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Cardinal Walter Kasper

Faith Asking About Its Understanding

A Contribution to the Discussion on a Topical Issue

 

From: Stimmen der Zeit, 8/2009, P. 507-519
webmaster's own, not authorized translation

 

    CARDINAL WALTER KASPER, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, deals with the reasons for the new topicality of the theme Faith and Reason. On that occasion he especially discusses recent contributions of Jürgen Habermas.

An old topic that many people long since have crossed off their lists, the theme of "Faith and Reason", has in recent years become surprisingly topical again. This issue is basically as old as theology. For from the beginning theology has differentiated itself from the myth and the mythical theology and has turned to the logos - i.e. to the classical enlightenment in the Hellenistic philosophy. By means of the principle of "fides quaerens intellectum" (faith looking for insight) it insisted that faith is neither blind trustfulness nor unenlightened superstition but is looking for and asking about understanding {1}.

There are many reasons for the fact that this old issue now has become anew topical. As a first reason one can mention the new revival and revitalization of religion, or better: of the religions after the failure of the modern utopias and ideologies. It is not about the escape into the irrational and emotional sphere, as in New Age esotericism, in amalgams of religion and psychology, and some pseudo-religious kitsch; it is about the great religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, which at present report back not only in the private and personal area but which have also returned to the public political stage, unfortunately often in a disturbing fundamentalist and dangerous violent form. The secularization thesis, which in recent decades was regarded as secured and which produced an almost objective necessity in the relationship between modernization processes and the privatization resp. death of religion, is now widely regarded as obsolete. Religion is back and asks for reasonable investigation and interpretation.

But we also experience disturbing forms of derailment of the modern era, the inner dialectic and boundaries of which become increasingly clear. On the one hand, the modern subjectivity has often changed into subjectivism and individualism, which become visible in the post-modern arbitrariness and the increasing lack of solidarity of society. On the other hand, we are witnessing an alarming reification of man. We are confronted with a scientism and naturalism which treats people no longer as subjects but as objects and sacrifices them to allegedly priority purposes. Such trends are evident in brain research and biogenetics, in the debate about abortion, in embryo research, in ideologically extrapolated evolutionary theories as in Richard Dawkins' indescribable pamphlet "The God Delusion".

 


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In such a situation in which the Humanum itself is at stake, the fight can no longer, as in the Enlightenment of the 18th century, primarily be directed against the priests' fraud and obscurantism; for the people's sake an enlightenment of the Enlightenment and a reflection on what is sacred to us is on the agenda.

Finally, and above all, after the experience of the last century we are confronted anew with the theodicy issue. The 20th century had begun in such a confident manner and put its faith in progress that it is scarcely understandable for us at the beginning of the 21st century. But in two brutal totalitarian regimes and in two world wars with millions of dead the earthly expectations of salvation have failed terribly. Auschwitz and the gulags, then the 11 September 2001 with which the 21st century has begun have startled us and have given us much cause for thought and let us doubt mankind's progress in respect for humanity. Now many people are in danger to lapse into a faint-hearted defeatism or a cynical nihilism. In this situation one begins to rediscover the wisdom and the motivating and inspiring potential of the religions and to make it fruitful.

 

Jürgen Habermas - the Enlightened Enlightenment

In recent years Jürgen Habermas has become one of the leaders in this debate. In his speech on the occasion of the awarding of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2001 he took up and set again the theme "Faith and Knowledge", under the immediate impression of the September 11, 2001. Just at the beginning he stated that by 11 September the tension between secular society and religion exploded in a new way. The secularization laboured under the illusion that it was able to acquire and to adopt theological statements and thus to overtake religion, it now sees itself confronted with the continued existence of religious communities; in addition Habermas states that through the secularizing take over, acquisition and transformations of religious contents something was lost and left behind a noticeable void. Reason has overstrained itself with its program of secularizing adoption, so that reason - over-exerted in such a way - now despairs at itself. The abstract philosophical concepts are of such a transcendental colourlessness that they give too little motivation and inspiration for coping with the huge problems that we face. Habermas states that the utopian energies are exhausted {2}; he speaks of creeping entropy of the scarce resource sense.

In this situation Habermas draws our attention to religion as a resource of sense and argues for a secularization that is not a hostile takeover, and that does not destroy or consume religion but saves it by translating it.

 


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He speaks of a saving deconstruction of the truths of faith, where religion has a say also to those who are religiously unmusical, and so he can keep distance to it without closing his mind to its perspective. A perfect example of such a saving translation is for him the translation of the biblical idea of man as image of God into the concept of the absolute dignity of every human being.

After the sensational speech at the awarding of the Peace Prize the famous dispute with the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on "Dialectics of Secularization" and "Reason and Religion" {3} took place in 2004 in the Catholic Academy in Bavaria, and on September 12, 2006 the famous speech by Pope Benedict XVI in Regensburg on "Faith, Reason and the University" {4}. The University of Regensburg responded in 2007 with an international symposium on "Faith and Reason in the Context of the Universitas Litterarum." Already before it there was, also 2007, in the Munich School of Philosophy of the Jesuits an informative panel discussion with Jürgen Habermas. In Habermas' contribution on "an awareness of what is missing" neither melancholy is expressed because of something that is irretrievably lost through the secularization nor a naive unenlightened enlightenment which thinks it had overcome religion, but an enlightened enlightenment that is aware of its own dialectic and its limits. It had to face the defeatism following from secularization, in order not to despair of the motivating force of its good reasons and to argue for a new critical acquisition and saving translation of what of the religious traditions was not yet realized [Unabgegoltenes] {5}. Habermas adds explicitly that he does thus neither want to replace nor to oust religion {6}.

If one takes account of this starting point, then it becomes clear how it differs already in its approach from the starting point of Pope Benedict's Regensburg speech. Habermas wants to save and to continue the unrealized [unabgegolten] Enlightenment in an enlightened way, and wants to save, whereas Pope Benedict stands by the model character of the Alliance of Christianity and Hellenism and criticizes the modern de-Hellenization, which according to him begins already to emerge in the late Middle Ages and was first in the Reformation and then in the modern era completely accepted. Habermas was disappointed by this turn to criticism of modernity {7}. The question is: Is the modern era a history of decline or an unfinished project, in which theology can and should interfere critically and constructively?

The background to Jürgen Habermas' considerations is an interesting historico-philosophical reflection that takes up Karl Jaspers' theory of the time axis in the middle of the first pre-Christian millennium. In world history the leap from myth to logos is supposed to have taken place there, from which came both the Judeo-Christian tradition and metaphysics: Jerusalem and Athens.

 


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The modern age has one-sidedly critically adopted the Greek thinking, whereas it rejected the Judeo-Christian message of salvation as something that was alien to it, or - as in Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel - has understood it as mere imaginative thinking and preserved it in the speculative thinking and thus subordinated it to itself. Against this unenlightened enlightenment, which fails to recognize its origin in the Judeo-Christian tradition as well as against an enlightenment that is made absolute and pretends to be complete, Habermas emphasizes the incompleteness of the dispute and argues for a self-critical reason that is ready to learn and to recognize the potential [Unabgegoltene] of the religious traditions of humanity {8}.

Habermas has thus in an unexpected way brought the Judeo-Christian tradition back on the agenda. But it would be wrong to speak of an emerging new synthesis of faith and knowledge. The opposite is true. According to Habermas, the modern era, not least Immanuel Kant has clearly marked the borderline between faith and knowledge. This split can no longer be repaired after Kant. The new debate is therefore led under the pre-condition that modern reason and modern belief mutually recognize their autonomy, which includes both mutual correction and criticism and the readiness to learn from each other.

The enlightened enlightenment for which Habermas argues can only be understood by considering the wider context of the history of ideas and by recognizing its importance. This conception is not a more or less accidental lucky idea or a draft ordered by the current plight. It is rather a critical adoption of one of the most important religio-philosophical drafts of the modern era: of Kant's position and of his work "Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason" (1793). Habermas has explained this connection in detail in his article "Die Grenze zwischen Glauben und Wissen. Zur Wirkungsgeschichte und aktuellen Bedeutung von Kants Religionsphilosophie" [The borderline between faith and knowledge. On the history of effect and the current importance of Kant's Philosophy of Religion] {9}.

Habermas presents here a consistently agnostic and - at first glance surprising - Republican interpretation of Kant. With it he claims Kant as a precursor for his conception of an ideal communication community, but he also goes beyond him. Kant had translated/replaced the biblical idea of God's reign on earth with the idea of the highest good, whereas Habermas uses the in his opinion functionally equivalent inner-worldly term of the Republic as an ideal communication community. I do not want to deal with the question whether this interpretation is right but leave it to the Kant experts.

