Is Religion Irrelevant? Paul Tillich's Answering Theology

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What is the meaning and purpose of life?

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1 Paul H. Carr, Ph. D. Former Adjunct Philosophy Professor, U Mass. Lowell Paul Tillich One of the great theologians of the 20th century. IS RELIGION IRRELVANT? PAUL TILLICH'S ANSWERING THEOLOGY

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2 OUTLINE 1. His Life History 2. New Being (Creation ) & Spiritual Presence 3. His 2 Popular and 3 Sermon Books 4. Systematic Theology: Answering Existential Questions 5. Relating Religion to Culture: Science, Art, Psychology

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3 Paul Tillich “ Religion is the encounter with the Holy, which expresses our ultimate concern. It can only be expressed by symbols and symbolic actions and cannot be reduced to ordinary words. If taken literally, symbols become absurd.”

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4 PAUL TILLICH (1886-1965) Apologetic, Existential, Theologian Paul Tillich was born in Prussia in 1886, ordained a minister in the Lutheran Church in 1912, and served as a chaplain in the German Army during WWI. He then taught philosophy and theology at the universities of Marburg, Dresden, Leipzig, and Frankfurt. As leader of the Religious Socialist movement, his activities brought him into conflict with the Nazis, who dismissed him from his professorship in 1933, shortly after Hitler assumed power. Reinhold Niebuhr invited him to teach at Union Theological Seminary in New York. In 1955, Tillich became a University Professor at Harvard, and in 1962, the John Nuveen Professor of Theology at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.

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5 ON THE BOUNDARY An Autobiographical Sketch Paul Tillich “The boundary is the best place for acquiring knowledge.” Between Country and City Between Social Classes Between Heteronomy(Authority) and Autonomy (Freedom) Between Theology and Philosophy Between War (Chaplain WWI) and Peace Between Native (Germany) and Alien Land (US).

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6 PROTESTANT PRINCIPLE as prophetic and critical judgment against idolatry (absolutizing the relative.) “T he infinite distance between the divine and the human undercuts the absolute claim of any doctrinal expression of the New Being.” CATHOLIC SUBSTANCE tradition, and liturgy as concrete embodiment. GUSTAVE WEIGEL, S.J.: “The sustained brilliance of Tillich is amazing and his incredibly wide knowledge matches his brilliance” March 16, 1959

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7 TIME Cover Article March 16, 1959 ”From the Old World to the New Being." The New Being or New Creation is the essence of the Christian religion manifest in Jesus, who was the Christ, the bearer and mediator of the new state of things, characterized by re -union, re -conciliaton, and re -surrection.

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8 "Tillich has succeeded in erecting a towering structure of thought…an edifice densely packed and neatly shaped against the erosion of intellectual wind and wave." Cover Article TIME, March 16, 1959

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9 PAUL JOHANNES TILLICH 1886-1965 “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season. His leaf also shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:3 Tillich Memorial Park, New Harmony, IN

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10 TILLICH MEMORIAL PARK New Harmony, IN “This park was created for Paul Johannes Tillich, dedicated by him on Pentecost 1963, & commemorated to him on Pentecost 1966…..” Granddaughter, Tillich, “Mutie” Tillich Ferris, Ph..D.

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11 Paul Tillich Memorial Park Tillich Quotes Under the conditions of existence (Sin & The Fall), we are estranged or separated from our essential selves (what we ought to and could be.) We our re-united with our true selves by the power of the New Being in Jesus the Christ (Salvation). “Today we know what the New Testament always knew: that miracles are signs pointing to the presence of a divine power in history and that they are in no way negations of natural law.”

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12 TILLICH MADE THEOLOGY RELEVANT BY: 1. Reinterpreting words like FAITH AND COURAGE to remove confusion and distortion with his popular books “THE COURAGE TO BE” (1952) & “DYNAMICS OF FAITH” (1957). 2. His ANSWERING THEOLOGY, which correlated questions arising from our human predicament and finitude with answers derived from divine revelation and eternal wisdom. 3TILLICH’S THEOLOGY EMPHASIZED DIALOGUE BETWEEN “Yes” & “NO,” life & death, being & non-being, essence & existence freedom & destiny, individualization & participation, the vertical & the horizontal TO AVOID DISTORTED EXTREMES.

