This is a short introduction to the nature of Decentering Practices and Atheism for Lent. We look at what it means to embrace a type of dis-course that sends you off course, and the positive power of negative thinking.
In this third look at guilt I explore what it might mean to have a desire that isn't the desire of the Other. This leads us into an understanding of what freedom might look like. If you're interested in deeper explorations of these ideas, jump on over to my Patreon.
This is a second short reflection on the idea of guilt that I did in response to some questions I received. Here I talk about the nature of Law, the desire for transgression, and the possibility of moving beyond this dyad.
In this short reflection I give an introduction to Lacan's famous aphorism "The only thing of which one can be guilty is of having given ground relative to one's desire". If you'd like more in-depth seminars, please visit my patreon.
I'm joined by Sean McDonald, who is a Lacanian psychoanalytic psychotherapist with a private practice in Los Angeles. In this conversation we talk about Christmas and the oppressive injunction 'Enjoy!', what psychoanalysis offers as an alternative to this, and the relationship between clinical psychoanalysis and Pyrotheology.
This is the second seminar in my Dialectics of God course. Here I explore the Radical Theologian in William Hamilton's categories of Detective, Assassin and Artist. We look at what it might mean for God to die in a cosmic sense, and touch on the connection between Altizer's work and pyrotheology.
Here is part three of The Dialectics of God. In this seminar I look at an essay by Altizer that argues for a theological vocation that fully embraces the profane without limit. An embrace that affirms life. And one that will give birth to a new epoch in faith.
The Zizek/Peterson debate is one of the most controversial and talked about events in the intellectual world since Foucault sat down with Chomsky. Whether it's outrage, anticipation or confusion, this event has caught the attention of millions. While both engage in the same trinity of issues: Christianity, Politics and Subjectivity, their perspectives are profoundly different. On one side we have Peterson's Clinical Psychology reading - influenced by Jung - while Zizek represents a Dialectic approach that brings together Hegel, Freud and Marx.
This is the second part of the pyroseminar on that debate. In this talk I offer a commentary.
This is an introduction to the Zizek/Peterson debate that I did live on the night. I should point out that I tried not to engage in any personal reflections on how I rate the intellectual status of the thinkers. But that could lead people to think that I place them on the same level. I should say that this is not the case. Zizek is a first rate, multilingual philosopher who has written over 50 books in various languages, many of which have contributed significantly to the fields of philosophy, political theory, theology and psychoanalysis. In contrast Peterson is a college professor with two books (one academic, the other self-help), who came to prominence because of his stance on Identity Politics. They both have significant platforms, but they should not be seen as comparable regarding their contributions to the academic world.
In this talk, I look at Pyrotheology as a theory and technology of fundamental transformation. I dig deep into what it means to undergo the death of God objectively, subjectively and unconsciously, before exploring what is born in the aftermath of this event. This talk explores what it means to undergo a fundamental shift in the way that we desire, a shift that enables us to live in the world without being of the world.
This is a chance to get a basic introduction to Peter’s work. While other people will be off on a tour of the city, you can get the chance to sit with Peter and talk about the basics of pyrotheology. The material will be old hat to those who have been following him for a while, but great for people who are just kicking off.
Every month, for over two years, I offer seminars on my Patreon page. This is a recent one that explores a number of integrated themes that explore what the word salvation refers to. In it I present what it means to enter into a different type of desire/being in which we are able to experience true joy that is freed from a frantic pursuit of some object that will complete us. It's a mix of philosophy, theology and psychoanalysis that might help contribute to your personal well being. And, if nothing else, you'll learn about some interesting concepts!
If you'd like to get access to the rest of the seminars, visit pyrotheology.com
Here I talk about some dangers within the new spirituality industry. I look at Splitting, the Beautiful Soul, Reaction Formation and new fundamentalisms. I touch on the popular move from Confessional Religion to New Age Spiritualities and the idea of The Last Guru. For more content, visit pyrotheology.com
This is a talk I gave at conference is Boise University that aimed at exploring the work and world of popular speaker Jordan Peterson. In contrast to the growing body of work that shows how Peterson misunderstands and misreads many of the theorists he references, I want to concentrate on one of the people he reads well: Carl Jung. I aim to show that Jungian theory lies at the very heart of Peterson's understanding of subjectivity, his views on religion and his political orientation.
In this seminar I'll be showing how Jung's fundamentally religious orientation differs from the central insights of psychoanalysis, and how it leads to Peterson's conservative understanding of Christianity and reactionary political vision. A vision that ultimately sustains the very progressive politics he fights against.
