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The questioning of religion is the beginning of a flood, one that cannot be contained and will soon drown every theological, political, economic, and cultural orthodoxy that pledged its allegiance to a sinking cause. We are in just such an era of revolt, and those with eyes to see are learning to interrogate motives. When we are told of an idea that cannot possibly be true The questioning of religion is the beginning of a flood, one that cannot be contained and will soon drown every theological, political, economic, and cultural orthodoxy that pledged its allegiance to a sinking cause. We are in just such an era of revolt, and those with eyes to see are learning to interrogate motives. When we are told of an idea that cannot possibly be true, the most immediate question is this: does the speaker so very foolishly believe their own words, or is the person a cynic who knows perfectly well how they manipulate the truth? As individual personalities transform into a collective drive, the aftermath is a brutal mix of motives, fictions, and anxieties. The Cynic & the Fool explores theology and politics through the lens of our unconscious motives, our clever repression, and our deceptive denial. In nine chapters interspersed with nine parables, DeLay unites psychoanalysis, philosophy, and theology together for an accessible yet critical theory of culture. There could not be a more crucial moment to settle these questions. Why do we feel such anxiety over the most abstract orthodoxies, what conflicts of interest are we facing, and why we are commanded to see the world a certain way? "At a time when vicious partisan politics has replaced the wars of religion with their odium theologicum of bygone ages, Tad DeLay's Cynic and the Fool is a must-read for thoughtful people, regardless of their ideological persuasion. Through storytelling, personal anecdote, and frequent flashes of magisterial pedagogy, DeLay entices us into confronting the knotted tangles of our own 'political unconscious' and offers us hope that we will eventually know the truth and that it might free us, even if we are in a so-called 'post-truth' era." --Carl Raschke, University of Denver; author of Critical Theology "Tad Delay continues his remarkable and insightful exploration of Lacan's work and its intersections with theology in this new book. The term psychoanalytic theology would probably not arouse too much excitement except in the most arcane of circles, but that is the arena in which Delay does his work, and it is marvelous stuff. Riffing from a Lacanian idea about the role of the cynic and fool in the political realm, he delves deep into the psyche of our times, to explore what he calls the 'dynamics of collective belief.' Delay's gift is his ability to take complex ideas and open them up so that we can all see ourselves, and each other, a bit more clearly. This new work is courageous, challenging, and so worth the journey." --Barry Taylor, Affiliate Professor of Theology and Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary "While The Cynic and the Fool offers the reader insights that feel timeless, its true power lies in its ability to offer a unique and penetrating analysis of our present age. This is a book that employs the best of psychoanalytic theory to reflect on larger, societal issues. It is a carefully crafted work that will prove invaluable to anyone wanting to wrestle with, and understand, the tumultuous times we live in." --Peter Rollins, author of The Divine Magician Tad DeLay is the author of God Is Unconscious: Psychoanalysis & Theology (2015). He holds a PhD in Religion, an MA in Philosophy, and an MA in Theology. He teaches and lives in Denver.


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The questioning of religion is the beginning of a flood, one that cannot be contained and will soon drown every theological, political, economic, and cultural orthodoxy that pledged its allegiance to a sinking cause. We are in just such an era of revolt, and those with eyes to see are learning to interrogate motives. When we are told of an idea that cannot possibly be true The questioning of religion is the beginning of a flood, one that cannot be contained and will soon drown every theological, political, economic, and cultural orthodoxy that pledged its allegiance to a sinking cause. We are in just such an era of revolt, and those with eyes to see are learning to interrogate motives. When we are told of an idea that cannot possibly be true, the most immediate question is this: does the speaker so very foolishly believe their own words, or is the person a cynic who knows perfectly well how they manipulate the truth? As individual personalities transform into a collective drive, the aftermath is a brutal mix of motives, fictions, and anxieties. The Cynic & the Fool explores theology and politics through the lens of our unconscious motives, our clever repression, and our deceptive denial. In nine chapters interspersed with nine parables, DeLay unites psychoanalysis, philosophy, and theology together for an accessible yet critical theory of culture. There could not be a more crucial moment to settle these questions. Why do we feel such anxiety over the most abstract orthodoxies, what conflicts of interest are we facing, and why we are commanded to see the world a certain way? "At a time when vicious partisan politics has replaced the wars of religion with their odium theologicum of bygone ages, Tad DeLay's Cynic and the Fool is a must-read for thoughtful people, regardless of their ideological persuasion. Through storytelling, personal anecdote, and frequent flashes of magisterial pedagogy, DeLay entices us into confronting the knotted tangles of our own 'political unconscious' and offers us hope that we will eventually know the truth and that it might free us, even if we are in a so-called 'post-truth' era." --Carl Raschke, University of Denver; author of Critical Theology "Tad Delay continues his remarkable and insightful exploration of Lacan's work and its intersections with theology in this new book. The term psychoanalytic theology would probably not arouse too much excitement except in the most arcane of circles, but that is the arena in which Delay does his work, and it is marvelous stuff. Riffing from a Lacanian idea about the role of the cynic and fool in the political realm, he delves deep into the psyche of our times, to explore what he calls the 'dynamics of collective belief.' Delay's gift is his ability to take complex ideas and open them up so that we can all see ourselves, and each other, a bit more clearly. This new work is courageous, challenging, and so worth the journey." --Barry Taylor, Affiliate Professor of Theology and Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary "While The Cynic and the Fool offers the reader insights that feel timeless, its true power lies in its ability to offer a unique and penetrating analysis of our present age. This is a book that employs the best of psychoanalytic theory to reflect on larger, societal issues. It is a carefully crafted work that will prove invaluable to anyone wanting to wrestle with, and understand, the tumultuous times we live in." --Peter Rollins, author of The Divine Magician Tad DeLay is the author of God Is Unconscious: Psychoanalysis & Theology (2015). He holds a PhD in Religion, an MA in Philosophy, and an MA in Theology. He teaches and lives in Denver.

