As we have been discussing God and your beliefs it has struck me that most of you have some vestigial idea of God, a kind of blurred memory of something you heard about when you were younger. It also strikes me that, with a few obvious exceptions, most of you do not seem to locate God anywhere near the center of your daily concerns.

So, to respond to this I want to propose a redirection of the paper topic.

I still want you to address and summarize the various God arguments.

Also, please respond to the handout and to at least three of the tracts whose URLs I have provided.

The change comes here: rather than telling me what you have decided about God I want you to write to me about what the theologian Paul Tillich calls your "ultimate concern", that is, whatever it is that matters most to you in the world, the thing or things that gives your life meaning and point. Example: I was just reading an article/op-ed piece in Newsweek that discussed whether the Apple iPad (or iPhone, or i-anything) had become a substitute for God, whether, in a more general sense, some of us look for the same power and mystery in tehcnology that we once looked for in God, on the assumption that most people crave mystery and access to power.

Another example: some people act as if family was God, as if, that is, the ultimate meaning of one's life rests in one's connections with parents and siblings and extended family members.

Still others set up music or film or video/computer games as the ultimate source of meaning.

Others think they will find ultimate meaning in love, in that one special other person for whom they search.

Some people are ultimately non-ultimate; they do not believe that there is a power, or that mystery is real. They do not seek any final meaning or think that any such 'answer' is required of them.


In the section of the essay that deals with where you stand on the question of God, take a position, and offer reasons, why you believe in the traditional god or gods and/or why you have replaced God as your ultimate concern with something else, and/or why you reject the whole question of ultimate concenrns.  


As you write I want you to think about the difference between Kierkegaard and James: are ultimate beliefs better shaped to please us or are they more authentic of they disrupt our lives and even make us uneasy and anxious? Is the will to believe better than the leap of faith, irrespective of what we believe?

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>