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“These days, the prominent point of view is that of the innocent gaze confronting unspeakable Evil which struck from the Outside – and again, apropos of this gaze, we should summon up the strength to apply it to Hegel’s well-known dictum that Evil resides (also) in the innocent gaze itself which perceives Evil all around… it means that the justice exerted  must be truly infinite in the strict Hegelian sense – that, in relating to others, it has to relate to itself: in short, that it has to ask how we ourselves, who exert justice are involved in what we fight against. When, on September 22, 2001, Jacques Derrida received the Theodor Adorno award, he referred in his speech to the WTC attacks: ‘My unconditional compassion, addressed at the victims of September 11, does not prevent me from saying aloud: with regard to this crime, I do not believe that anyone is politically guiltless.’ This self-relating, this inclusion of oneself in the picture, is the only true ‘infinite justice’.” (Slavoj Zizek, Welcome to the Desert of the Real, pg. 56-57.)

I am very sympathetic to Zizek’s analysis here. I think of the Christian prohibition against judgment of the Other. When we step into the role of judge, we act as if we are not in a similar position as the accused – in effect, we become God. What we need is a sort of Husserlian turn in our ethics – we must understand ourselves as having a being whose subjectivity is constituted relationally. Any notion of an individual, ontic (consumer) subject is phantasmatic. “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)

This has brought up another tangent in my mind, so bare with me here. If we were to consider the biblical drama (OT more specifically) as a form of the Hegelian “bad infinity”, then would the Incarnation be an example of this Hegelian solidarity with Evil? Did Christ become like us, and suffer like us in order to deliver us from this eternal return of dialectical Evil?

In addition to this, when evangelicals speak of God as Judge, are we falling into the use of the Lacanian “Master Signifier” (that which represses the Real through ungrounded and arbitrary violence)? I often think that this kind of language (and many of the pictures of God in the OT; e.g. Job, Habbakkuk, etc.) is exactly that. How can we solve this? Maybe Barth’s picture of the atonement (the Judge judged in our place) will aid us here. If we see this through the lens of divine actualism (God’s being is identical with God’s decision/action), then perhaps God’s free choice of forgiving the sins of mankind through Christ erases the charges of the Master Signifier. Maybe the beauty of God, the divine Judge, is that He categorically refuses to Judge at all – is that not the beauty of the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”?

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