The religious turn in continental philosophy has opened the door for postmetaphysical mystical theology. Postmetaphysical mystical theology seeks to understand the non-relation relation of language (text) to the Other. Yet, this non-relation relation to the Other, who is every other, can also be interpreted differently to the mystical understanding. For example, Žižek argues that the Other, which is often experienced as the uncanny, the unpredictable and the contingent (lived spirituality), is not necessarily the result of some mystical unknowable Otherness but is a consequence of the way the subject’s own activity is inscribed into reality. These experiences of lived spirituality or experiences of Otherness can, rather than being interpreted as an in-breaking of the mystical Other, be interpreted otherwise, as a grammatological consequence of the inability and impossibility of language (Lacan). Therefore, in this article, Žižek’s thoughts function as a bridge to bring this mystical turn back into critical conversation with continental philosophy and particularly with the thoughts of Derrida, Laruelle and Stiegler. The contemporary mystical turn in theology rediscovers something of this non-religious religion. Derrida’s thoughts are in close proximity to negative theology and yet there is an important difference. This difference will be explored and further developed towards Laruelle’s non-philosophy, which does not translate into a non-religion religion or postmetaphysical metaphysics but remains a non-philosophy or maybe a science of Christ. This article will conclude with a tentative exploration of a postmetaphysical Christ-poetics beyond the mystical turn.
This research is part of the research project ‘Towards a practical postfoundational theology as public theology in response to the challenges of lived religion in contemporary Southern Africa’, directed by Prof. Dr Johann-Albrecht Meylahn, Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa.