Hans Küng, (born March 19, 1928, Sursee, Switz.), Swiss Roman Catholic theologian whose controversial liberal views led to his censorship by the Vatican in 1979.
Küng studied at Gregorian University in Rome and obtained a doctorate in theology from the Catholic Institute at the Sorbonne in 1957. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1954, and he taught at the University of Münster in West Germany (1959–60) and at the University of Tübingen (1960–96), where he also directed the Institute for Ecumenical Research from 1963. In 1962 he was named by Pope John XXIII a peritus (theological consultant) for the second Vatican Council.
Küng’s prolific writings questioned the formulation of such traditional church doctrine as papal infallibility, the divinity of Christ, and teachings about the Virgin Mary. In 1979 a Vatican censure that banned his teaching as a Catholic theologian provoked international controversy, and in 1980 a settlement was reached at Tübingen that allowed him to teach under secular rather than Catholic auspices. His more recent research has focused on interreligious cooperation and the creation of a global ethic. His publications include Rechtfertigung: Die Lehre Karl Barths und eine Katholische Besinnung (1957; Justification: The Doctrine of Karl Barth and a Catholic Reflection), Konzil und Wiedervereinigung (1960; The Council, Reform, and Reunion), Die Kirche (1967; The Church), Unfehlbar? (1970; Infallible?), Christ sein (1974; On Being a Christian), Existiert Gott? (1978; Does God Exist?), and Ewiges Leben? (1982; Eternal Life?).
Hans Kung has an academic affiliation as follows - Global Ethics Foundation.
Reviews - What do customers think about Does God Exist?: An Answer for Today?
Hans Kung's unanswered question Aug 2, 2008
Kung's theistic diatribe is typical of most polemics against Atheism I have read in the last 42 years, in that, as per usual, its central thesis comes to no conclusion, and its answer is just another illogical, unverified "assertion". Meanwhile, the reader is forced to wade through 800 pages of logical fallacies, didactic circles, and flagrant contradictions; only to end up with, either god exists or nihilism. Bull! But, on the other hand, in perusing those circles, and dodging the fallacies the consummate god-head is in some of the best cherry picking territory I have seen since David Hume blew creationism out of the water more than 200 years ago.
Liberal and comprehensive... Mar 20, 2002
This is a very thorough, comprehensive book. It is at times prolix - but this usually only serves to help you remember most of what he says. He does not however say that atheists tend towards nihilism. He is very liberal and completely unbiased, being careful to always give both sides of the argument even when one side seems rediculous. Perhaps mr mcduffie was reading the wrong book. If you want to acquire a thorough understanding of the evolution of modern thought, the basic histroy of the theology of the church and the arguments for and against God, i do not know of a better book to read than this one.
Comprehensive Intellectual Tome Oct 28, 2001
This is probaly the best book I have ever read. The scholarship is peerless. Important thinkers from Nietzsche to Einstein are explicated.It is an exhuative anlysis combining theology, psychology and theology. After reading it and understanding it one has a new context and breadth of understanding to exameine the question proposed. Agnostic, believer alike will benefit from this book that every intellectual should read.
God - The Ultimate Reality. Jun 16, 2001
In this book, which is at once brilliant and incredibly pretentious, Hans Kung attempts to show that it is reasonable to believe in God, even and especially in light of the modern world. The book is essentially a book of doubts, in which virtually every conceivable modern complaint and doubt about the necessity of God's existence is expressed and countered. The book is long, hard, extremely taxing (especially if you engage it properly) and terrifically complicated, so I won't even attempt to do anything like summarize it here. If you truly engage this book, you may find yourself both profoundly troubled and even perhaps experiencing the phenomenon of conversion, e.g. as happened to St. Paul on the road to Damascus. These are profound questions which have troubled the mind of man since he became conscious of himself. They are all the more difficult because there can be no "fence sitting". As Pascal says, "You must wager!"
