Nihilism And Religion In Nishitani's Religion And Nothingness

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Nishitani approaches the concepts of God, atheism, nihilism, nihility, and religion in his book Religion and Nothingness. He comes from Japan and grew up in a time of economic ups and downs. He provides an Eastern perspective on the world and religion. He makes his argument with the idea of nihility in mind and seeks to explain why Western thought has such difficulty with the concept of nihility and the absence of religion. He considers the importance of religion in the world and especially in Western culture. According to Nishitani, Western thought is caught up in religion and destiny while other philosophers who try to explain the concept of nihilism are not radical enough when interpreting and analyzing its true meaning. Nihilism …show more content…
He refers to the concept of Sunyata which is a Buddhist concept that translates to emptiness or nothingness. A complete lack of meaning and purpose to the world around us. It is a Buddhist concept that often comes up to describe meditation when one clears the mind. A similar explanation is used when referred to nihility. The emptiness of the world and the meanings that have been ascribed to it by man and history. Some philosophers like Sartre and Beauvoir explain their thoughts on nihilism but Nishitani claims that they do not go far enough. He believes that they do not take the concept of emptiness far enough as he sees the whole world as having no purpose for existence other than just to exist and be rather than for some greater purpose like sustaining life or performing some sort of great service to the world. This is proof even further that Westerners have issues with the concept of nihility. Even when great existential philosophers attempt to explain the concept of nihilism, they are unable to be as radical as Nishitani believes they should be because they have experienced the idea of meaning and purpose from the moment that they could understand life and the world around them. The culture and society of Western thought is so rigid that it is near impossible to separate the ideas of life and consciousness from purpose and meaning. However, in Eastern …show more content…
The idea of God has become such a great being and has become so instilled in the thoughts and values of Westerners that it has become greater than man is able to control. Nishitani claims that religion and science cannot mix because science is of the objective and religion is not. But for Western thought, religion is of the objective because God has become so ingrained in the culture that, even if God were man made and not a true deity, He has become a true deity simply by the sheer mass of people who contribute to the idea of God. The idea of God has become so big that nihilism is not even a possibility for atheists of Western thought because the idea that purpose exists in life is still prevalent in the societal values of the West. Even if one does not believe in a greater being, the values are still existent in the documents and creeds of countries, so they still become instilled into a person from a very young age. This perspective means that God and therefore religion are still a large part of life no matter one’s own personal beliefs. The differences between the philosophy of the East and the philosophy of the West are impossible to ignore, but to understand the perspective of each. It is important to understand the reason that each one thinks in the way that they do. The societies that they were born into shaped their abilities to view

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