In Chapter 5, the difficult relationship amongst queer, leftist, feminist and critical formations and religious concepts as well as theological discourses – which are per se rejected as conservative, restrictive and patriarchal – are discussed. In bringing together theory of religion and political theology, the artificial separation of “secular” and “religious” which supports the resurgence of global fundamentalism is tackled.
Drawing on Talal Asad and Tomoku Masuzawa, it is shown how the “secular”, no less than “religion”, should be perceived as a constructed category of knowledge. Furthermore, operating modes of a binary essentialised construct of the secular as “rational, scientific, enlightened, non-denominational” versus “oppressive, terrorist, obsolete” belief is analysed. The chapter discusses the proposals of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Achille Mbembe and Jasbir Puar and their re-appropriations of marginalised and broken bodies as opposed to the “Western” Foucauldian subject, who might only be deciphered in the body language of suicide and self-extinction.
A critical analysis of the reflections of these theories underlines that they are unable to escape the subject configuration of “Western” discourse in the imagination of visible or potential forms of agency and, moreover, do not take into account the religious aspects of their reasoning. The suggested concept, which itself makes criticism of power and critique of epistemic violence at the level of human life, opens up new spaces for subject formation and agency, especially in the religious sphere. With Saba Mahmood, one pleads for new ways of life that are characterised by temporary alliances and inconsistent, contextual performances – a field of projects towards futurity with the aim of “human flourishing”.