Theologian William Hamilton: “I remain a Christian who doesn’t go to church. I faced all my worries and questions about death long ago.” Bill and Susan Sack of Northwest Portland knew him first as a teacher and then a friend. Hamilton encouraged them to live according to Jesus’ words. Susan Sack took 17 courses from Hamilton. He encouraged her to read, write –and think –more deeply. For her husband, Hamilton brought Scripture to life. Says Bill Sack, “He can read the Sermon on the Mount and bring you to your knees!”

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great theologian William Hamilton, today’s master version of Nietzsche

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/great-sages-frankl-kalas-on-the-indomitable-nietzsche/

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http://blog.oregonlive.com/lifestories/2012/02/theologian_william_hamilton_pr.html

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http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlgregg/2012/03/death-of-god-theologian-has-died/

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Theologian William Hamilton pronounced God dead as a metaphor, faced the consequences

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Hamilton still reads avidly, about Shakespeare, politics, some theology and the new atheists. Ahteists’ writings are uneven,  but it’s their attitude that annoys him most.

“These are blanket indictments of religion in general, or Christianity  in particular,” he says. “There is a self-righteousness, a glibness in  their writing. They are too sure of themselves. These atheists backed  themselves into a fundamentalist mode.”

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“The death of God is a metaphor,” Hamilton says.

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But theologian Hamilton is not an atheist. And he didn’t want to let go of Jesus, as the example of how humans should treat one another.

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Hamilton stopped going to church. But because  he wanted his children to know the Bible and understand how Jesus lived, he taught them Sunday school at home. “We’d gather in the living room with our Bibles,” recalls his son, Don, a journalist. “Dad would ask us to read parts out loud, and then we  would talk about what they meant. And after about half an hour, we’d be  dismissed.”

Older brother Ross, a photographer at The Oregonian, doesn’t think any  of his siblings –the couple eventually had five children –attend  church. “But all of us appreciate the teachings of Jesus Christ, what an extraordinary figure he was.”

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Hamilton told The Oregonian newspaper in 2007 that he had questioned the existence of God since he was a teenager, when two friends — an Episcopalian and a Catholic — died from the explosion of a pipe bomb they were building, while a third — an atheist — escaped without a scratch….

He explained the concept as “not about the beyond. It’s about living a good life…. Pay attention to the Christian story. Reread the Sermon on the Mount.”

Born March 9, 1924, in Evanston, Ill, Hamilton was raised a Baptist and went to Oberlin College before joining the Navy during World War II. He was commissioned an ensign trained to identify enemy aircraft for the planned invasion of Japan, his family said. In his sea bag was a copy of a book by one of the most influential theologians of the era, Reinhold Niebuhr, who became Hamilton’s friend and teacher….

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Nietzsche’s starting point was the notion that God is dead, that is, the idea of God was outmoded and limiting (Nietzsche, 1861, 1874, 1886) and that it is up to us to re-evaluate existence in light of this. He invited people to shake off the shackles of moral and societal constraint and to discover their free will in order to live according to their own desires, now the only maintainable creed in his philosophy. He encouraged people to transcend the mores [mo-rays] of civilization and choose their own standards. The important existential themes of freedom, choice, responsibility and courage are introduced for the first time.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_therapy#Background

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To use Maureen Dowd’s words/lexicography, Nietzsche’s body of written work created a character called “God is dead [we have one shot to do good in this fleeting life of ours  — make it count!],”  a remote, superior sort who comes down from the mountaintop during campaigns to assure us that he’s just like us.

“Traditional Christianity” is not on the mountaintop.   He’s here, mingling among us, present but absent. A fence wrapped around a wall [proselytizer hypocrite].

Pulpiteers are right when they say it’s easy to imagine Traditional Christianity in the Garden of Eden.   I can visualize him right now, lapidary [stone edifice] and frozen, in the Rose Garden. A statue of himself.

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Nietzsche’s affirmation of life    –

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/nietzsche-1844-1900-the-most-misunderstood-negative-icon-amor-fati-love-of-fateaffirmation-of-life/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/your-stigma-by-others-does-not-define-you/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/alone-natures-reality/

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Life is worth living only if there are goals inspiring one to live. Accordingly, Nietzsche saw nihilism (“all that happen are meaningless”) as without goals.

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http://atheism.about.com/od/nihilismnihilists/a/nietzsche.htm

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Nietzsche discredited asceticism, because it denies one’s living in the world.

