clear-headed and penetrating analyses with philosophical texts, Graham Harman cannot seem to get past his Object-Oriented-Philosophy to deal with Meillassoux’s arguments fittingly and Adrian Johnston adroitly illustrates his confusion by responding to Meillassoux’s potential/ virtual argument by claiming a Spaghetti monster can be simply transposed for Meillassoux’s Virtual God of Inexistence. Furthermore, there seems to be little concern with the arguments and new methodological rationality of Quentin’s, and much more concern in simply employing his newly, taxonomically effective meme: correlationism. This has caused great concern not only as a thinker who claims to be a Christian, but more significantly, Meillassoux’s arguments seem to clear the field of “apologetic-reasonable” theology, subsequently, calling for appropriate responses from even his philosophical contemporaries – thinking here of the Speculative Realist’s in general. Thus, this led me to a search to find how Christian theologians have responded to Meillassoux’s project.
After plucking through a few blogs, articles referencing his meme, and a single book recently published by Adam Miller, I was left wondering why no Theologian has robustly responded to, again, claims I think single-handedly disavow current Christian Analytical/Continental Philosophy tout court. Due to this, I have decided to speculate with Badiou (see AF preface) there will eventually be a necessity imposed upon theologians to engage Meillassoux’s works seriously, though with Meillassoux rather than against him, and I want to suggest we can push his thought into Christological discourse.
The pre-given rubric for the journal seemed too narrow and, I think, misses the point of concern that Christians should have with Meillassoux’s argument. In this article I would like to respond to a question posed to myself after reading After Finitude. The question being:
“Does Quentin subtend the field of theology to mere phenomenological ignorance – ignorance due to an underpinning illusory notion of the yet-to-be-fully-revealed Ultimate Reason for all actualities, with its existentially inquisitive accouterment: why should I live and not drop off the face of the earth today? Thereby rendering Christian discourse impotently unaware of its non-existent ground supposedly anchoring its epistemological legitimation with its subjective consequent, existential justification: to live “ethically” in our necessitated pilgrimage, derivatively produced by our reverence for the absolute assuredly unveiling of eschatological truth; which Kant placed for us in the hazy horizon of the unthinkable, though perceptible, absolute (yet-to-be-fully-revealed)? This absolute assurety justifies all of our unfortunate pilgrimage ignorance, negligence, and suffering; thus evacuating the Christian discourse practical concomitant known as redemptive politics equally as impotent to enact and embody change in this world, or any other.”
I will begin the article outlining Meillassoux’s Principle of Factiality, which resonates more with Theology Proper – a sort of Prolegomena – as opposed to Philosophy Proper – seeing the May-Be, Be. Second, I will outline Quentin’s position on why to believe in God because he “does not exist”. This will reach out into his “Potentialities and Virtualities” article and “Divine Inexistence” fragments, and formulate a Christian response by considering Christ’s incarnation as the glimpsed virtual awaiting its possible concreteness. Put briefly, the Parousia is not a Christian delimitation of appropriating Meillassoux’s “Pure Possibility” (pure, open eschatological anticipation) because of the radical newness it proposes, found preeminently in the philosophical treatise: The book of Revelation. To conclude, I will suggest Quentin’s argument does more than eviscerate the contemporary field of Christian apologetics, I think it creatively generates an aperture for a rethinking of what it means to live as a creature of God within the world as we have it now. The aperture I see is a unique fissuring opened by Meillassoux’s claim: “the eternal in-itself, whose being is indifferent to whether or not it is thought.” (AF 63, emphasis added.)