With this agnostic and republican interpretation of the Kingdom of God Habermas wants to avoid the naive unenlightened enlightenment, which sensibly adopts religion by taking religion away from itself and thus annuls it.

 


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He sees himself as an enlightened philosopher of enlightenment who knows: You cannot eat the cake of religion and at the same time want to keep it. Habermas wants to keep the cake. He needs him as a sense resource and as a motivation and encouragement against defeatism. But as an agnostic he lets the statements of the religions rest. According to his written statements he, who regards himself as religiously unmusical, has respect for - as he calls it - opaque statements, but there is also a certain distance and strangeness.

 

Metaphysics and Freedom

The importance of this position for a new debate about the relationship between faith and modern reason is beyond question. As a theologian you will be grateful for it without wanting, however, theologically to adopt this position. For, despite all due respect, it raises also questions. In a second part of the considerations I want now to deal with them and will then develop an own theological position.

First, the question arises whether Kant's philosophy of religion can actually be interpreted and regarded as agnostic and basically post-metaphysical. As is well known, Kant holds the view that the theoretical reason gets mixed up in aporias, if it exceeds the area of the empirical, and so it cannot theoretically answer the question of God. Even the metaphysical tradition was aware of the limits of the natural knowledge of God. Aristotle already knew that metaphysics can in the end only stammer {10}, and according to Thomas Aquinas we do rather not know what God is than what he is {11}.

But Kant gives a new turn to this idea. According to him the theoretical reason admittedly fails because of the idea of God, but for him the existence of God is nevertheless a postulate of the practical reason. Starting from the practical reason, i.e. the moral freedom, Kant wants to lay the foundations for a metaphysics of freedom, as after him above all Johann Gottlieb Fichte has drafted it and as it is today on various occasions taken up philosophically and theologically {12}.

Kant was aware that the human reason is harassed by questions which are set to it by the nature of reason itself and which it can neither reject nor answer, because they exceed all abilities of human reason {13}. For him therefore it is true, "Some metaphysics has always been in the world and will probably also in future be found in it, but together with it also the dialectic of reason, because it is natural for it." {14} It is therefore no accident and happens not from a lack of thought that he writes a "Metaphysics of Morals" (1785/86), i.e. a metaphysics that takes the free, moral action as starting-point.

For this reason, it is difficult to speak in such an apodictic way as Habermas does of an irrevocable post-metaphysical era opened by Kant {15}.

 


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Kant did not want to end metaphysics; on the contrary, he wanted to substantiate it anew. After his death philosophy continued going this way: in the idealism of Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling and Hegel as well as in the dialectical materialism of Karl Marx. It does little matter whether they used the term metaphysics or not {16}. As a matter of principle, you can only overcome metaphysics by metaphysics. Empiricism or materialism, too, are metaphysics, though bad metaphysics if they regard themselves as general explanations of reality. Theodor W. Adorno has endured the dialectic that opens in the failure of reason, when he writes as last sentence of his negative dialectics, "Such thinking is in solidarity with metaphysics at the moment of its fall." {17}

The metaphysical question and with it the question of God cannot be excluded; you cannot let it rest. It arises irrefutably not only in the ancient philosophy but also in the modern thought that takes its starting-point from subjectivity resp. freedom. To say it with a word of the Bible, it is written in man's heart (cf. Rom 2.14 et sequ.). Man cannot be understood without at least the question of and the search for God.

The second question concerns the conditions making possible the republican ideal of freedom and its limits, i.e. the "theory of communicative action" (1981), which is fundamental for Habermas. In view of the facticity of reality Habermas is aware that this ideal can only succeed under fortunate circumstances, that it basically is even about a performatively assumed, counterfactual assumption: about the postulate and about the anticipation of an ideal, perfect communication community.

It has already often been noted that the ontological status of this postulate and this anticipation is unclear. Kant is also here much clearer. He has explained that the realization of a realm of freedom within a world that is controlled by the laws of nature is only possible under the assumption of the idea of God. For only God as infinite freedom and as Lord of nature is able to make nature a possible room of freedom and to bring it in conformity with man's self-determined freedom {18}. In view of the facticity of the world, human freedom and an order of freedom had no chance and no hope without the idea of God - a statement that one should well remember, particularly in the present, in comparison to other continents strongly secularized Europe.

In responding to and continuing Kant can be said: Unlike the atheistic humanism God's infinite freedom proves to be not a limitation and questioning of human freedom but the condition of its possibility. In a similar sense Max Horkheimer said, "It is in vain to save an unconditional sense without God." {19} Habermas has concerned himself with this sentence in detail; in the end, he leaves only the concept of absolute truth as a postulate {20}.

 


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But can a God who is assumed as a postulate and only a product of thought help and save in a world controlled by natural laws? The discussion about the theory of communicative action can go a step further. It has to wonder whether human freedom is concurrent with intersubjective freedom of action and freedom of communication. The ancient philosophers would have strongly objected to that. According to Aristotle metaphysics is based on amazement and wondering at the incomprehensible miracles of everyday life, according to him these mysteries stimulate reflection and lead to greater and greater questions. Metaphysics is therefore for him the first philosophy, i.e. striving for wisdom and love of wisdom, but not possession of wisdom. For both Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas it is a wisdom that is sought not for the sake of something else but for its own sake. Metaphysics is therefore the actually free science {21}.

This is an important and crucial idea. Freedom is not completed in the pragma, i.e. in action; it is completed in the theoria that without any specific purpose meets world, things and people and give room to them, let them arrive and, as it were, speak, and wants in this way to recognize the truth of reality. According to Aristotle there is more wisdom in Theoria than in Pragma {22}. According to the philosophical tradition Theoria is the fulfilment and happiness of man. For Theoria, which is not for the sake of some other purpose but is purpose for itself, corresponds to man, whose dignity it is that he must never be treated just as a purpose for something or someone, on the contrary, he is an end in itself. Metaphysics as free science that exists for its own sake is therefore philosophy of freedom and expression of the highest dignity of man. It resists to the aforementioned naturalistic misuse [Verzweckung] and reification of human beings.

The rehabilitation of the practical philosophy, in which Habermas is rightly interested, also requires a rehabilitation of the theoretical philosophy as wisdom teaching. It could be an important contribution to a refocusing on fundamental human behaviours that we have lost to a large extent: silence, amazement, contemplation, and wonder. All these attitudes break up the seemingly so obvious things as well as the delusions by prejudices and ideologies and give a free look at the mystery of life and reality.

 

Faith as a Source of Wisdom

If one connects the two critical comments, the question of "Faith and Reason" arises again quite new. The topic, as it were, turns round. Religion resp. faith are now no longer only a source of motivation and inspiration for the practice but they also are, and even first, a separate and independent source of wisdom.

 


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Faith and reason are therefore not two matters that are only subsequently related to each other, be it that theology uses philosophy as maidservant or the practical philosophy theology as source of motivation. It is rather essential to develop the reason resp. wisdom which are immanent in faith and thus to deal with the issue "Faith and Reason" as a separate topic that results from faith itself. That was exactly the concern of the classical axiom "fides quaerens intellectum"; it is faith itself that is asking about its understanding.

In the current theology there are different approaches to it. Above all, the monumental late work of Hans Urs von Balthasar is to be mentioned. Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI, too, goes in this direction. He starts from the lasting normative congeniality of biblical message and Greek philosophy, whereas Johann Baptist Metz sees Christianity cut off its Jewish roots by such an approach. According to him this leads to a halving of the spirit of Christianity. He therefore tries to win recognition for the Bible's and Judaism's spiritual offer [Geistangebot] and to manage the self-interpretation of the biblical message with the help of the Jewish anamnetical reason {23}.

One is first so far to concede that Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI is right, as the encounter between biblical message and Greek thought is not only a post-biblical but already an inner-biblical phenomenon. The Bible is wisdom teaching not only in the wisdom writings but it teaches wisdom from the first page. The book of Genesis already takes up ancient oriental wisdom teachings in the Creation story; the Egyptian Joseph, Moses and his successor Joshua are called wise men; the Messiah is expected to be gifted with the spirit of wisdom {24}. The New Testament knows a wisdom Christology and a wisdom Ecclesiology {25}. What is called wisdom in the Bible can already in John's Gospel also be called Logos. With it the bridge is built to the Christological and Trinitarian creeds of the early church, which are valid up to this day for all the churches. Christianity would be robbed of its foundations and its innermost substance by a fundamental de-Hellenization and its historically grown shape would ultimately be disfigured {26}.

