What are the conditions of possibility for a critique of religion in a moment when the languages of religion and politics saturate and (over)determine critical discourse? How does one critically interrogate the contemporary manifestation of the phenomenon of religion when the imbrications of religion, power, and authority are such that religion is always already reduced to a function of either power or authority? How are we to formulate the question of a critique of religion when the very languages, concepts, and theories of critique are in question? In wrestling with these questions, this essay develops the notion of theological thinking as a form of critique and a critical theoretical practice for a moment bisected by the (re)turn to theology and the seeming permanence of the theologico-political. Following the examples of James Baldwin and W. E. B. Du Bois, theological thinking outlines a practice of criticism that responds to our moment not by rejecting or reducing the presence of the theological but rather by thinking through the very heart of it in order to expose the totalizing logics within the theologico-political, all the while locating and mobilizing those discarded critical practices that illuminate new directions for constructing alternative futures.

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