course outline

  1. A Religionless Reading of Christianity

  2. The World Come of Age

  3. The Affirmation of Life

  4. A Faith at the Center

  5. A Secular Faith

Religionless Christianity

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945) is one of the most well known theologians and activists of the 20th century. In April 1943, he was arrested for his part in a plot to assassinate Hitler. Initially held in Tegel prison, he was eventually transferred to a Nazi concentration camp and executed.

While in prison, Bonhoeffer started reflecting on the future of Christianity, predicting the possibility of a bold new reformation that he called "Religionless Christianity". A reformation that would subvert the distinction between theist and atheist, decommission the border seperating sacred from secular, and strip Christianity of its tattered religious worldview. For him, faith is not concerned with believing certain things about the world, but rather expresses an incendiary form of being in the world. It is a defiant, counter-cultural affirmation of existence that stands against all forms of oppression in its joyful affirmation of life.

Bonhoeffer's writings on this new vision are fragmentary, and his longing to write something more systematic was never realized. But these fragments, like Pascal's Pensées, have had a profound impact. Not only have they been widely discussed within Confessional settings (such as Progressive Evangelicalism and Liberation Theology), but they have been important in the ongoing development of Radical Theology. His writings even anticipate some of the themes developed within the Lacanian Theology of Zizek.

These writings provide an excellent grounding for anyone interested in understanding Radical Theology more generally, and Pyrotheology in particular.

The course comes with a PDF containing Bonhoeffer’s writings on Religionless Christianity.

Religionless Christianity
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