For what it's worth, which likely isn't much, here's what I get out of the book. The atheist position, which is the doubt of God's existence or even the actual denial thereof, has a certain instability to it. The problem with this position is that while the Christian may be wrong in saying that the life of the atheist is intolerable, there is a tendency in fact for the tolerable to become "unbearably tolerable" - i.e. meaningless. The atheist can easily slide into nihilism - extinction into boredom (nothingness). It is against this tendency that the atheist is constantly at odds. On the other hand, the theist position runs into problems in that the theist is perpetually confronting the potential of doubt and to overcompensate for this, he runs the risk of retreating into fanaticism. Obviously despite all the atheist "disproofs" to the contrary, belief in God's existence lives on. So we have reached an impasse. We might ask the question, Is fanaticism bad? Yes and no. As politically incorrect as this statement may be, I contend that fanaticism is not nearly as bad as the alternative. If nothing else it shows that one has indeed something to live for. If one considers the Socratic dictum, "Know thyself!" as a guiding principle to living one's life, then in fact isn't fanaticism precisely this knowing of one's self? Or put another way, fanaticism is the conscious recognition of what one does in fact believe and the upholding of that belief in the face of skepticism. It is for this reason, however that a return to the traditional Thomistic proofs for the existence of God may be necessary. While a confrontation with modernity need not be taken to absurd extremes, the alternative of being assimilated into a meaningless existence is far worse than any reaction to it. Fortunately, Kung does not fall into a naive pluralism but asserts the exclusivity of the Christian revelation. (This of course is a difficult, troubling, and even painful question in the light of other faiths, but one that must nevertheless be answered.) Where Kung does err, he errs on the side of not being dogmatic enough. (As an aside his capitulation to certain feminist beliefs about the "goddess" and a primitive matriarchy, which virtually all experts now claim did not exist, is appalling. But, I won't hold it too much against him.) Nevertheless the book is good, and it will provide countless arguments for apologists to use against the fans of Nietzsche or Freud for example.
Answer with a Question Sep 2, 2000
Hans Küng (b1928) is thorough to a fault. From reading this book, I get the impression he could spend all day telling me the sun is out. ;-) I learned a great deal from this book. Nearly every philosopher and theologian from the time of Descartes receives mention, if not a critical exposition. It is difficult for me to recall an influential thinker during the past four millennia who is yet to be considered by Küng. The irony of such thoroughness is that Kung, in fact, leaves his own question unanswered. He does not state that God Exists much less offer a convincing proof. In some sense, I pity those who naively pick up this heavy material expecting the answer to the title to leap leap from one of the pages. That is not the intent of this exhaustive study. On the other hand, my own faith was strengthened by Herr Kung's argument which I would suggest is that it is equally reasonable and rational to believe in GOD as it is to believe in no god. Hans Küng methodically develops the reasonableness of faithing in the GOD of Abraham, and the Christ, Jesus. Based on the finding that it is reasonable to believe in the LORD, my GOD, I found new confidence in my spiritual relationship. My relationship with the LORD is based on a "fundamental trust", as Herr Kung calls it. In this way, I have learned to experience my spiritual relationship in a similar fashion to my valued friendships. Both are based on a growing trust. Although, I cannot prove my friend exists, I can prove that the relationship I have affects my life. In the view of Hans Kung, the grace of GOD plays an important role in this "fundamental trust". He explains, "But also like fundamental trust, trust in God cannot simply be decided on, willed, extorted or produced. I cannot simply create or produce ultimate certainty, security, stability, for myself. God -- as we saw -- is not an object of immediate experience; he is not part of existing reality, he is not among the objects available to experience; no intuition or speculation, no direct experience or immediate perception, can provide a 'view' of him. It is just because of this that belief in God is seen as a gift." In my experience it has required a bit of courage to move from the known to the unknown, however, that courage has been rewarded, in my case, with a strong spiritual relationship. If you are interested in the development of critical thought since Descartes with regard to our relationship with a diety, or if you are interested in learning about the function of fundamental trust in a faith experience which enhances a spiritual relationship, this book will be interesting to you.