Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

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Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Metacrock » Sat May 24, 2008 10:24 am

"The name of infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of our being is God. That depth is what the word God means. And if that word has not much meaning for you, translate it, and speak of the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation. Perhaps, in order to do so, you must forget everything traditional that you have learned about God, perhaps even that word itself. For if you know that God means depth, you know much about Him. You cannot then call yourself an atheist or unbeliever. For you cannot think or say: Life has no depth! Life itself is shallow. Being itself is surface only. If you could say this in complete seriousness, you would be an atheist; but otherwise you are not."


--Paul Tillich, The Shaking of The Foundations
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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by tinythinker » Tue May 27, 2008 3:12 pm

Metacrock wrote:"The name of infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of our being is God. That depth is what the word God means. And if that word has not much meaning for you, translate it, and speak of the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation. Perhaps, in order to do so, you must forget everything traditional that you have learned about God, perhaps even that word itself. For if you know that God means depth, you know much about Him. You cannot then call yourself an atheist or unbeliever. For you cannot think or say: Life has no depth! Life itself is shallow. Being itself is surface only. If you could say this in complete seriousness, you would be an atheist; but otherwise you are not."


--Paul Tillich, The Shaking of The Foundations
Another good insight from Tillich, but so long as people are locked into the caricatures-turned-idols that are the source of the typical shallow debates and arguments that you are weary of, I doubt anyone in either entrenched camp will see any sense in what he is saying.
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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Metacrock » Thu May 29, 2008 7:20 pm

tinythinker wrote:
Metacrock wrote:"The name of infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of our being is God. That depth is what the word God means. And if that word has not much meaning for you, translate it, and speak of the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation. Perhaps, in order to do so, you must forget everything traditional that you have learned about God, perhaps even that word itself. For if you know that God means depth, you know much about Him. You cannot then call yourself an atheist or unbeliever. For you cannot think or say: Life has no depth! Life itself is shallow. Being itself is surface only. If you could say this in complete seriousness, you would be an atheist; but otherwise you are not."


--Paul Tillich, The Shaking of The Foundations
Another good insight from Tillich, but so long as people are locked into the caricatures-turned-idols that are the source of the typical shallow debates and arguments that you are weary of, I doubt anyone in either entrenched camp will see any sense in what he is saying.

true. man those atheists on CARM thought that Tillich stuff was so stupid. they just thought it was so stupid,
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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by sgttomas » Fri May 30, 2008 2:09 am

I argued this in a more formal fashion for some time, but didn't get through the haze of self-referential idioms about "god".

The argument poses a way to deny any meaning to the term "atheist" by requiring the skeptic to positively assert his implied negation of theism, but only in terms that he can prove.

The best reply that I've heard is, "I only negate what you positively assert".
My best reply to that is, "I assert that everything is god".
The most common response to that is, "but that's not god".
To which my obvious response must be, "well...then what is?"
...the best response to my assertion would be, "I can't deny my own existence, therefore in your eyes I am a believer in god(myself) but I use the term 'atheist' to denote my objection to the most commonly accepted definitions of god according to the major faiths".

Seems to be the gist of what Tillich is on about.

Peace,
-sgttomas
Prophet Muhammad (God send peace and blessings upon him) is reported to have said, "God says 'I am as My servant thinks I am' " ~ Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 9 #502 (Chapter 93, "Oneness of God")

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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Metacrock » Fri May 30, 2008 4:02 pm

sgttomas wrote:I argued this in a more formal fashion for some time, but didn't get through the haze of self-referential idioms about "god".

The argument poses a way to deny any meaning to the term "atheist" by requiring the skeptic to positively assert his implied negation of theism, but only in terms that he can prove.

The best reply that I've heard is, "I only negate what you positively assert".
My best reply to that is, "I assert that everything is god".
The most common response to that is, "but that's not god".
To which my obvious response must be, "well...then what is?"
...the best response to my assertion would be, "I can't deny my own existence, therefore in your eyes I am a believer in god(myself) but I use the term 'atheist' to denote my objection to the most commonly accepted definitions of god according to the major faiths".

Seems to be the gist of what Tillich is on about.

Peace,
-sgttomas

the atheists want to render God into an object. He's a localized thing the existence of which they can deny. He's like a tree, a corn dog, tooth brush, swizzle stick, or something. They can't conceptualize of anything else.
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Wyrdsmyth
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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Wyrdsmyth » Sat May 31, 2008 9:31 am

Why is it important for apologists to argue that one can't be an atheist, even in principle?

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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by QuantumTroll » Sat May 31, 2008 10:38 am

sgttomas wrote:I argued this in a more formal fashion for some time, but didn't get through the haze of self-referential idioms about "god".

