Fackenheim & Quinn

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14 Dec 2011
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Sept.21/11
-continuing from Monday. 7th thesis, a happy ending for all will be the result if theism is
right. This is the idea of life after death, and this does not necessarily follow in
accordance with theism. When looking at Judaism and Islam, the worlds largest theisms,
do not promise a happy ending for all. The 8th is life after death. We have the problem of
eternal existence. Not every version of Christianity believes in life after death. Theism,
belief in God or God’s is logically separate in believing in life after death. The two do not
follow.
-the title of his article is not that religion does give meaning to life but rather that it CAN
give meaning to life
Fackenheim
-Judaism and the meaning of life.
-section 1 he says Judaism rejects deism. Deism being a kind of theism. Believes in a
God that does not govern the universe. The God of Judaism is not just a person, but it is
an interactive person. He discusses mysticism, the view that there is a God of some sort
which is beyond human comprehension. This is not Judaism he says, rather there is a
personal relationship. A God that interacts with people. The encounters with God give life
meaning.
-second section he says human experience vastiliates between God being far and God
being near. There is a dialectic eschatology(the study of the end of times). This
relationship between God being far or near, this is overcome in an eschatological manner.
-what is the relationship? God commands, humans should be obedient. This relationship
involves humans being responsible. The obedience is a large part of the meaning of life.
-we can be obedient or disobedient. Both have a response from God, some form of divine
action. What is central is the idea of a contract, between God and people. In this case it is
the chosen people. He says that the contract is a kind of partnership. The partnership is
not equal. Humans are weak and have limits, so humans therefore break the contract
often, not God. If the contract is always broken, how does it last? Because God is patient.
-he uses the parental analogy when describing the relationship humans have with God. As
philosophers we have to think about whether this is a good analogy or not.
-This analogy has a problem. Just because you have faith in something, is not enough
because you can have faith in anything. You have to justify why one should resort to
faith. Another issue has to do with Einstein, he did not subscribe to his own religion.
Instead he looked at what is called a ’personal God.’ this is seen as childish. Another
problem is that when looking at the relationship between God and human as parental,
there are good and bad parents. A good parent would not allow for one child to hit
another child, or for someone to murder someone else.
-a possible essay question would be to look at a position for the meaning of life, having to
consider the implications.
Quinn
-the meaning of life according to Christianity. American philosopher and theologian.
-begins by looking at logical positivism, only sentences have meaning. If you are not you
are making a categorical error
-he rejects the limited view of meaning. He accepts that our lives can have meaning in a
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