“When traditional symbols have lost their power” by Paul Tillich

“One can become aware of the God above the God of theism in the anxiety of guilt and condemnation when the traditional symbols that enable men to withstand the anxiety of guilt and condemnation have lost their power. When “divine judgement” is interpreted as a psychological complex and forgiveness as a remnant of the “father-image,” what once was the power in those symbols can still be present and create the courage to be in spite of the experience of an infinite gap between what we are and what we ought to be. The Lutheran courage returns but not supported by faith in a judging and forgiving God. It returns in terms of the absolute faith which says Yes although there is no special power that conquers guilt. The courage to take the anxiety of meaninglessness upon oneself is the boundary line up to which the courage to be can go. Beyond it is mere non-being. Within it all forms of courage are re-established in the power of God above the God of theism. The courage to be is rooted in the God who appears when God has disappeared in the anxiety of doubt.”

from The Courage to Be, by Paul Tillich

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Author: Gordon S. Bowman III

Writer, Visual Artist, Blogger, Advocate

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