44 review for The Cynic and the Fool: The Unconscious in Theology & Politics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Martin

    Psychoanalytic theology is just as niche as it sounds, but it's through this perceptive lens that Delay explores the invisible motives beneath our deepest held religious and political beliefs. We do not desire to know, we just desire. Delay posits (alongside psychoanalysts Freud and Lacan) that we are never wholly rational beings who desire to know truth, but that we are primarily psychological beings who desire for longings to be met. Delay essentially deconstructs the idea that our beliefs are Psychoanalytic theology is just as niche as it sounds, but it's through this perceptive lens that Delay explores the invisible motives beneath our deepest held religious and political beliefs. We do not desire to know, we just desire. Delay posits (alongside psychoanalysts Freud and Lacan) that we are never wholly rational beings who desire to know truth, but that we are primarily psychological beings who desire for longings to be met. Delay essentially deconstructs the idea that our beliefs are primarily held up by our intellect, and with this he opens a flood of questions. A flood that he hopes leads individuals to question insecure, demoralizing worldviews and leads societies to question cynical leaders who manipulate the desires of the masses. Here a couple of my favorite quotations.. "Wherever our unconscious desires wander, our conscious justifications will follow" - pg 45 "Theogy finds its greatest end in producing powerful ways to think about our anxieties" - pg 126 "A saint finds her purpose in being misremembered. The saint becomes a mantle to take up and wear like a jersey for our arbitrary teams" - pg 35 "Faith depends on unconscious pleasure, and so we hold onto our beliefs exactly as strongly as the pleasure they yield us." - pg 107 One of the most marvellous parts of the work are the provocative parables Delay beings each chapter with. They make the book stick and should render the work a worthwhile read all on their own! For all the deconstruction and prophetic pessimism Delay espouses, I was actually left feeling noticeably hopeful as I finished. I felt hopeful in dreaming that perhaps beliefs aren't as rigid or divisive as I've always thought them to be in my Evangelical upbringing. Perhaps people can find solidarity knowing we are all assembling their beliefs unto fulfilling the same psychological drives. Perhaps I can learn to interrogate my own beliefs to ask whether or not they are secretly opressing those beneath me in society. Perhaps! Overall, a provocative read and a fanstastic contemporary intro into the work of great thinkers like Freud and Lacan. I heartily recommend to those looking to get at the thing beneath the thing, and I invite any fellow readers to reach out to me to discuss!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Scott Schlotfelt

    A fascinating take on the powerful tides that sway opinion and dialogue within religion and politics. DeLay achieves both of his goals in clearly defining who plays the Cynic and the Fool in society while also explaining it in a way that the masses can easily understand. I highly recommend this book. The only reason I don't give it five stars is because it is unfortunately riddled with a surprising number of grammatical errors...the kind that Microsoft Word would not pick up but a thorough reade A fascinating take on the powerful tides that sway opinion and dialogue within religion and politics. DeLay achieves both of his goals in clearly defining who plays the Cynic and the Fool in society while also explaining it in a way that the masses can easily understand. I highly recommend this book. The only reason I don't give it five stars is because it is unfortunately riddled with a surprising number of grammatical errors...the kind that Microsoft Word would not pick up but a thorough reader will. Even so, the content is excellent and I look forward to reading another one of DeLay's works.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dave Herman

    valuable springboard into new philosophers on why it's human nature to avoid truth and value hypocrisy; his analysis, written mostly before June 2015, carries an insight into politics so accurate it appears prophetic valuable springboard into new philosophers on why it's human nature to avoid truth and value hypocrisy; his analysis, written mostly before June 2015, carries an insight into politics so accurate it appears prophetic

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    An insightful and penetrating reminder that so often it matters very little what we believe but how we believe and act in the world.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Deven Lyon

  6. 4 out of 5

    Steve Lafrance

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mason Davis

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    Roger Green

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    Kristin

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scot

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alex DiDonato

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Elaine Berbec

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    Kerin

  14. 5 out of 5

    Greg Evensen

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    Ryan Abbott

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    Joel Call

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    Scott Caver

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    The Deconstructionists

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Betts

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    Les Simar

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cody Craig

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Harder

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    Tad DeLay

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dusty

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    Chris Thompson

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    Ali M.

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    Carly Erin

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    Yasmeen

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    KJ Stone

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    Jake

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    Jarred Teague

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    Alex Livingston

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    Kevin Atkinson

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    Breana Steele

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    Adam Roberts

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    Natalie Mylnar

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    Luke Magnuson

  43. 5 out of 5

    Brittneybook Book

  44. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Teague

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