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Re: [hegel] Re: the death of God

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  • greuterb
    ... Alan, What you write at the end of your comment is an argument one ususally puts forward if one has no more other arguments for explaining Hegel s
    Message 1 of 168 , Jul 31, 2011
      Am 29.07.2011 13:40, Alan writes:

      > Hi Beat,
      >
      > My claim is that this difference in form makes all the difference. In the
      > case of spiritual content, religious consciousness has misidentified the
      > source of this content. It has misidentified how this content emerges. It
      > tells a story about the divine miracle of creation where being is
      > immediately imbued with significance or we might say the significance and
      > the being come into being simultaneously in god's knowing creative
      > act. And
      > with the New Testament it makes Christ the ultimate significant
      > individual.
      > This latter story can be turned to Hegel's own purposes and serve as an
      > allegory for one of the stages of the emergence of absolute knowing. But I
      > will focus on the creation myth because I take it to be the definitive
      > move
      > of religion in general.
      >
      > For speculative reason the creation of significance is a mediated process.
      > First, there is the dialectic, itself a mediated expression, that appears
      > and indicates frustrated or blocked intention. What is the significance of
      > being so blocked? This is an open question for which Hegel provides two
      > answers. First, it signifies the failure to know or the inability of
      > consciousness to make contact with what it takes to be true. And
      > second, it
      > is the condition of knowing right before the speculative insight that
      > shows
      > the dialectic does signify not an intended but an unintended truth. Thus,
      > with the second moment of the mediated process of creation comes the
      > recognition that spiritual significance arises by means of indirection.
      >
      > If we were to try to insert the speculative back into the religious
      > story of
      > creation we would have to tell a story of a god that does not know what it
      > is doing and only learns what it has done as a recollective
      > achievement. The
      > paradox is that the pictured god is an inappropriate source for the
      > creation
      > of spiritual significance because it is taken to know what it is doing. We
      > see this throughout the Phenomenology. Natural r onsciousness unwittingly
      > actualizes what we see as a manifestation of rational form. But when
      > natural
      > consciousness is taken to be self-consciously or intentionally rational as
      > it is when we come to the Reason chapter we find that it is unable to
      > knowingly actualize the rational. I take the lesson to be that spiritual
      > significance is not an intentional achievement.
      >
      > So it is not just that religion has what you call a speculative base which
      > is merely speculatively elevated. The difference goes to the very core of
      > what religion means to be. As an account that references god as the source
      > of spiritual significance religion has entirely missed the mark. It raises
      > the usual issue: if god is dead then all that we have is meaningless
      > matter
      > in motion to no purpose. Religion is the wrong answer to the question: how
      > do we account for meaning in life? Its account replaces the long labor of
      > the self-development of spirit with a story more suited for a child.
      >
      > Religion concerns itself as does every form of consciousness with its
      > Sache.
      > Like a generous teacher Hegel is willing to give religion credit for
      > taking
      > up spiritual content. That religion remains separated from the truth about
      > this content - an insight that should be devastating - is something Hegel
      > carefully makes evident. Thus, religious consciousness is no better
      > situated
      > to explain the emergence of spiritual content then is rational
      > consciousness
      > able to explain the emergence of categories or perceptual
      > consciousness able
      > to explain where things with properties come from. Hegel could be just as
      > negative about religious consciousness as he is about sense certainty.
      > That
      > he is not points to his understandable concern about being too explicit
      > about what he is really saying about religion. If he gives religion credit
      > where no credit is due then maybe he will deflect attention away from the
      > true import of what he is saying. This is only one of several strategies
      > Hegel employs to placate the religious beast.
      >
      > regards, Alan
      >



      Alan,

      What you write at the end of your comment is an argument one ususally
      puts forward if one has no more other arguments for explaining Hegel's
      'worship' of religion. It reads as follows: Hegel - not quite a brave
      man - disguised himself for escaping the censors (from the blame of
      atheism in Jena until the Prussian censors in his lectures in Berlin).
      Me too, I have used this argument sometimes. However is it a real
      argument? Does it not destroy Hegel's philosophy which nevertheless is a
      rational and not a mystical one? You write: "Thus, religious
      consciousness is no better situated to explain the emergence of
      spiritual content then is rational consciousness able to explain the
      emergence of categories or perceptual consciousness able to explain
      where things with properties come from." This is certainly true.
      However, in the Phenomenology there is a development from the most
      abstract to the most concrete consciousness and each level is a
      necessary step for achieving the most concrete level. For Hegel Religion
      is an important and most concrete moment in the life of a people's
      spirit, and philosophy cannot be seen as a mere negation of religion but
      is always involved in it. Absolute Knowing, on the other hand, is a very
      poor moment of consciousness (its sublation) and therefore has no
      content at all. Only with the Logic it develops its content, however,
      also this content is a poor and abstract one which only gets concrete in
      its contingent other whose culmination point for Hegel certainly is
      philosophy, not in an solitary isolation but involving and explaining
      all levels of spirit (including perception and reason) giving them their
      own right as moments of spirit.

