Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Freedom and the Death of God

Pope Benedict:

"I remain in the Church because only the Church's faith saves man. That sounds very traditional, dogmatic and unreal, but it is meant quite soberly and realistically. In our world of compulsions and frustrations the longing for salvation has awakened with hurricane force. The efforts of Freud and Jung are just attempts to give redemption to the unredeemed. Marcuse, Adorno and Habermas continue in their own way, from different starting points, to seek and proclaim salvation. In the background stands Marx, and his question too, is the question of salvation. The more liberated, powerful and enlightened man becomes, the more the longing for salvation gnaws at him, the less free he finds himself. The common element in the efforts of Marx, Freud and Marcuse is that they look for salvation by striving for a world that is delivered from suffering, sickness and need.

A world free of dominion, suffering and injustice has become the great slogan of our generation; the stormy protests of the young are aimed at this promise, and the resentments of the old rage against the fact that is has not been fulfilled, that there is still dominion, injustice and suffering. To fight against suffering and injustice in the world is indeed a thoroughly Christian impulse. But the notion that one can produce a world without suffering through social reform, through the abolition of government and the legal order, and the desire to achieve that here and now are symptoms of false doctrine, of a profound misunderstanding of human nature.

Inequality of ownership and power, to tell the truth, are not the only causes of suffering in this world. And suffering is not just the burden that man should throw off: someone who tries to do that must flee into the illusory world of drugs so as to destroy himself in earnest and arrive at reality through the conflict.

A human being always sees only as much as he loves...there is also the clear-sightedness of denial and hatred. But they can only see what is suited to them: the negative...without a certain measure of love, one finds nothing....One thing ought to be clear: Real love is neither static nor uncritical. If there is any possibility at all of changing another human being for the better, then it is only be loving him and slowly helping him change from what he is into what he can be.

Prayer is hope in action...true reason is contained in prayer, which is why it is possible to hope: we can come into contact with the Lord of the world, He listens to us and we can listen to Him...the truly great thing in Christianity, which does not dispense one from small daily things, but must not be concealed by them either, is this ability to come into contact with God."


-Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!"---As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated?---Thus they yelled and laughed

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him---you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

"How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us---for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."

Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars---and yet they have done it themselves.

It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"