It could be argued that the central question throughout the history of Christianity has revolved around the best way to interpret the Crucifixion. Yet this discussion has by no means been restricted to the confessional church. Indeed many prominent philosophers have taken a deep interest in the Crucifixion and reflected on its significance. In contrast to religious interpretations - that connect the atonement with theism, meaning and reconciliation - this Seminar explores a pyrotheological approach that sees the Crucifixion as expressing a form of life marked by the end of religion, the loss of meaning and the embrace of the absurd.
To compliment the short film Making Love, we created a 40 minute commentary in which I explore the philosophical and theological themes that animate the movie (along with the relevant clips). This is the audio from that commentary. To see the video, visit my youtube page.
While commentaries are often optional extras in movies, I see this as a vital, enmeshed, part of this project. Our aim is for the movie and the commentary to work together in enriching and deepening the insights of the viewer. It’s a model I’ve tried to use in my books, especially How (Not) to Speak of God - which played on the movement between the intellectual and existential dimensions of Pyrotheology.
In 2018 I joined Rob Bell on his Holy Shift tour. This is a recording from one of the stops. In my talk I explored the idea that the Holy can be approached as a wholly other dimension that cuts across our being. A dimension that we attempt to hide from and ignore. Yet the more we ignore it, the more this wholly other dimension creates unholy hell in our lives. In contrast, if we are able to turn our attention towards it, and orient ourselves to its tremor, it can bring new life to us. If you would like to support me and get more content, visit pyrotheology.com.
Once a month I give online seminars via Patreon. I occasionally put some up here. If you'd like the full set, visit pyrotheology.com.
In this seminar I offer a framework that enables people to see how religious ideology functions, what a pyrotheological reading of Christianity entails, and how this is practiced in community. During the seminar I’ll be showing how religious ideology continues to function within secular spaces and offer a religionless reading of Christianity that aims squarely at eviscerating this way of operating in the world.
In doing this I draw out the main difference between pyrotheology and things like Depth Psychology, the Enneagram, Humanism, Progressive Christianity and Liberal Christianity.
In this short reflection I use Tillich's idea of Ultimate Concern to introduce one of the basic aims of Pyrotheology. To learn more about Pyrotheology, check out the pyro-seminars on my Patreon. If you want to take a deep dive into Tillich's notion of Ultimate Concern, check out my course 'Find and You Will Seek' on my website.
Find and You Will Seek: https://peterrollins.com/advent
In this podcast I explore the roots of modern notions of romance, the impossibility of relationships, and how to turn that impossibility into something truly beautiful. I even give a little relationship advice at the end!
Does thinking get us anywhere? Is relativism possible? What can we know? In this seminar I explore Speculative Philosophy through the lens of Paul Tillich's book My Search for Absolutes. To hear my full set of lectures on this book, visit peterrollins.com and get my Find and You Will Seek course.
From a philosophical point of view, Advent can be seen as a time when we might open ourselves up to the thought of the Infinite erupting in the heart of Finite. Beyond its narrowly religious meaning, we can say that the word 'Incarnation' articulates the idea of Truth being enfleshed in the world.
This provides the perfect opportunity for me to offer an Advent course on one of my favorite books by Paul Tillich. The book is based on a series of lectures that Tillich gave shortly before his death, and it represents his last important work. It also happens to be his most personal work, and one of the clearest overviews of his life project.
The lectures explore Tillich’s lifelong search for the Absolute, and draw out how he viewed this passionate search as itself the evidence that the Absolute he sought had already been found.
During this course we’ll confront a powerful argument, beautifully articulated, that explores how ‘seeking’ and ‘finding’ are intimately intertwined. An argument that provides a way to avoid both fundamentalism on one hand and relativism on the other.
By doing this course, you will gain a powerful way of understanding the relationship between faith and doubt, grasp what Tillich means by ‘the God beyond God’, and gain an appreciation of how we might already be grounded in the truth that we seek.
If you'd like to join me for this advent course, just jump onto my website or click peterrollins.com/advent
In this short reflection I outline one of the central differences between Jung's Analytical Psychology and Freud's Psychoanalysis. This is a reflection that is based on a talk I recently gave on a critical assessment of Jordan Peterson's work.