      Regards,
      Beat



      > From: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > [mailto:hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>] On
      > Behalf Of
      > greuterb
      > Sent: Friday, July 29, 2011 2:12 AM To: hegel@yahoogroups.com
      > <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Subject: Re: [hegel] Re: the death of God
      >
      > Am 27.07.2011 13:56, Alan writes:
      >
      > > Hi Beat,
      > >
      > > I should have said "God or the divine is sterile" since religion is
      > man's
      > > creation.
      > >
      > > In any case, the reason I call this a Hegelian joke goes back to how
      > Hegel
      > > reminds us that we are to provide the concept of the various terms we
      > > employ. Thus, there is the common and speculative conception of the
      > > absolute
      > > just as there are two conceptions of the truth. Hegel's conception
      > of the
      > > absolute shares with the common conception the idea of an absolute
      > content
      > > being unconditioned. But he does not share the view that an absolute
      > > content
      > > is something that lies beyond finite existence. This difference, in my
      > > view,
      > > is revealed by a difference between abstract and speculative form, the
      > > latter being the infinite form of an identity in difference that
      > > requires a
      > > human mind employing a dual focus. You, I believe, make a simliar
      > point in
      > > your post if we just drop my reference to dual focus.
      > >
      > > So if we move away from religion and consider perception, the thing of
      > > perception is meant to be absolute. But at the point where perceptual
      > > consciousness breaksdown we get two moments - being-for-self and
      > > being-for-another circling in a dialectic. The moment of creation is the
      > > speculative insight that recollects or sees again but as if for the
      > first
      > > time the identity in this cycling of differences as the unconditioned
      > > universal. What strikes perceptual consciousness as some sort of
      > > nonsense is
      > > meant to be taken up by the reader as a newfound coherence: the
      > > unconditioned universal. This new content comes with insight into the
      > > absolute form of the movement.
      > >
      > > Returning to Hegel's point about the same content, both religion and
      > > philosophy attend to spiritual content. They both attend to being imbued
      > > with significance. But religion explains the presence of such a curious
      > > content by picturing a god who creates the world - thus accounting
      > for its
      > > spiritual significance - whereas philosophy actually creates this
      > > world out
      > > of its own speculative resources - a different way of accounting for
      > > spiritual significance. More properly put Hegel makes the absolute our
      > > abode
      > > rather than a magnificent god in part because he wants to comprehend
      > what
      > > religion merely pictures: the creation of order out of chaos or the
      > > emergence of the spiritual as a human achievement.
      > >
      >
      > Alan,
      >
      > I think with this Bob and Paul and John would agree: there is only a
      > difference in form (picture thinking - speculative thinking) but not in
      > content. More, if you do not deny that at least Christian religion has
      > an explicit speculative base then Hegel's philosophy has 'only' elevated
      > and developed the rational within religion in logical form, in the
      > Concept. Further, if you do not deny that religion is an important
      > manifestation of human spirit then Hegel's philosophy would be the
      > culmination point of this manifestation. Is this true?
      >
      > Regards,
      > Beat Greuter
      >
      > > So as you say, religion may have lost its absoluteness for
      > explaining the
      > > world, but I would not view this merely as an historical outcome but one
      > > which Hegel views as having conceptual import. We have moved beyond
      > > telling
      > > pleasing stories about creation to recognizing our destiny as creators.
      > >
      > > regards, Alan
      > >
      > > From: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > [mailto:hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>] On
      > > Behalf Of
      > > greuterb
      > > Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 6:33 AM
      > > To: hegel@yahoogroups.com <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > <mailto:hegel%40yahoogroups.com>
      > > Subject: Re: [hegel] Re: the death of God
      > >
      > > Am 27.07.2011 06:51, Alan writes:
      > >
      > > > Hi Bob,
      > > >
      > > > You cover a lot of ground here. I will focus on a few points.
      > > > ...............
      > > >
      > > > You then go on to say:
      > > >
      > > > "You have never explained why Hegel bothers to include Religion as
      > > one of
      > > > the three phases of Absolute Spirit. I don't think you ever will,
      > > > because to
      > > > do so would require that you take Religion seriously as more than a
      > > > convenient "allegory" for something that really has nothing to do with
      > > > religion as commonly understood. Nor have you explained why Hegel
      > > > describes
      > > > philosophy and religion as having the same "content.""
      > > >
      > > > ...................
      > > >
      > > > So you ask why does Hegel say philosophy and religion have the same
      > > > content?
      > > > I notice you do not answer your own question. I suspect it is
      > > because you
      > > > believe that it is evident that this means that they are quite
      > > close. But
      > > > this is a Hegelian joke. The understanding and speculative reason
      > > > share the
      > > > same content: the truth. What they do not share is the same form. Form
      > > > makes
      > > > all the difference for Hegel. For the understanding form is
      > abstract. It
      > > > represents. Philosophy and religion share the same content: the
      > > > absolute or
      > > > the identity of being and significance. But religion represents the
      > > > absolute
      > > > whereas philosophy emerges at the point that representation breaks
      > > > down. The
      > > > absolute form - unlike the religious absolute - creates at the
      > point of
      > > > breakdown by providing the insight into absolute form that becomes new
      > > > content. What Hegel never says but which is implied by everything
      > > else he
      > > > says is that the religious absolute is sterile. It does not because it
      > > > cannot create since creation involves a dual focus allowing for a
      > > > recollective insight which is the creative event. It is something
      > > only man
      > > > is capable of. Religion pictures creation. But only man creates.
      > > >
      > > > I will stop here.
      > > >
      > > > regards, Alan
      > > >
      > >
      > > Alan,
      > >
      > > Now we are at the point again we discussed since more than 10 years.
      > > Hegel wrote several times in his work (please do not insist on
      > > quotations) that religion and philosophy have the same 'content'. From
      > > this Paul and Bob and others conclude that the Logic is 'religion' in
      > > philosophical (logical) form. Your reply is not bad, better I think as
      > > my several attempts since 10 years. Nevertheless, is your answer also
      > > sufficient? Your write: "The absolute form - unlike the religious
      > > absolute - creates at the point of breakdown by providing the insight
      > > into absolute form that becomes new content." I take this as 'the
      > > philosophical absolute (pure) knowledge develops its own (new) content
      > > from which the form cannot be separated but is (like the content) a
      > > moment of the absolute. This I think is consistent with what Hegel's
      > > concept of the absolute claims. However, Hegel says "the same content".
      > > He does not write 'new content'. You say that this is a "Hegelian joke".
      > > But why a joke? Hegel is a serious philosopher. In such an important
      > > philosophical question he usually does not make jokes. But according to
      > > what you write here and to what I wrote several times in recent years
      > > the answer is quite easy: In the expressions "same content" and 'new
      > > content' 'content' does not mean the same. In the first expression it
      > > only means 'issue' or' topic' or 'subject-matter' or 'aim' or 'result'
      > > etc. as a general characterization of what is at stake in the forms of
      > > absolute spirit: 'the absolute', 'the truth', 'the whole'. In the second
      > > expression, however, it is said how this general issue is carried out or
      > > developed or appears (not merely as form but as well as content), and
      > > here there is no longer sameness but otherness. This does not mean that
      > > religion is perished in philosophy. Quite the opposite: it has further
      > > on its own right regarding form and content. With this Hegel avoids
      > > both: that religion becomes the servant of philosophy (i.e. deism) as
      > > well as that philosophy becomes the servant of religion (i.e. philosophy
      > > in the Middle Ages). But it means that religion has lost its
      > > absoluteness for explaining the world *). This now is the task of
      > > philosophy which takes the absolute as the conceptual movement of
      > > reality in all its manifestations (today the particular sciences
      > > extrapolating from their results to the whole try to adopt this task,
      > > but it is hopeless).
      > >
      > > *) You write: "What Hegel never says but which is implied by everything
      > > else he says is that the religious absolute is sterile." With this I do
      > > not agree.
      > >
      > > Regards,
      > > Beat Greuter
      >



