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Schopenhauer on the difference between Old and New Testaments

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  • brightimperator
    German philosopher-king Arthur Schopenhauer on metaphysical anti- Judaism and the fundamental irreconcilable difference between Judaism and Aryan-Christian
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2006
      German philosopher-king Arthur Schopenhauer on metaphysical anti-
      Judaism and the fundamental irreconcilable difference between
      Judaism and Aryan-Christian religion:

      "Brahma is supposed to have created the world by a kind of fall into
      sin, or by an error, and has to atone for this sin or error by
      remaining in it himself until he he has redeemed out of it. Very
      good! In Buddhism the world arises as a consequence of an
      inexplicable clouding of the heavenly clarity of the blessed state
      of Nirvana after a long period of quietude. Its origin is thus a
      kind of fatality which is fundamentally to be understood in a moral
      sense, notwithstanding the case has an exact analogy in the physical
      world in the origin of the sun in an inexplicable primeval streak of
      mist. Subsequently, however, as a consequence of moral misdeeds it
      gradually deteriorates physically too, until it has assumed its
      present sad condition. Excellent! To the Greeks the world and the
      gods were the work of an unfathomable necessity: that will do as a
      provisional explanation. Ormuzd is continually at war with Ahriman:
      that is worth considering. But that a god like Jehovah should create
      this world out of want and misery anima causa [capriciously] and de
      gaiete de coeur and then go so far as to applaud himself for it,
      saying it is all very good: that is quite unacceptable."
      [Schopenhauer. Parerga and Paralipomena. On the Suffering of the
      World, Section 9]

      "Old and New Testaments. The basic character of Judaism is realism
      and optimism, which are closely related and the preconditions of
      actual theism, since they consider the material world absolutely
      real and life as a pleasing gift made expressly for us. The basic
      character of Brahmanism and Buddhism, on the contrary, is idealism
      and pessimism, since they allow the world only a dream-like
      existence and regard life as the consequence of our 'sins'. In the
      doctrine of Zend-Avesta, from which Judaism is known to have
      derived, the pessimistic element is still present and represented by
      Ahriman. In Judaism, however, he is accorded ony a subordinate
      position as Satan, who is nonetheless still, like Ahriman, the
      author of snakes, scorpions, and vermin. Judaism employs him
      straightaway to repair its fundamental error of optimism, namely to
      produce the Fall, which then introduces into that religion the
      pessimistic element required for the sake of fidelity to the most
      obvious of truths. This element is the most correct basic idea in
      the religion, although it transfers to the course of existence what
      ought to be represented as its ground and as preceding it.

      The New Testament must be of Indian origin: witness of that is
      its altogether Indian ethic, in which morality leads to asceticism,
      its pessimism and its avatar. But it is for precisely this reason
      that it stands in decided intrinsic opposition to the Old Testament,
      so that the only thing in the Old Testament which could provide a
      connecting link with it was the story of the Fall. For when this
      Indian doctrine entered into the 'Promised Land' there arose the
      task of uniting the knowledge of the corruption and misery of the
      world, of its need for redemption and of salvation through an
      avatar, together with the morality of self-denial and atonement,
      with Jewish monotheism and its 'Behold, it was very good'. And this
      union was achieved, as far as it could be; as far, that is, as two
      so completely heterogeneous, indeed antithetical doctrines can be
      ...For this is how the world appears here as much as it does in
      Buddhism -- and no longer in the light of the Jewish optimism which
      had found everything 'very good': the Devil himself is now
      styled "Prince of this world" (John xii 31). The world is no longer
      an end, but a means: the kingdom of joy lies beyond it and beyond
      death. ...
      ...Everything true in Christianity is also to be discovered in
      Brahmanism and Buddhism. But the Jewish notion of an animated
      nothingess, a temporal product which can never be too humbly
      thankful for an ephemeral existence full of misery, fear and want,
      nor praise Jehovah too highly for it -- this you will look for in
      vain in Hinduism and Buddhism."

      [Schopenhauer. Parerga and Paralipomena. On Religion, Section 5]
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