Tillich: Against idolization of prelimary concerns as ultimate

Next Theology

Ultimate concern is the abstract translation of the great commandment:  “The Lord, our God, the Lord is one; … (etc., Mk 12:29).

“The religious concern is ultimate; it excludes all other concerns from ultimate significance; it makes them preliminary….  Idolatry is the elevation of a preliminary concern to ultimacy.  Something essentially conditioned is taken as unconditional, something essentially partial is boosted into universality, and something essentially finite is given infinite significance (the best example is the contemporary idolatry of religious nationalism).  The conflict between the finite basis of such a concern and its infinite claim leads to a conflict of ultimates; it radically contradicts the biblical commandments….

“Theology cannot and should not give judgments about the aesthetic value of an artistic creation, about the scientific value of a physical theory or a historical conjecture, about the best methods of medical healing or social reconstruction, about the…

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