Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Courage to Be Paperback – July 11, 2000
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
Paul Tillich's ideas are a response to existentialism, German philosphy, modern physics & the success of totalitarian movements in Germany, Russia & Italy. He is a bridge between the 19th Century & the growth of new theological thought in latter part of the Twentieth.
Tillich is not all that difficult to understand in The Courage to Be. However, it's unfortunate that his three wonderful collections of sermons (The Shaking of the Foundations; The New Being; The Eternal Now) are out-of-print, as these are his best introductions.
Readers coming to Tillich will have to grapple with the common metaphors of Christian faith. For Tillich, the concepts of Heaven & even an afterlife are not terribly important, as they imply a continuation of life in time that he is not able to accept scientifically or on faith. So one meets those lovely semi-metaphors of "being itself," "non-being" & "ground of being" that, for me at least, were a more clear explanation of how I experience the world than God the "Father" or Holy Ghost.
This makes Tillich a crucial step into Feminist & Language theology, although he couldn't quite make the big leap himself.
Basically, Tillich says we're stuck in an undefinable present that moves creatively into an unknown future in which nothing is a given but the fact that we are alive right now, so what do we intend to do about it? This is "being" & being, above all else, requires courage; the courage of early Christians facing the axe or the fire. As for Tillich's "Ground of Being," one might compare it - inadequately - to a tree as a reflection of its roots - a metaphor I copped from another Paul ...artist Paul Klee. Tillich says that we cannot speak unsymbolically about being.
In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Paul Tillich's theology gains even greater relevance. He witnessed in Germany the acquiescence of the established churches to National Socialism & the failure of Democratic Christian Socialism. I do not believe he would have many kind words for contemporary Islam, a religious system so bound to orthodoxy as to make it incapable of relevant reform. On the other hand, Tillich would have immediately recognized those manifestations of the "Kingdom of God" which began appearing even before the Twin Towers had collapsed. Our estrangement from God in the Eternal Now (which invites demonic energy as a tall tree invites lightning) is overcome only in the present moment. Evil may be defeated with violent retaliation, but it is conquered with love.
Paul Tillich is especially liberating for artists. Stopping just short of Buddhism, Tillich makes the world look shimmeringly alive & filled with possibilities, yet so transient - a world of appearances.
"The courage to be is rooted in the God who appears when God has disappeared in the anxiety of doubt." Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be
Also recommended" Henri Bergson, An Introduction to Metaphysics
The nature of the discussions, being, nonbeing, subjectivity, objectivity make for difficult reading with double negatives (eg. "Nonbeing is no threat because finite being is, in the last analysis, nonbeing"). If one can wade through the language, there a lot of insight.
I see this book as essential reading for anyone looking for philosophical help with challenges in life. Tillich sets for an explanation for why deep, life challenges are so hard for us as we often go through out days expecting only the expectant. He also explores what it means to look into the dark recesses of meaning. For an understanding of these parts of the book, you'll just have to read it.
This is certainly an old-school work of philosophy. However, the book meant a good deal to me when I read it, so I highly recommend it.