The argument poses a way to deny any meaning to the term "atheist" by requiring the skeptic to positively assert his implied negation of theism, but only in terms that he can prove.

The best reply that I've heard is, "I only negate what you positively assert".
My best reply to that is, "I assert that everything is god".
The most common response to that is, "but that's not god".
To which my obvious response must be, "well...then what is?"
...the best response to my assertion would be, "I can't deny my own existence, therefore in your eyes I am a believer in god(myself) but I use the term 'atheist' to denote my objection to the most commonly accepted definitions of god according to the major faiths".

Seems to be the gist of what Tillich is on about.

Peace,
-sgttomas
If someone asserts that everything is God, then I do not have to negate everything to be an atheist. If I reject part of everything, then I don't believe in your "everything" while still believing in something. I would call that something everything. This sounds like a word-game, but it is not, so I'll try to explain.

Theists believe in way more than just "everything". They also believe that "everything" has a conscious will that interacts with human life, that "everything" is personal enough to warrant being called "Him", that "God is love", etc etc. That is the sort of stuff I reject without further evidence.

Personally, I'd like someone to explain in concrete terms what is meant by "Life has no depth! Life itself is shallow. Being itself is surface only." Clearly, I'm fairly ignorant of Tillich's writing, but I simply can't make enough sense out of this to determine whether I agree with these statements.

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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Wyrdsmyth » Sat May 31, 2008 12:52 pm

I would say if someone defines God as "the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation" then that is different from the way people normally use the word God, at least in the Western monotheistic tradition. I think a great many Christians would disagree with that definition, because it doesn't indicate a being that is separate from and distinct from YOU. What Tillich is saying sounds more in line with an Eastern position, where the deepest self and God are the same. That's a heresy to most monotheists.

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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Metacrock » Sat May 31, 2008 2:30 pm

Wyrdsmyth wrote:I would say if someone defines God as "the depths of your life, of the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation" then that is different from the way people normally use the word God, at least in the Western monotheistic tradition. I think a great many Christians would disagree with that definition, because it doesn't indicate a being that is separate from and distinct from YOU. What Tillich is saying sounds more in line with an Eastern position, where the deepest self and God are the same. That's a heresy to most monotheists.

no it's not. it's exactly the way we use it. All it lacks is the imagery of a big guy on a throne with a white beard.
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Re: Tillich on why you can't be an atheist.

Post by Metacrock » Sat May 31, 2008 2:38 pm

QuantumTroll wrote:
sgttomas wrote:I argued this in a more formal fashion for some time, but didn't get through the haze of self-referential idioms about "god".

The argument poses a way to deny any meaning to the term "atheist" by requiring the skeptic to positively assert his implied negation of theism, but only in terms that he can prove.

The best reply that I've heard is, "I only negate what you positively assert".
My best reply to that is, "I assert that everything is god".
The most common response to that is, "but that's not god".
To which my obvious response must be, "well...then what is?"
...the best response to my assertion would be, "I can't deny my own existence, therefore in your eyes I am a believer in god(myself) but I use the term 'atheist' to denote my objection to the most commonly accepted definitions of god according to the major faiths".

Seems to be the gist of what Tillich is on about.

Peace,
-sgttomas
If someone asserts that everything is God, then I do not have to negate everything to be an atheist. If I reject part of everything, then I don't believe in your "everything" while still believing in something. I would call that something everything. This sounds like a word-game, but it is not, so I'll try to explain.

no one is saying "everything is God." what you are saying is tautological and contradictory. whatever exists is what exists. so to say you have dispute over two different lists of qualia that exist is nothing. that's not the point in any way. It's the understanding of what you take to being as your attitude and understanding.


Theists believe in way more than just "everything". They also believe that "everything" has a conscious will that interacts with human life, that "everything" is personal enough to warrant being called "Him", that "God is love", etc etc. That is the sort of stuff I reject without further evidence.


no one said "everything is god." that has nothing to do with it. that is not what Tillich is saying!


Personally, I'd like someone to explain in concrete terms what is meant by "Life has no depth! Life itself is shallow. Being itself is surface only." Clearly, I'm fairly ignorant of Tillich's writing, but I simply can't make enough sense out of this to determine whether I agree with these statements.
[/quote]


it means there is more to life than just the surface appearance of things. Life is more meaningful than just a bunch of molecular structures dancing around in a meaningless void. Even the theory of the atom itself serves as a metaphor for this concept. The dull witted empiricist who is content withe the surface appearance as the only explanation for things would say molecules are the smallest partials. nothing more and no reason to seek further can't be any partials smaller than that. Now apply that analogy to everything, from ethics to love to meaning in general.
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