Saturday, May 13, 2006

Wittgenstein quotes:

from "Culture and Value"

"Christianity is not a doctrine, not, I mean, a theory about what has happened and will happen to the human soul, but a description of something that actually takes place in human life. For 'consciousness of sin' is a real event and so are despair and salvation through faith. Those who speak of such things (Bunyan for instance) are simply describing what has happened to them, whatever gloss anyone may want to put on it."

"Predestination: it is only possible to write like this out of the most dreadful suffering -- and then it means something quite different. But for the same reason it is not possible for someone to assert it as a truth, unless he himself says it in torment. -- It simply isn't a theory. -- Or, to put it another way: If this is truth, it is not the truth that seems at first sight to be expressed by these words. It's less a theory than a sigh, or a cry."

"Rules of life are dressed up in pictures. And these pictures can only serve to describe what we are to do, not justify it. Because they could provide a justification only if they held good in other respects as well. I can say: "Thank these bees for the honey as though they were kind people who have prepared it for you"; that is intelligible and describes how I should like you to conduct yourself. But I cannot say: "Thank them because, look, how kind they are!" -- since the next moment they may sting you.
Religion says: Do this! -- Think like that! -- but it cannot justify this and once it even tries to, it becomes repellent; because for every reason it offers there is a valid counter-reason. It is more convincing to say: "Think like this! however strangely it may strike you." Or: "Won't you do this? -- however repugnant you find it."

8 comments:

John Stamper said...

Great email, Art!

And thanks, JAZ, for the Wittgenstein quotes. I'm a big fan of his.

Joshua Corrigan said...

I am a big (I think the biggest) fan of Art!

bpzahl said...

Wittgenstein says:
"Religion says: Do this! -- Think like that! -- but it cannot justify this and once it even tries to, it becomes repellent; because for every reason it offers there is a valid counter-reason. It is more convincing to say: "Think like this! however strangely it may strike you." Or: "Won't you do this? -- however repugnant you find it."

Jesus says:
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
" 'a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her motherinlaw—
a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.
Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

AMvL said...

How heavy is that?

Trevor said...

How come there used to be a bunch of comments under the Karl Holl post and now there are none? I only got about halfway through them one day and when I went back to finish they were all gone. What did I miss?

mike burton said...

My wife and I were having a "discussion" on the way home from Mistral after having had a few glasses of Cotes du Rhone and an extrordinarily delicious meal of herb encrusted monkfish with a, dare I say, absolutely sinful, hollandaise sauce. It was our second anniversary dinner.

Anyway, we ran into some friends of ours. they are a homeless couple who live downtown. Les and I had befriended them one afternoon in the park and we both really felt a strong urge to try to help them out. To shorten the story a bit and get to the point, we basically spent alot of time, money and effort on housing, transportation and the like to try to help them get their ship righted.

Alas, the ship was never righted and we basically gave up on them.

So, after we ran into them in the street last night, we were on our way home and it occured to me that we had really let them down. Leslie assured me that we had done all we could do to help them, and that we were justified in cutting them loose after it became apparent that we were being taken advantage of. And I agreed.

Then it really hit me. This is what is going on in Christianity today. We are ceasing to be a gracious people because we are basically making a bunch of Pharisaical loopholes in God's Law. It really makes us seem not so bad after all. It's OK for me to give up on them because thaey were taking advantage of me, therefore I am guiltless.

What a huge lie! It's not OK!

I was wrong, I justified my actions because it was a situation in which I was gettin' the short end of the stick! What selfishness! I just didn't want to suffer for Love.

Anyway, i think it really says alot about Christians today in relation to how we view sin and guilt and the desparate need for a righteousness outside of our own.

trevor said...

I read that Wittgenstein rejected his Christian beliefs towards the end of his life. Will someone please tell me that I was reading lies or something?

Thomas said...

Maybe you were reading lies, I mean why not? What is it that makes us sure we will not see what Wittgenstein saw in the end? Is rejection not equally as defensible as acceptance of the gospel in a world without empirical proof of the Jesus of the Bible?