Dissertation
Dissertation > Philosophy, religion > Inter-American philosophy > North American philosophy > American Philosophical > The philosophy of the twentieth century > Other

Research on Tillich’s "the Courage to Be"

Author LiChao
Tutor TianZuo
School Tsinghua University
Course Philosophy
Keywords Tillch the courage to be being and nonbeing anxiety God
CLC B712.59
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Paul Tillich was one of the most important religious thinkers of thewestern world in the twentieth century. He described his theological method as“correlation”, which started with man’s existence situation and correlated theexistence conditions with message of the revelation. The Courage to Be in1952was a typical example of the method of correlation. This book not onlysurveyed man’s existence situation by discussing the question of courage, butalso gave a reinterpretation of “faith” on the ontological meaning of courage,through which the relation between man’s existence situation and faith wasrevealed. The concept of “the courage to be” in this book is the core of thisthesis. Around this core, there are several questions: what does the courage tobe mean? Why do we need it? How can we acquire it? In what sense faith isreinterpreted by the courage?The interpretation of The Courage to Be in this thesis indicates that inTillich’s opinion, man’s existence situation is to face the threat of nonbeing,and the courage to be is a kind of self-affirmation with the quality of “in spite”.The reason why the courage has the quality of “in spite” is that it depends onthe power of being, which makes all beings “stand out” from absolute nonbeing.God is this power, so God is the source of the courage to be.Furthermore, through the analysis of the courage to be as a part and thecourage to be as oneself in human history, Tillich thought that neitherindividual nor collectivity was the most solid foundation, and neither couldsupply the courage to face the multiple threats from nonbeing. Compared withthe secular world, the religion area is much closer to holy, and more capable tosupply the courage to be. However, neither mystical experience nordivine-human encounter is the source of perfect courage. The courage source whichbeyond mystical experience and divine-human encounter was called “absolute faith”,that is faith of “God above God”. The real “faith” is not only beyond the individual andcollectivity in secular world, but also beyond the specific religions. With the real “faith”one can make self-affirmation in spite of the multiple threats from nonbeing. This is Tillich’s reinterpretation of faith with the ontological meaning of courage. At last, thisthesis attempts to point out that what Tillich called “having the courage to be” is a stateof waiting and hoping.

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