Is Christianity an idealism? (1)

Christianity has entered world history with the bold claim that it is a revelation in the pure and proper sense of the word. All the religious movements and philosophical systems he found were for him the fruit of human wisdom. By virtue of this assertion, Christianity stubbornly denies that it belongs in its essence to this world. On the contrary, it claims to take us out of it and to put us in touch with a reality that even the most ingenious person’s thought and intuition cannot reach. However, when Christianity speaks of revelation, we should not understand by this concept any abnormal psychopathological manifestations, nor supernormal gifts such as clairvoyance, telepathy, etc. Revelation means that the truth itself – not as a principle, idea or value, but as a person – is revealed to the person on his own initiative. It has a completely objective character and differs sharply from the other subjective experiences and manifestations of its carriers and intermediaries. In this way, revelation ranks next to immediate sensory experience as one of the sources of human knowledge. However, sensory experience presupposes the initiative and activity of man, who himself, with his own efforts, seeks to know the reality included in the boundaries of the visible world. Revelation, on the other hand, is a top-down movement that meets man and reveals to him a superworldly, supernatural reality to which his own efforts cannot bring him. For Christianity, therefore, there are two kinds of realities – natural and supernatural, which correspond to two ways of revelation – sensory experience and revelation. The latter consists of two main elements: 1. means and 2. content. The means originate from this world and to them belong above all people and objects that mediate the revelation, thought forms and language in which it is expressed, the historical situation in which it is realized, etc. The content on the other hand has a completely supernatural character and represents something completely new and unknown that cannot be reduced to a given reality. But the latter, due to its close proximity to man, influences his consciousness so strongly that he often makes it a basic and absolute criterion for clarifying all phenomena, regardless of their origin. And since the means of revelation belong, as we have said, to this reality, he is inclined to identify its content with themselves and with their manifestations. In this respect, the law of the hierarchy of values ​​applies. The lower a value, the stronger it is, and vice versa – the higher its character, the weaker its impact and the greater the danger of being absorbed by the stronger than it. Attempts to destroy the transcendental-open character of Christianity and to decompose its content into phenomena of the immediately given reality are called by the general name immanentism. Two basic conceptions have been formed on this reality since ancient times: 1. realism or materialism and 2. idealism. Since Christianity bases the spirit on its worldview, the closest thing to the idea is to bring it under the denominator of idealism and to consider it as a variant of it. To this day, the vast majority believe that Christianity can only thrive and flourish in idealistic epochs, and that when they are overcome by realism or materialism, then it must disappear by necessity.

N.B. For the first time this text by KONSTANTIN TSITSELKOV was published in the magazine Spiritual Culture, vol. 6, 1949, pp. 12-23.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *