You cannot avoid philosophy in history or theology. The frustration I feel is that academic philosophy today seems dominated by the post-modernist emphasis on the construction and deconstruction of narratives. Males and colonialists wrote history so you have to approach everything with a method of suspicion.
I am all for a pretty high level of suspicion. But everything in the past is not about contemporary political and cultural struggles. It seems to me that the use of history or theology as a tool for social justice agendas is at least as biased as an uncritical reading of old texts.
So I am heartened by certain tendencies in philosophy that leave the post-modern approach behind. I love the title of a conference held in Italy: “On the Ashes of Post-Modernism: A New Realism?”
New Realism is a thing. The Wikipedia articles says:
For New Realism, the assumption that science is not systematically the ultimate measure of truth and reality does not mean that we should abandon the notions of reality, truth or objectivity, as was posited by much twentieth century philosophy. Rather, it means that philosophy, as well as jurisprudence, linguistics or history, has something important and true to say about the world. In this context, New Realism presents itself primarily as a negative realism: the resistance that the outside world opposes to our conceptual schemes should not be seen as a failure, but as a resource – a proof of the existence of an independent world.
One of the new realists is a youngish German philosopher named Markus Gabriel. He has made the ironic argument that the world does not exist. He means that our use of terms like “the world”, “reality” and “nature” to mean an all-encompassing, God’s-eye system is sloppy and refers to something that cannot exist. So he would criticize the use of “world” in the Wikipedia article.
He sums up his view in a short and engaging TED talk.
At the end of the talk he seems to affirm atheism. But earlier he refered to God in a pantheistic way as the equivalent of “the world”. So, yes, that God does not exist. I have used a similar argument against Process Theology. I maintain that process does not exist, only processes.
So what possibilities would there be for a philosophy of history and a theology that reject all the post-Kantian questioning of our access to facts and take a realist and pluralist view of our experienced realities?