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13 Psychologist Rollo May, student and friend of Tillich, noted that the title of his book was suggested by The Courage to Be. “We express our being by creating.”

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14 THE COURAGE TO BE Courage is self-affirmation “in-spite-of,” that is in spite of that which tends to prevent the self from affirming itself. “ Three types of nonbeing threatening self affirmation: 1. Fate and death (ontic) 2. Emptiness and meaninglessness (loss of ultimate concern) 3. Guilt and condemnation (moral affirmation)

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15 The SOURCE of the COURAGE TO BE is the “GOD ABOVE THE GOD OF THEISM.” Examples of the God who must be transcended : The rhetorical-political abuse of the name of God: S. Hussein: “We will win because God is on our side.” vs. Abraham Lincoln: “The question is not whether God is on our side but, Are we on God’s side?” The God of theism who is a being beside other beings, (hence finite and provable), an invincible tyrant who controls and determines everything & allows us no freedom.

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16 Conclusion of THE COURAGE TO BE “Theism in all its forms is transcended in the experience we have called absolute faith. It is accepting of the acceptance without something or somebody that accepts. It is the power of being-itself (God) that accepts and gives the COURAGE TO BE.”

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18 DYNAMICS OF FAITH “Faith is the state of being grasped by ultimate concern.” “Ultimate Concern promises ultimate fulfillment and demands the ultimate surrender of him who accepts this claim.” This definition also applies to secular religions like communism and capitalist materialism. “For Tillich Ultimate Concern should be: (1) The abstract translation of the great commandment (Deut. 6:5) ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heard, soul, and might.’ ” (2) Deals with ‘to be or not to be.’” Ultimate Concern is in contrast to the Preliminary Concerns of our daily lives, yet “In an through every Preliminary Concern, the ultimate can actualize itself.”

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19 CORRELATIING QUESTIONS with ANSWERS

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20 TILLICH’S SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY BOOKS VOLUME ONE “ The Shaking of the I.. Reason and the Quest for Revelation Foundations” (Sermon : II. Being and God You Are Accepted) q. Why is their Being (something) rather than Non-Being (nothing)? Dynamics of Faith a. The Answer: “God”as Being, Living, Creating, Relating. Courage to Be VOLUME TWO III. Existence and the Christ q. Who overcomes the separation of what we are from what we could to be? a. Answer: Jesus, the Christ, the bearer of the New Being. “ The New Being” VOLUME THREE (Sermons) IV. Life and the Spirit q. What power overcomes the Ambiguities of Life? (the impossibility of separating the positive from the negative) a. The Answer: The Power of Spiritual Presence. “ The Eternal Now” V. History and the Kingdom of God Sermon “Spiritual The Kingdom of God within History and as the End of History Presence”

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22 IV. LIFE AND THE SPIRIT Paul Tillich’s Systematic Theology, Vol. III The problem of life is ambiguity. Every process of life has its contrast within itself ( positive and negative), thus driving us to the quest for unambiguous life or life under the impact of Spiritual Presence. The Spiritual Presence conquers the negatives of religion, culture, and morality, and the symbols anticipating Eternal Life present answers to the problem of life.

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24 TILLICH’S SPIRITUAL PRESENCE SERMON I took my new wife Karin to the Harvard Memorial Church on12 February 1961. “We can compare the Spiritual Presence with the air we breath, surrounding us, nearest to us, and working life within us. In most languages, the word “spirit” means breath or wind.” The Spirit is always present, a moving power, sometimes in stormy ecstasies of individuals and groups, but mostly entering our human spirit and keeping it alive.” “We can feel called to help others in just the moment when we ourselves need help most urgently-and astonishingly, we can help.” “A POWER WORKS THOUGH US WHICH IS NOT OF US.”

