Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
- James 5:13-16
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
- 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
“For Tanabe … philosophy is not about discussing the ﬁner points of logic, or about arguing or debating anything-it is not, in fact, an ‘intellectual’ discipline. For Tanabe, it is something much more fundamental—a process of relating, in the deepest possible sense, to our very own being-an idea that is partly shaped by his reading of Martin Heidegger.
“It is only through confessing, Tanabe believes, that we can rediscover our true being—a process he describes in directly religious terms as a form of death and resurrection. This death and resurrection is the rebirth of the mind through ‘other power’, and its passing from the limited view of the ‘self’ to the perspective of enlightenment. However, this shift is not simply a preparation for philosophy—on the contrary, it is the very work of philosophy itself which is rooted in scepticism and the ‘forsaking of ourselves to the grace of other power.’ Philosophy, in other words, is not an activity that we engage in, but something that happens through us when we gain access to our true selves by letting go of the self-a phenomenon that Tanabe calls ’action without an acting subject.’
“Continual confession is, Tanabe writes, ‘the ultimate conclusion’ to which the recognition of our limitations drives us. In other words, Tanabe asks us not to ﬁnd new answers to old philosophical questions, but to re-evaluate the very nature of philosophy.”
- Sam Atkinson (senior editor), The Philosophy Book, Big Ideas Simply Explained
Hajime Tanabe (1885-1962) uses religious terms, but they have no meaning in any Christian sense and may have little meaning in a Buddhist sense.
His concept of confession, the initial requirement in his view, before you can ever enter philosophy, is a confession that you know nothing. He borrowed this concept from Socrates in Western culture and a Buddhist monk named Shinran in the Eastern culture. Socrates used his Socratic method to question all of importance in Athens and none came to the realization that he, Socrtates, knew nothing, so he deemed himself the most wise because he was the only person who could make the conclusion that he knew nothing. Shinran’s argument is similar. Thus, Tanabe’s goal was to confess that you know nothing to achieve recognition of ‘absolute nothingness.’ In this state, we can become self-aware and gain great wisdom.
Although Buddhists do not believe in a diety, Shinran gained his wisdom from ‘other power’. Thus, that filters into Tanabe’s philosophy. This death and resurrection into a state of absolute nothingness may sound wonderful, but without relying on the true power and the true source of wisdom, there will be nothing more than nothingness in the ‘rebirth.’
Only through Jesus Christ can we be reborn. Instead of confessing our concept of humility through ‘knowing nothing’ so that we can gain great wisdom, we confess our sins to God. We admit that we cannot gain wisdom on our own. That wisdom can only come from God. Tanabe had to admit that there was ‘other power,’ but he never found it in his philosophy.
And surrendering our will to God, we not only gain true wisdom, but we gain salvation.
Yes, without God we know nothing – nothing of eternal life and thus nothing that ultimately matters.
Appropriating the “right words” does not save you. Surrendering to Jesus, believing and trusting in Him, that brings everything else into play and gives answers to our philosophy and as Tanabe was trying to find, it re-evaluates the very essence of philosophy itself.
If you like these Tuesday morning essays about philosophy and other “heavy topics,” but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Tuesday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.