Simon’s book, The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology must be read as throwing down a great risk. Simon enters into the theological and the political domain in ways that are offensive to how these very terms have been shaped in order to stifle action, subjectivity, and even faith itself in the very name of the political and the theological.
A few radical thinkers have recently risked thinking otherwise about theology and the political. But for the most part professors (especially in the context of America) have not been willing to risk thinking otherwise about religion and the political for reasons that can only be explained by how much academic speak has been policed by the assumption that the student is little more than a passive consumer in need of placation through reinforcing their unconscious assumptions (conservative or liberal) in the pretension of being “critical” and “objective.”
Religious truth is like troth, the experience of fidelity where one is affianced and then betrothed. What is true, then, is an experience of faith, and this is as true for agnostics and atheists as it is for theists. Those who cannot believe still require religious truth and a framework of ritual in which they can believe. At the core of Wilde’s remark is the seemingly contradictory idea of the faith of the faithless and the belief of unbelievers, a faith which does not give up on the idea of truth, but transfigures its meaning.