Sweet Taste of (Western) Religion. Confectionery Metaphors, Buddhism and Christianity in Slavoj Žižek and Steve Bruce
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In his reflection on the declining importance of religion in the modern world, Max Weber - a late nineteenth century German political economist and sociologist - observed that people in the West are growing religiously "unmusical." A twentieth century inheritor of Weber's ideas, Steve Bruce, expands on Weber's metaphorical observations in two ways. On the one hand, he develops Weber's music metaphor, and compares the contemporary character of religiosity in the West to the aborted attempts of tonedeaf and atomised players to produced melodies: Like the truly tonedeaf, we know about music, we know that many people feel strongly about it, we might even be persuaded that, in some social sense, it is a good thing, but still it means nothing to us. [...] The orchestras and mass bands with their thunderous symphonies have gone. Handfuls of us will be enthusiastic music-makers but, because we no longer follow one score, we cannot produce the melodies to rouse the masses. (Bruce 234) On the other hand, Bruce offers a different image of contemporary religiosity - a confectionery metaphor in the context of which religion in the West loses its acoustic quality and aquires sweet taste. In the present article, I read Bruce's sweet metaphor together with another confectionery image related to Western spirituality - Slavoj Žižek's the Kinder Surprise egg - and focus on the status and implications of Asian religions and their relationship with Christianity in the two thinkers' chocolate metaphorics. The section titles in my article allude to Bruce's and Žižek's sweet metaphors.
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