In his new book, Hope in a Secular Age: Deconstruction, Negative Theology, and the Future of Faith (Cambridge University Press, 2020), David Newheiser argues that hope is the indispensable precondition of religious practice and secular politics. Against dogmatic complacency and despairing resignation, he argues that hope sustains commitments that remain vulnerable to disappointment. The line of thinking goes that, since the discipline of hope is shared by believers and unbelievers alike, its persistence indicates that faith has a future in a secular age.
Drawing on premodern theology and postmodern theory, Newheiser shows that atheism and Christianity have more in common than they often acknowledge. Writing in a clear and engaging style, he develops a new reading of deconstruction and negative theology, arguing that (despite their differences) they share a self-critical hope. By retrieving texts and traditions that are rarely read together, this book offers a major intervention in debates over the place of religion in public life.
David Newheiser is a research fellow in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at Australian Catholic University. His research draws on Christian thought and continental philosophy to address topics such as neoliberalism, sexuality, atheism, and the arts.
Carrie Lynn Evans is a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec City.