Paul Tillich defined religion as the “state of being grasped by an ultimate concern.” He believed that religion involves a person’s ultimate concern, or what they consider to be of the utmost importance and meaning in their life.
And now, a closer look
Paul Tillich, a renowned theologian and philosopher, provided a profound definition of religion, emphasizing its central role in addressing the ultimate concerns of human existence. According to Tillich, religion can be understood as the “state of being grasped by an ultimate concern.” In other words, religion involves a person’s deep engagement with what they perceive to be of the utmost importance and meaning in their life.
One compelling aspect of Tillich’s definition is his emphasis on the concept of ultimate concern. He believed that religion is not merely a set of beliefs or rituals, but rather a transformative encounter that touches the very core of human existence. Tillich argued that religion is a response to the existential anxieties and longings of individuals, providing a framework for them to make sense of the world and find meaning in their lives.
To further elucidate Tillich’s perspective, let us turn to a quote from Albert Einstein, the renowned physicist, who also contemplated the nature of religion: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” Einstein’s words highlight the profound encounter with the mysterious and numinous aspects of life that Tillich views as central to religion.
Here are some additional interesting facts about Paul Tillich and his philosophy of religion:
- Tillich emphasized the importance of symbols in religion, suggesting that symbols bridge the gap between the finite and the infinite, allowing individuals to access deeper dimensions of meaning.
- He developed the concept of “the God above God,” which emphasizes that any finite understanding of God is limited and should be transcended in the search for ultimate truth.
- Tillich played a significant role in the Protestant existentialist movement, integrating existentialist thought with Christian theology.
- His book “The Courage to Be” explores the existential anxiety inherent in human existence and offers insights into how religion can provide the courage to confront and overcome this anxiety.
- Tillich’s work has had a lasting impact on contemporary theology and philosophy, with his ideas continuing to be studied and debated by scholars across various disciplines.
In summary, Paul Tillich’s definition of religion as the “state of being grasped by an ultimate concern” emphasizes the transformative nature of religious experience. His view highlights the role of religion in addressing the deepest existential concerns and providing individuals with a framework for finding meaning and purpose in life.
Video related “How did Paul Tillich define religion?”
In this YouTube video titled “Paul Tillich Christianity and the Encounter of World Religions,” the speaker summarizes the first two chapters of Paul Tillich’s book on the subject. Chapter 1 explores Christianity’s challenge of confronting ideologies that elevate national and social concerns to ultimacy, such as fascism, communism, and secularism. Chapter 2 discusses the historical shifts in Christianity’s relationship with other religions, from exclusivity to inclusivity. Tillich suggests a typological approach to comparing religions and emphasizes the importance of dialogue in reaching religious freedom and understanding. Overall, Tillich believes that dialogue is key to recognizing the spiritual presence in other expressions of ultimacy.
Additional responses to your query
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Tillich believes the essence of religious attitudes is what he calls "ultimate concern". Separate from all profane and ordinary realities, the object of the concern is understood as sacred, numinous or holy.
Tillich’s definition of religion is "ultimate concern." This means that religion is something that a person is deeply concerned about. This could be concern about a god, about an afterlife, about ethics, about the meaning of life, or about anything else that a person feels is important.
The influential twentieth-century Christian theologian and philosopher Paul Tillich presents his view of religion as being “ultimate concern”; he writes that, “Religion, in the largest and most basic sense of the word, is ultimate concern.