Existence as the Question of Faith: Tillich's Existential Reorientation of the Arguments for God's Existence
Through a close reading of Paul Tillich this article argues that the human being asks questions because its existence is a question, pensive concern with the meaning of its own being. A chief task, then, is to explicate the impossibility of absolute despair and absolute apathy. Even despair and doubt witness to a concern with meaning insofar as it mourns its absence. In this respect, every person has a `god,' namely something regarded as holy, something concerning the individual ultimately or, in Tillich's terms, an object of ultimate concern. Even the atheist who dedicates her life to refuting belief in God testifies to this as her ultimate concern. Ultimate concern is thus Tillich's definition of faith: subjection to the holy. The author convincingly shows that faith, the question of and ultimate concern with the holy, is the primary phenomenon constituting human existence as a human person. Faith is the condition of personhood.
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