The first in a series of lectures on the Future of Christian Philosophy, William Desmond, PhD. from Villanova University will give a lecture titled "Christ-Haunted Philosophy and the Christening of Contemporary Thought."
There are different relations possible between philosophy and Christianity. I want to propose what I call a companioning relation of philosophy and religion/theology. There is a pre-Christianity to philosophy; there have been periods when Christianity and philosophy were not foes or siloed from each other; there have also been apartheids between philosophy and Christianity. We live in the wake of a de-Christianizing of culture in which philosophy and Christianity are thought by some to have less and less to do with each other. Some of this flows from an insistence on the freedom of philosophy, understood in terms of thought as essentially self-determining, defined through itself alone. I ask how a companioning relation is possible if we insist on a univocal identification of freedom with autonomy. “Being free” can take form diversely. And even if one of freedom’s forms is autonomy, this may not be the best way of thinking of philosophy’s being free, or its being freed, in its relation generally to religion, and more particularly in relation to Christianity. In an ethos of thought which shows even hostility to Christianity, is it possible for philosophical thinking still to be Christ-haunted? What might a Christening of philosophy be like, if a companioning relation of philosophy and religion were not erased?