Idealism and materialism/religion and atheism
“Perhaps the ultimate difference between idealism and materialism is the difference between these two forms of the Real: religion is the Real as the impossible Thing beyond phenomena, the Thing which “shines through” phenomena in sublime experiences; atheism is the Real as a grimace of reality. This is why the standard religious riposte to atheists (“But you can’t really understand what is to believe!”) has to be turned around: our “natural” state is to believe, and the truly difficult thing to grasp is the atheist’s position. (...) Atheism in not the position of believing only in positive (ontologically fully constituted, sutured, closed) reality; the most succint definition of atheism is precisely “religion without religion” – the assertion of the void of the Real deprived of any positive content, prior to any content; the assertion that any content is a semblance which fills in the void. (...)
Not only do both religion and atheism insist on the Void, on the fact that our reality is not ultimate and closed – the experience of this Void is the original materialist experience, and religion, unable to endure it, fill it in with religious content.”
“And is not this shift also the shift from Kant to Hegel? (...)”
Slavoj Zizek, “For They Know Not What They Do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor”, Forward to the second edition, London, Verso, 2008, p. xxiii-xxix.