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25 TILLICH’S SPIRITUAL PRESENCE SERMON (2) Published in “The Eternal Now.” MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SPIRITAL PRESENCE: - “The Spirit can give you the strength to throw off false anxieties and take upon yourself the anxiety which belongs to life itself.” - “THE SPIRIT ENABLES US TO REACH OUR TRUEST AND GREATEST POTENTIAL IN SPITE OF OUR FATE AND THE AMBIGUITIES OF LIFE.”

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Carr Family in 1985, the year before Karin died of leukemia. Paul’s late wife, Karin 1940, Berlin - 1986,Boston

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27 TILLICH’S SPIRITUAL PRESENCE When Karin died of leukemia, 26 years later, leaving me with daughters ages 12, 14, 16, 21, and 24, I turned to these words, as I struggled to find “the courage to be.” “THE SPIRIT ENABLES US TO REACH OUR TRUEST AND GREATEST POTENTIAL IN SPITE OF OUR FATE AND THE AMBIGUITIES OF LIFE.”

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28 “Culture is the form of religion. Religion is the substance of Culture” The comprehensiveness and creativity of Tillich’s Harvard Course, “Theology of Culture,” spoke to me. He related religion to: Art Science Philosophy Psychology

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29 “The Greatest Protest ant Painting of our Time (1937)” “Picasso’s Guernica is profoundly religious because it expresses so honestly and powerfully man’s anguished search for ultimate meaning and his passionate revolt against cruelty and hatred.”

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30 The Last Supper by Salvador Dali, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C. Tillich was critical of this painting. (See Paul Tillich First-Hand , Grace Cali, Exploration Press, 1995, pg. 26 )

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31 Papers presented at the International Paul Tillich Society Meeting New Harmony, IN, June 1999 (Mercier Univ. Press 2001)

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32 SCIENCE AND RELIGION: ORIGINAL UNITY AND COURAGE TO CREATE Paul H. Carr International Paul Tillich Society Conference “The Religious Situation at the Dawn of the New Millennium” New Harmony Indiana, 19 June 1999 Three sections: 1. Original Unity and “Demythologization’ 2. Galileo’s “Courage to Create” 3. Reconciliation and Reuniting of Science and Religion

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33 THE LOST DIMENSION IN RELIGION Saturday Evening Post , 1958 VERTICAL DIMENSION: Religion as depth, transcendence, and source of meaning, and purpose. The transcendent is lost when taken non-symbolically or literally. HORIZONTAL DIMENSION: Physical relationship between finite objects, as in science and technology. R S C I E N C E Inter-penetrating Dimensions. I G I O N

BEAUTY in Science & Spirit:

BEAUTY in Science & Spirit Appendix D Summary of Science and Religion Session at the International Paul Tillich Society Meeting, 1999

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35 “Love is stronger than death. It creates something new out of the destruction..” TIME 29 Oct 65

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36 TILLICH MADE THEOLOGY RELEVANT BY: 1. Reinterpreting words like FAITH AND COURAGE to remove confusion and distortion with his popular books “THE COURAGE TO BE” & “DYNAMICS OF FAITH” 2. His ANSWERING THEOLOGY, which correlated questions arising from our human finitude and predicament with answers derived from divine revelation and religious wisdom. 3. RELATING RELIGION TO CULTURE: Science & Art. TILLICH’S THEOLOGY EMPHASIZED DIALOGUE BETWEEN “YES”& “NO,” life & death, being & non-being, essence & existence freedom & destiny, TO AVOID DISTORTED EXTREMES. “The boundary is the best place for acquiring knowledge.”

TO LEARN MORE:

TO LEARN MORE Chapter 6: “A Theology for Evolution: Haught , Teilhard de Chardin , & Tillich.” NA Paul Tillich Society www.NAPTS.org -Paul H. Carr's web page www.MirrorOfNature.org

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