How does ideology prevent us from touching antagonism, how does it function in religion, and is there a religionless way of articulating faith. Click here to get the course I talk about in the video: https://peterrollins.com/beyond-belief
This is part of an interview I did with the writer, performer and cult leader Maggie Rowe originally done for my Patreon page. Maggie is an actress, writer and performer. Maggie has written screenplays for films including Bright Day! and Out West, for TV shows such as Flaked and Arrested Development, and created the stage productions for Hollywood Hell House, Hollywood Purity Ball, Lawyer Cop Doctors, and Pretty Good Show). She has also edited a book of personal essays called Dirty Laundry, and even founded a satirical religion called Pyrasphere. In addition to all this she has produced and regularly performed in the spoken word show sitnspin (created by Jill Soloway) at the Comedy Central stage. Her latest book is called Sin Bravely: A Memoir of Spiritual Disobedience.
One of C.S. Lewis’ most interesting and intriguing works is a short story entitled ‘Light’. A huge amount of controversy and mythology surrounds the text itself, and it was never published in his lifetime. Indeed, its final form wasn’t published until two decades after his death. This is a dark story that reads like something penned by Jean-Paul Sartre or Camus.
In this seminar I offer a close reading of the story and use it to unpack the nature of desire, the madness that comes from certainty and the nature of the Sublime. I’ll employ the story as a means of shedding light on Lacan’s enigmatic statement, “do not give way on your desire” and draw out the difference between fundamentalist fanaticism and a healthy celebration of the Sublime.
In 2017 Peter was a guest on Moshe Kasher's Hound Tall, along with Nick Thune, Sara Schafer and Kurt Metzger. It's a pretty crazy interview with some magical moments sprinkled through the comedy chaos.
One of the greatest comedic characters to come out of the UK in recent years is undoubtably David Brent. Created and performed by Ricky Gervas, Brent is a pitiful character; constantly hiding from his self-loathing by unsuccessfully trying to play the part of a successful, funny, attractive and popular Renaissance Man.
In the figure of Brent, Gervas has been able to create a character who manifestly wrestles with repression, neurotic symptoms, and eruptions of the unconscious. However, while the character is largely comic, there is a tragic element to him that is fleshed out at the end of The Office and at the conclusion of the movie David Brent: Life on the Road.
In this Pyro-seminar, I’ll be using Brent as an example of the universal struggle that is human existence. Not only that, but I’ll be showing how Brent can show us how to bear the weight of that struggle and find a depth of meaning.
With the help of Brent, I'll attempt to delineate the type of freedom that a pyrotheological community offers.
In this seminar from 2014, Peter explores how the categories of Idiot, Imbecile and Moron can give us insight into different ways of engaging with the social order, and touches on the theological significance of this in relation to the theme of conversion
This is the introductory talk from Wake 2018. In it I talk about how Pyrotheology relates to the notion of Lack. It deals with some of the material I wanted to cover, but I never got to the theme of Idolatry that was my original aim, so I'll cover that at a later date. I also thought I'd give you a little taste of Adam at the beginning (the friend who I run Wake with).
What if the problem with meditation as it's mostly practiced in contemporary society, isn't that it doesn't work, but that it does. That it helps us to integrate more seamlessly into our world, minimizing our discontent, rather than helping us mobilize and enjoy our discontent.
This was the first ever pyroseminar, from 2016. In it Peter explores the idea of the absurd and religionless Christianity. For over 30 hours of pyroseminars (video and audio), become a Flame at pyrotheology.com.
In June 2014 gave a lecture where he offers some thoughts on modern Christianity and some of his theological explorations, followed by a Q&A time with Pete and Barry Taylor, Brehm Center professor of arts and culture.
I recently finished a nine week book study on a text called Christ and the End of Meaning, by Paul Hessert. The book itself argues that Christianity, far from offering a set of beliefs about the meaning of the world, is a form of existence that embraces and celebrates the end of meaning. In this seminar I outline his argument and draw out how it has been important to the development of Pyrotheology.
Here I talk a little about how grace functions in the everyday sense, and how this needs to be distinguished from its offense theological meaning.
If you'd like to get more content like this and be involved in our "Non-Membership" community, click the link: peterrollins.com/patreon
With traumatic events like those witnessed in Charlottesville, we’re faced with the challenge of how to read, and respond to, the rise of right wing organizations. In the current climate of political unrest, there are groups who wish to mobilize discontent around the figure of a scapegoat. Some group that can be held responsible for real political, economic and cultural antagonisms.
In this seminar we explore a theoretical framework that can help us interpret the rise of extremism and understand how to develop an effective response. Beyond condemnation and calls for love, we look at how a pyrotheological reading of Christianity can help us actively forge micro-societies of resistance that can positively transform our political landscape.