Stephen S. Bush is assistant professor of religious studies at Brown University, working in religious ethics, philosophy of religion, and theory of religion. In addition to the Journal of Religious Ethics, he has published in the Journal of Religion, Philosophical Review, and Religious Studies. He is currently working on a book manuscript titled Visions of Religion: Experience, Meaning, and Power.


In this reply to Kent Brintnall's response to my essay on Georges Bataille and the ethics of ecstasy, I explore two primary questions: whether instrumentalization is inherently violent and non-instrumentalization is inherently non-violent, and whether there is a way to intervene in the world that avoids both “apathetic disengagement” and domination. I endorse the view that instrumentalization can be good as well as bad, and I suggest that it is possible to strive to intervene in the world without striving to master it. I make reference to Sarah Coakley as a Christian theologian who advances particular practices that aim for non-dominating intervention in theworld.