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • john
      ... Dear Stephen, Of course I don t really know much of anything about all this. Just looking on the internet, I see that there are about 50,000 Jews in
      Message 168 of 168 , Aug 11, 2011
        --- In hegel@yahoogroups.com, stephen theron <stephentheron@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > John,
        >
        > Well there is still a German-speaking Jewish population although it is for the time being much smaller.
        > Besides which, there are others who are surely interested.
        > I see the irony of course.
        >
        > Stephen.


        Dear Stephen,

        Of course I don't really know much of anything about all this. Just looking on the internet, I see that there are about 50,000 Jews in Germany now. But it seems they mainly arrived after the fall of the USSR, and they don't know any more about Judaism or the Bible than dogs or cats.

        I believe most Protestants use a revised version of the Luther translation, and Catholics use a translation which just _isn't_ the Luther translation.

        The interesting thing about the Buber-Rosenzweig Bible is that it attempts to capture, not only the content, but also the form. It tries to stay as close to the actual form of the Hebrew Bible as it is possible to do in German. There is an English translation of the first five books following the Buber-Rosenzweig translation. But apparently German is much more amenable to this sort of thing than is English.

        So, anyway, Scholem asked if this translation, whose audience ceased to exist as it was being prepared, would, nontheless, find an audience. One might think that, fifty years later, Scholem's question could be answered. Did the work find an audience? Is it still in print? Does it now have an audience? Have there been, and are there now, people actively engaged in reading it?

        Of course it may just be too early yet to know. My view is that, just on principle, this should become the standard translation of the OT in German for both Protestants and Catholics. And all Germans who fancy themselves to be the least bit cultured, even if they aren't religious, should also have a copy of this translation and study it, just as they have and study Homer or the Greek play-writes. I don't believe I'm asking too much.

        John
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