Slavoj Zizek – Calvinism is Christianity at its Purest
April 14, 2015
“Only with Protestantism did Christianity become what it always truly was.” Slavoj Žižek discusses Protestantism:
Slavoj Žižek praises Protestantism (and Pascal’s Jansenism) for its commitment to predestination, in contrast to the “obscenity” of a salvation that “depends on our good acts.” He is particularly impressed by the counter-intuitive fact of Calvinism’s incessant fervor instead of a general lethargy, since the latter would be the common sense fallout of predestination (just “sit down, read pornography, and drink lemonade”).
Žižek conceives of predestination as “an extremely refined dialectical notion,” wherein human acts are “written backwards.” The paradox of freedom, according to Žižek, is that we “constitute our very predestination.” And freedom is most purely manifest in acts of love. Love is the “ultimate free act” and “the freest act of all,” and yet it is experienced as “I cannot do otherwise.” This is true of “all great acts of freedom,” including sacrificial acts for justice.
He ends with some criticisms of Feuerbachian humanist religion.