The relevance of karl Jaspers' philosophy of religion today
- Anton Hügli
The author’s starting point is what he calls the dilemma of the post-secular world: although the voice of religion is banished from the public sphere in an allegedly secular society it is impossible to silence it. According to the doctrine of political liberalism, however, this voice can make itself heard only when it allows itself to be translated into the universally shared language of public discourse. But in this translation, what remains of that which is truly important to believers? What remains of the plurality of origins of belief? The thesis of this article is that Jaspers’ philosophy of religion is the answer to this dilemma. Jaspers demonstrates that now, only philosophy is the common ground on which we all can meet. At the same time, however, he also shows why, even in a post-metaphysical age, the idea of transcendence is not a subjective fantasy, but an intellectual necessity that discloses itself to the individual only when one gets involved with the traditional myths, images, and metaphysical ideas in their totality and in their full concreteness – not in a translated form that is emptied of content, but in the form in which they have spoken to people in the past. This presupposes a change of consciousness: the knowledge that no idea of transcendence is itself already transcendence, but is only a cipher for each individual, who experiences that he or she is supported by the cipher in his or her unique historical situation.