Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The affirmation of God also rests, in the last resort, on a decision, which, again, is connected with the fundamental decision for reality as a whole.

A Rabbi, in arguing for Judaism as opposed to Buddhism once made the assertion "reality is real," a statement which had a profound effect on me, among other things it made me realize that what most of us would take as an absurdly obvious truism is not that, it is something which is accepted as a matter of choice, a choice that other traditions encourage rejection of on the basis of something that appears in this passage, something I've underlined.   I think I read that affirmation of the reality of reality before I had the disagreement with some Buddhists about the reality of justice and injustice, I think it must have prepared me for arguing for the reality of justice against its denial, something else which has had a profound effect on me.

Here is the next section of Hans Kung's argument for accepting God's existence.  It contains the truth that "proof" in such matters is not attainable nor is proof necessarily helpful, I think what is illusory is the idea that we operate in a world in which things are proven.  Almost everything which we accept, from the most mundane of situations in which we must make decisions about something to the most profound, we operate on something other than a mastered proof.   You have to be an especially stupid and pretentious atheist to pretend you operate on a proof-only basis, even most atheists aren't that stupid.

God as reality

If we are not to draw hasty conclusions, we must proceed step by step.  What are the alternatives?   If - as in the question of fundamental trust - the positions are set out antithetically, that does not mean that we are dividing human beings into good ("God fearers") and bad ("godless") or that we want to pass moral judgments on the decision for or against God.  However obvious the ethical aspects of the question of God may be, all the more must the alternative be first brought out in a fundamental confrontation. 

Both denial and affirmation of God are possible 

The discussion with Feuerbach,  Marx,  Freud and Nietzsche has shown that there is one thing that can never be disputed in regard to atheism:

-  It is possible to deny God.  Atheism cannot be eliminated rationally.  It is irrefutable. 

Why?  It is the experience of the radical uncertainty of any sort of reality which over and over again provides atheism with sufficient excuse to assert and maintain the assertion that reality has no primal ground, primal support, primal goal at all.   Any talk of a primal source, primal meaning, primal value, must be rejected.  We simply cannot know any of these things - this is the claim of agnosticism with a tendency to atheism.  Indeed, perhaps chaos, absurdity, illusion, appearance, and not being but nonbeing, are the last word - this is the claim of atheism with a tendency to nihilism. 

Hence there are actually no arguments for the impossibility of atheism.  If someone says that there is no God, this cannot be positively refuted.  Neither a strict proof nor an indication of God can prevail against such an assertion.  For this negative statement rests in the last resort on a decision, a decision that is connected with the fundamental decision for reality as a whole.  The denial of God cannot be refuted purely rationally. 

The discussion with Fruerbach, Marx, Freud and Nietzsche has, however, revealed something else, atheism for its own part, cannot positively exclude the other alternative. 

- Affirmation of God is also possible.  Atheism cannot be rationally established.  It is undemonstrable.  

Why?  It is the reality in all uncertainty which provides sufficient excuse for risking not only a confident affirmation of this reality, its identity, meaningfulness and value, but over and above this also an affirmation of that without which reality in all substantiation seems to be ultimately unsubstantiated, in all supporting ultimately unsupported, in all evolution ultimately aimless,  a confident affirmation, that is, of a primal ground, primal support and primal goal of uncertain reality.  

Hence there is actually no conclusive argument for the necessity of atheism.  And if someone says there is a God, this, too, cannot be positively refuted.  Atheism, for its own part, cannot prevail against such confidence imposed on us in the light of reality itself.  The affirmation of God also rests, in the last resort, on a decision, which, again, is connected with the fundamental decision for reality as a whole.  This, too, is rationally irrefutable.

This is so much fun I think I'll continue with it for a while.

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