A Deeper Truth | Transcending God & Mysticism | Paul Tillich
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Transcending God & Mysticism | Paul Tillich

Transcending God & Mysticism | Paul Tillich

Paul Tillich in the Courage to Be:

The God Above God and The Courage to Be

The ultimate source of the courage to be is the “God above God”; this is the result of our demand to transcend theism. Only if the God of theism is transcended can the anxiety of doubt and meaninglessness be taken into the courage to be. The God above God is the object of all mystical longing, but mysticism also must be transcended in order to reach him. Mysticism does not take seriously the concrete and the doubt concerning the concrete. It plunges directly into the ground of being and meaning, and leaves the concrete, the wold of finite values and meanings, behind. Therefore it does not solve the problem of meaninglessness. In terms of the present religious situation this means that Eastern mysticism is not the solution of the problems of Western Existentialism, although many people attempt this solution. The God above the God of theism is not the devaluation of the meanings with doubt has thrown into the abyss of meaninglessness; he is their potential restitution.

I especially appreciate his comment about Eastern mysticism.  I have read a lot of Buddhism and agree in part with Carl Jung that the western psyche cannot fully utilize an Eastern philosophy to solve our problems.  This also brings us back to a term I have written about before called “spiritual bypassing” coined by John Welwood.  We miss the “concrete” and present experiential reality.

  • Andi
    Posted at 12:29h, 30 September Reply

    I so want to have something profound to say in response here, but Tillich – as much as I have always loved his writing and ideas – always takes a while to gel with me.

    I will say that understanding God to be beyond even our attempts at understanding God (if I, ironically, understood the quote correctly) seems absolutely essential to my faith in God.

    Thanks for this.

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