As any devoted person to the search for the meaning of life knows and admits, the question of God is central. The decision to accept not only the existence of God but his supremacy over the universe is the most significant decision that one can make. Those who reject this conclusion, set themselves up for a man centered cosmos. Logical evidence, intelligent arguments and rational proof are unnecessary, for in the end only belief is needed. All the scientists who ever lived can’t disprove God, while every theologian who ever preached can’t certify his existence to those who are unwilling to believe.
Atheists and agnostics alike, pride themselves on intelligence; their reason. Church goers study their Bible verses, Torah pronouncements and Koran passages. The skeptic often rebuffs these teachings since doctrine is perceived to be the work of men, and not confirmed to be from THE Supreme Being. The post modern world would have you accept that it doesn’t matter what you believe, life is now and will be over shortly. Popular culture regards deep reflection as fruitless, since it is futile to explain the universe. Live for today, in the way you want. That’s the message that dominates the media perception of the world.
Barbara DeConcini - dean of the Atlanta College of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, offers this viewpoint: 19th Century influential cultural critic Matthew Arnold - “drew critical attention to deep concordances between religion and art with their predictions that, in Arnold's famous phrase, "most of what now passes with us for religion will be replaced by poetry." Arnold thought that only art could address his society's widespread loss of confidence in religion, fostered by the rise of modern science. Humankind needed art and especially poetry "to interpret life for us, to console us, to sustain us." If art was canonized, so too was religion aestheticized. In the words of George Santayana, "the whole of Christian doctrine is religious and efficacious only when it becomes poetry."
Contrast what passes for art in today’s video reality coarse society. Any pretense that what you see approaches the artfulness of meaningful human expression has long been discarded. If religion has been discredited, what can be said for the mediums of media degradation and debasement? Not exactly the poetry of Keats, Shelley or Yeats. Could there be a neoteric approach to revive the age old hunger for understanding our own existence?
OSHO was a provocative spiritual teacher from India who established a meditation method as a way to experiment and create the conditions for the birth of a "new man" -- one who is free of all outdated ideologies and doctrines of the past and whose vision encompasses both the spiritual wisdom of the East and the scientific understandings of the West. He taught that “The truly religious people have been simply religious, they have not been dogmatic . . . I don't teach principles, ideologies, dogmas, doctrines. I teach you a religionless religion, I teach you the taste of it. I give you the method to become receptive to the divine. I don't say anything about the divine, I simply tell you "This is the window — open it and you will see the starry night" . . . So my whole effort is existential, not intellectual at all. And the true religion is existential.”
When Ms DeConcini writes: “In mainline Protestantism the theological response to the so-called failure of religion in the modern world took two chief forms: the kerygmatic theology of Karl Barth and the existential or apologetic theology of Paul Tillich. If Barth recalls theology to a radical God-centeredness, Tillich rediscovers its correlative and existential character. With Tillich, theology becomes a way of reformulating and answering the fundamental question of our being, aiming to overcome tendencies toward a rationalized objectivity on the one hand and a romantic subjectivity on the other. Through the method of correlation, the existential questions which arise from our human predicament find response in theological answers derived from revelation”, she is illustrating a technique that bridges the gap that is missing in the modern world.
Materialism, that worships science as almighty, has not been able to substitute itself for a creator; even though it tries. While men seek to uncover the working of Human Genome and the secrets of DNA, it has only produced an empty society, lost and disturbed. The insight of Tillich incorporates a form of spiritualism that the eastern mysticism of OSHO could appreciate. That window must raise the shades and open the panes and learn how to become receptive. So when DeConcini asserts, that the “interdependence of the existential question and the theological answer is "the universal principle of revelation in religion and culture" and as such their one theonomous root; we should not dismiss as being irrational. If she is correct that “the void that Tillich sees as the cultural destiny of the modern period can be viewed theologically as a sacred void, an existential cry of ultimate concern”, then we have a slim chance to resurrect ourselves, with a renewed faith in the eternal.
The art of the faith is to accept the belief as true. Science confirms not the doctrine, but the revelation. There is no axiomatic conflict, science does not empirically dispel the essential. But the religion of the absolute, secular scientist, lacks the art of humility. The law they reject as superstition, is the solution they are unable to discover. Why is it so abstruse to admit the self-evident? The art of religion is the willingness to seek the light that shines through that window. Salvation is not found in clerics or churches, but only exists as a gift. The thought of the unrestrained apostasy of the modern age for a biblical faith in the God of divine manifestation, is too much for the sophisticated intellectual.
No, their answer is to perfect the social environment without improving the human condition. They deny that human nature rejects perfectibility, as a social project. Religious meaning comes with faith in the only rule that matters. Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace; so says a familiar name. Is it just as true today as when it was first stated? Karl Barth would recognize the preacher, but the question is would you? (click on the faith link and test your belief) But in the end, his is just another ministry of man. The meaning in his spiritual revolution essentially lies in your willingness to seek and allow that which you alone, are unable to comprehend, to enter your soul. The mystery is hidden from our abilities, but our faith unites us with the divine. OSHO’s “new man” is not new. He is the same as all men. His purpose is a union with God, by faith and obedience to His law. The Existential experience is a process that helps to open that window. The choice is yours - you are condemned to be free . . .
A BATR Site open for public posting on philosophical topics. Existentialism offers a path for self realization and forward thinking. Thoughtful critiques on the human experience - Paleo Politics for the real world. Now seeking original thinkers with the talent to express insights. Register with Blogger and publish your work on Existentialism Philosophy. Request an invite from SARTRE.