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Nietzsche denied that values are objective facts which are rationally necessary, universally binding commitments:   Our evaluations are interpretations, and not reflections of the world, as it is, in itself, and, therefore, all ideations take place from a particular perspective.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meaning_of_life#20th_century_philosophy

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Nietzsche’s idealized individual invents his or her own values and creates the very terms they excel under.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism#Kierkegaard_and_Nietzsche

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Nietzsche chastens that life is full of absurdity, and one must make his and her own values in an indifferent world. One can live meaningfully (free of despair and anxiety) in an unconditional commitment to something finite, and devotes that meaningful life to the commitment, despite the vulnerability inherent to do so.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meaning_of_life#20th_century_philosophy

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Although Albert Camus considered himself an atheist like Jean Paul Sartre, Camus later came to tout the idea that the absence of religious belief can simultaneously be accompanied by a longing for “salvation and meaning.” This line of thinking presented an ostensible paradox and became a major thread in defining the idea of absurdism in Camus’ writings.    Like Viktor Frankl [will to meaning] & Nietzsche [known for the will to power, whose prodigy was Alfred Adler],  Camus strived for the will to meaning in life.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Camus#Religious_beliefs_and_absurdism

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_to_power

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheist_existentialism

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Camus said that people can  strive to be “heroic nihilists,”  living with dignity in the face of absurdity, living with “secular saintliness,” fraternal solidarity, and rebelling against and transcending the world’s indifference.    Jean-Paul Sartre also espoused an unconditional commitment to something finite, and to devote a meaningful life to this commitment.    But Camus discouraged suicide unless all other alternatives are exhausted to find meaning in life, vs. Sartre’s free will to take one’s own life.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meaning_of_life#19th_century_philosophy

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_suicide#Absurdism

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Sartre, who was an atheist, believed that if there is no God to have conceived of our essence or nature, then we must come into existence first, and then create our own essence out of interaction with our surroundings and ourselves. With this come serious implications of self-responsibility over who we are and what our lives mean. For this reason, meaning is something without representation or bearing in anything or anyone else. It is something truly unique to each person – separate, independent.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meaning_(existential)#Sartre

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Many forms of Existentialist thinking essentially begin with the premise that life is objectively meaningless, and proceed to the question of why one should not just kill oneself; they then answer this question by suggesting that the individual has the power to give personal meaning to life.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_suicide#Liberalism

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gumption_trap#Setbacks

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Existential nihilism

Existential nihilism is the belief that life has no intrinsic meaning or value. With respect to the universe, existential nihilism posits that a single human or even the entire human species is insignificant, without purpose and unlikely to change in the totality of existence. The meaninglessness of life is largely explored in the philosophical school of existentialism.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism#Existential_nihilism

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ego death/spiritual awakening    –

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eckhart_Tolle#Inner_transformation

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After having suffered from long periods of suicidal depression, Tolle says he experienced an “inner transformation.”  That night he awakened from his sleep, suffering from feelings of depression that were “almost unbearable,” but then experienced a life-changing epiphany.  Recounting the experience, Tolle says,

I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And in this a question arose without an answer: who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self? I felt drawn into a void! I didn’t know at the time that what really happened was the mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the unsatisfying past and the fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved. The next morning I woke up and everything was so peaceful. The peace was there because there was no self. Just a sense of presence or “beingness,” just observing and watching.

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Tolle recalls going out for a walk in London the next morning, and finding that “everything was miraculous, deeply peaceful. Even the traffic.” The feeling continued, and he began to feel a strong underlying sense of peace in any situation. Tolle stopped studying for his doctorate, and for a period of about two years after this he spent much of his time sitting, “in a state of deep bliss,” on park benches in Russell Square, Central London, “watching the world go by.” He stayed with friends, in a Buddhist monastery, or otherwise slept rough on Hampstead Heath. His family thought him “irresponsible, even insane.”

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ego_death#Modern_claims_of_ego_death

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispositional_affect#Characteristics

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence#History

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emptiness#Sociology.2C_philosophy.2C_and_psychology

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Existentialism, the “philosophic movement that gives voice to the sense of alienation and despair”, which comes from “man’s recognition of his fundamental aloneness in an indifferent universe.” People whose response to the sense of emptiness and aloneness is to give excuses live in bad faith; “people who face the emptiness and accept responsibility aim to live “authentic” lives.”

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Existentialists argue that “man lives in alienation from God, from nature, from other men, from his own true self.” Crowded into cities, working in mindless jobs, and entertained by light mass media, we “live on the surface of life,” so that even “people who seemingly have “everything” feel empty, uneasy, discontented.”

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In Nelson W. Aldrich Jr.’s Old Money, he describes the relationship between emptiness and envy:

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Envy is so integral and painful part of what animates human behavior in market societies that many people have forgotten the full meaning of the word, simplifying it into one of the symptoms of desire.

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It is that (a symptom of desire), which is why it flourishes in market societies: democracies of desire, they might be called, with money for ballots, stuffing permitted. But envy is more or less than desire. It begins with the almost frantic sense of emptiness inside oneself, as if the pump of one’s heart were sucking on air. One has to be blind to perceive the emptiness, of course, but that’s what envy is, a selective blindness.

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Invidia, Latin for envy, translates as ‘nonsight,’ and Dante had the envious plodding along under cloaks of lead, their eyes sewn shut with leaden wire. What they are blind to is what they have, God-given and humanly nurtured, in themselves.”

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_night_of_the_soul#In_popular_culture

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul#Philosophy_of_mind

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