The discussion between Jerusalem and Athens went on also later. This happened in medieval philosophy and theology in different ways with Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure and the Paris Artists' Faculty. The modern philosophy and theology, too, can by no means be classified by the general heading "de-Hellenization". Hellenistic thought was fundamental for the Renaissance, for Schelling as well as Hegel and their schools {27}.

 


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Jewish thinking is also always present; think of Philo of Alexandria in the classical antiquity, Maimonides in the Middle Ages, Spinoza in the modern era, today of Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Horkheimer, Adorno, Emmanuel Levinas and many others and of their by no means little influence on the current theology.

There are therefore no petrified, isolated spheres of thought facing each other - here the Jewish biblical and there the Hellenistic way of thought; and also the comparison of Hellenistic-Christian synthesis at the beginning and modern dissolution and decay is a simplification. The modern era is a complex, dialectical, unfinished process, in which the discussion between Jerusalem and Athens, Biblical and Hellenistic thought running through the whole tradition is going on. It is an unfinished project, which is to be continued critically and constructively, and to which theology can and has self-confidently, critically and constructively to contribute. Positions as those of Jürgen Habermas open this dialogue anew, but also lead beyond it.

 

Revelation - Saving Interpretation of Man and World

Theology does therefore not need to borrow from philosophy but can interpret the wisdom that is dwelling in the Revelation, can see the world from its perspective and in this way explain the consistency, persuasiveness and - by all means let's say it - the inner beauty of faith.

We met such a self-interpretation already in the interpretation of man as image of God in the sense of man's inalienable dignity. That is not the only example. Based on the freedom of God, who communicates himself in the love of the world, we can see the world as a place of freedom and communication. If one understands God's freedom of a love that is communicating itself as the comprehensive horizon of interpretation, then it follows from this that, differently to the Aristotelian thinking, not the substance but the relation is the fundamental reality. A relational understanding of reality is therefore the result. This becomes especially evident if one, as it often happens in the contemporary theology, interprets reality in the light of the teachings on Trinity, and makes It the paradigm of a Christian interpretation of the world, and shows that love is the sense of being (28). In this light also the Cross, which the worldly reason regards as the scandal of the Christian faith, can in faith be made understandable as the revelation of God's love entering into the most extreme human degradation, and - as Paul says - as God's power and wisdom (1 Cor 1.24) {29}.

In this way such an unwieldy dogma or - in the language of Habermas - such an opaque statement as the hope of the resurrection of the dead becomes at last understandable. If namely the call for absolute justice, a justice that will never be occur in the world, is not to fail, if it has to apply that the murderer is not to triumph over his innocent victim,

 


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then such confidence is only possible by trusting in another non-worldly instance and in the hope of the resurrection of the dead, as Benjamin, Horkheimer and Bloch have shown it and as Metz has impressively taken up it.

Here philosophy does not offer a redeeming translation to theology; on the contrary, theology makes its own independent offer of a redeeming interpretation of man and the world. To say it again with Adorno:

"Philosophizing, as it can only responsibly be done in the face of despair, would be the attempt to regard all things in the way in which they prove to be from the viewpoint of redemption. Cognition has no other light but the one which shines upon the world from the salvation: everything else does not go beyond re-construction and remains a piece of technique." {30}

 

Faith - a Responsible Risk

All these interpretations are interpretations of the faith. One can con nobody into accepting this offer and even less can and must not force it on people. One can demonstrate that these interpretations are a reasonable offer that proves its worth in the world and its questions, but one cannot "convince" [anbeweisen] people that it is true; there are also many counter arguments in the world and in life. In view of the extent of innocent suffering and horrendous injustice in the world the existence of an almighty and gracious God is not an obvious truth that can easily be explained and illustrated. Innocent suffering is the "rock of atheism" {31}. Faith is therefore not a system that wants to explain everything, but knowledge in hope, a knowledge that anticipates the completion. "Spe Salvi", "we are redeemed to hope," says Paul (Rom 8.24), and this is the first sentence and thus the title of the second encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI (2007).

According to the Bible the truth of God is truth in loyalty (emeth); it becomes evident in history but only at the end of time it will prove eschatologically to be true. In this world we are pilgrims who seek the face of God (Ps 27.8, 42.3). We do not yet see God; we recognize him only in enigmatic shapes; and only in eternity we will see him face to face (1 Cor 13.12), so "as he is" (1 Jn 3.2). Theological knowledge is therefore not a triumphalistic ideology of the beati possidentes (happy possessors) but knowledge of pilgrims and of hope {32}. Such an idea is not unknown to philosophy. Adorno says:

"The only form in which truth appears in the end is hope that emerges from reality by negating it. Without hope it would hardly be possible to think the idea of truth, and it is the cardinal untruth to pretend a being that was recognized to be bad is truth, for the sole reason that it was once recognized." {33}

 


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Hope that is seen - says Paul - is not hope (Rom 8.24). Hope cannot be proved. Hope is a risk. Blaise Pascal, the great opponent of Rene Descartes, has understood this when he at a well-known passage in his "Pensées" speaks of faith as a wager {34}. Faith is, as it were, a risk with which one puts oneself at stake. Søren Kierkegaard has similarly shown that you cannot count on getting out of existence; you cannot put you, as it were, beside you by thinking. As believer one is ultimately thinking with one's own existence.

John Henry Newman has dealt in greater detail with this idea in his teaching on cognition and faith. According to him the argumentation achieves only a convergence, i.e. a cluster of probabilities, which only become convincing in the light of the conscience's ability to draw conclusions (illative sense) {35}. In this context the scholastic theology speaks of the light of faith, which makes just only understandable the object of faith. We can say it even easier with Antoine de Saint-Exupery: "Only with the heart one can see well."

Faith is therefore admittedly not an unreasonable, daredevil risk; it is a responsible risk and a responsible wager. The believer can give an account (apologia) for the hope that is in him (1 Peter 3.15); he is able to expound the inner logos and the inner logic of faith. But faith does not give objectively convincing, demonstrable and thus generally comprehensible answers to the questions about life and about the meaning of life. You have to risk yourself.

The same is true for agnostics and atheists. They, too, have no objectively demonstrable answers; they, too, ultimately believe. One can ask together with Carlo M. Martini, SJ, and Umberto Eco "In what believe those who do not believe?" (München 1999). Both the believer and the non-believers run therefore a risk, both make - in order to speak with Pascal - a wager. Faith's conflict with unbelief can therefore historically not be decided and brought once and for all to an end. But the believer can ask the non-believer: Where is and who has a better and a more reasonable offer? Where should we go otherwise? Where else are such words of life? (cf. Jn 6.68)

Theology is therefore fighting against the faint-heartedness, anticipated despair, against defeatism and resignation, which have lost the courage to do great things (magnanimitas) and have given up the question of God as the final reason and goal in order to be satisfied with the small, often even banal pleasures of everyday life. It is fighting against acedia (laziness), which is idle, sluggish, bourgeois, sceptical, and of little faith, which makes absolute its finitude and weakness and apologetically presents it. But it is also fighting against the arrogance, the anticipated fulfilment and completion, the pride, self-glory (hybris, superbia), the Promethian gigantomachia, the delusion of omnipotence, the arrogance and self-certainty of ideologies,

 


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either ideologies which make faith a Gnosis that can know everything and then often become violent against others, or ideologies which definitely explain world and man without God, and which think they are able to cope with life without God - etsi Deus non daretur (as if God did not exist).

Faith opposes arrogance with humility. In the sense of Pascal it takes man's misery and greatness seriously: the greatness against faint-heartedness, the misery against arrogance. Knowledge of Hope stands therefore between faint-heartedness and arrogance; it is humility and generosity in one; it knows its own misery and nevertheless dares great things. It dares to live etsi Deus daretur {36}.

In a situation like ours, in which secular ideological promises of a golden future have disappointed and deceived, in which the utopian energies are largely exhausted and hope has become scarce, such an attitude is essential, even vital, because nobody can live without hope, neither individuals nor peoples {37}. Philosophy wants to uphold this light of hope when it with Adorno and Habermas explains the unimaginability of despair; faith wants in much more concrete terms to light this light of hope. With the topic Faith and Reason theology is therefore able to encourage faith and thought. This is the relevance as well as the urgency of our theme.

 

NOTES

{1} About this axiom and the relationship between faith and reason see W. Kasper, Der Gott Jesu Christi (WKGS, volume 4, Freiburg 2008) 16-22.

{2} J. Habermas, Zeitdiagnosen. Zwölf Essays (Frankfurt 2003) 22-49.

{3} J. Habermas and J. Ratzinger, Dialektik der Säkularisierung. Über Vernunft u. Religion (Freiburg 2005).

