March 12, 2015 Editor

Politics and Religion in the Thought of Ivan Illich

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WN: This paper is on David Cayley’s website here. You may read about David Cayley here.

David has broadcast and written about Ivan Illich numerous times. He is currently (2015) working on yet another book on him. (Update: published in 2021 and clickable.)

An excerpt:

One could say a lot more about the segregation of the secular from the religious in the modern world, and about the fateful imperial reorganization of other civilizations and cultures along these lines during the colonial era, but the point that I want to make here is that this whole mythology has come undone in our time – undone to the extent that, in some circles at least, one hardly needs to argue the point any more. There are a lot of people to whom it now seems obvious that religion and politics were never really separate – we can see, for example, that millenarian political ideologies like Communism were transpositions of Judaeo-Christian originals, that civilizations are spun out of something more fundamental than either reason or belief, that we enter public and political life as all that we are and not just as disinterested and disembodied units of discourse, that there will always be a sacred – something for which we will sacrifice – because it’s in the nature of human beings to produce one. The holy, as William Cavanaugh says, only migrates, never disappears, and, in the modern era, it is as likely to appear in the trappings of the state as of the church – in fact, at the moment, in countries like mine and yours, one can probably more safely abuse religious symbols than desecrate a flag or some other sign of the state.

Please click on: Politics and Religion in the Thought of Ivan Illich

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.

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