{4} See Glaube, Vernunft u. Universität - Erinnerungen u. Reflexionen, in: Benedikt XVI., Der Besuch in Bayern. Die Predigten u. Reden, edited by F. Wetter (Freiburg 2006) 104-120.

{5} "Ein Bewußtsein von dem, was fehlt". Eine Diskussion mit Jürgen Habermas, edited by M. Reder and J. Schmidt (Frankfurt 2008).

{6} J. Habermas, Nachmetaphysisches Denken. Philosophische Ausätze (Frankfurt 1988) 60.

{7} The same, Ein Bewußtsein von dem, was fehlt, in: NZZ, 10./11.2.2007.

{8} "Ein Bewußtsein von dem, was fehlt" (note 5) 28f.; J. Habermas, Jerusalem, Athen u. Rom, in: the same, Zeit der Übergänge (Frankfurt 2001) 173-196.

{9} J. Habermas, Zwischen Naturalismus u. Religion (Frankfurt 2005) 216-257.

{10} Aristoteles, Met 993 a.

{11} Thomas Aquinas, S. th. I q.1 a.7 ad 1; a.9 ad 1.

{12} I mention here only my teacher in philosophy J. Möller, Metaphysik. Denkvollzug der Freiheit (Würzburg 1997) and my disciple Th. Pröpper, Erlösungsglaube u. Freiheitsgeschichte (München 21988).

{13} I. Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, A VIII.

{14} in the same place, B XXXI.

 


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{15} J. Habermas has dealt with the issue of metaphysics after Kant on the basis of the important drafts of D. Henrich and R. Spaemann, in: Nachmetaphysisches Denken (Frankfurt 1988).

{16} L. Oeing Hanhoff, article Metaphysik, in: HWPh, volume 5 (1980) 1272-80.

{17} Th. W. Adorno, Negative Dialektik (Frankfurt 1966) 398.

{18} I. Kant, Kritik der praktischen Vernunft, A 223 ff.

{19} M. Horkheimer, Die Sehnsucht nach dem ganz Anderen (Hamburg 1970) 69.

{20} Habermas, Zeit der Übergänge (note 8) 190.

{21} Aristoteles, Met 981 b; 982 a and b; Met 1 lc.1; lc. 3 u.a.

{22} See the same, Met 981 b.

{23} J. B. Metz, Anamnetische Vernunft. Anmerkungen eines Theologen zur Krise der Geisteswissenschaften, in: Zwischenbetrachtungen, edited by A. Honneth (Frankfurt 1989) 733f.

{24} F. Sedlmeier, Wortoffenbarung u. Weisheitssuche. Erbe u. Aktualität des Alten Testaments, in: PATH 2008/1,25-52.

{25} See W. Kasper, Die Kirche Jesu Christi (WKGS, volume 11, Freiburg 2008) 49-53.

{26} See my Tübingen farewell lecture: Zustimmung zum Denken. Unerläßlichkeit der Metaphysik für die Sache der Theologie, in: ThQ 169 (1989) 257-271. Zu Auseinandersetzung mit einigen neueren protestantischen Strömungen: W. Kasper, Glaube u. Vernunft. Zur protestantischen Diskussion um die Regensburger Vorlesung von Papst Benedikt XVI., in this journal 132 (2007) 219-228.

{27} W. Beierwaltes, Griechische Metaphysik u. christliche Theologie, in: Glaube u. Vernunft, edited by E. Dirscherl and Ch. Dohmen (Freiburg 2008) 33-44; see also J. Werbick, Griechischer Geist u. biblischer Glaube, in the same place 86-106.

{28} W. Kasper, Der Gott Jesu Christi (note 1) 37f.

{29} See the same, Das Kreuz als Offenbarung der Liebe Gottes, in: Catholica 61 (2007) 1-14.

{30} Th. W. Adorno, Minima Moralia (Frankfurt 1964) 333.

{31} G. Büchner, Dantons Tod, 3rd act, 1st scene.

{32} Thomas Aquinas, S. th. I/II q.1 a. 6.

{33} Adorno (note 30) 123f.

{34} B. Pascal, Pensees, Fragment 233.

{35} J. H. Newman, An Essay in Aid of A Grammar of Assent, 1870 (Mainz 1961).

{36} Still to be recommended J. Pieper, Über die Hoffnung (1935, Einsiedeln 2006).

{37} See W. Kasper, Zusage von Heil. Religion u. die Zukunft des Menschen, in: IkaZ 36 (2007) 300-315.

 

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