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Rudolf Bultmann

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The mythology of the New Testament, also, is not to be questioned with respect to the content of its objectifying representations but with respect to the understanding of existence that expresses itself in them.
--
New Testament and Mythology and Other Basic Writings (1984), p. 10

 
Rudolf Bultmann

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There is obviously a place in life for a religious attitude for awe and astonishment at existence. That is also a basis for respect for existence. We donít have much of it in this culture, even though we call it materialistic. In this culture we call materialistic, today we are of course bent on the total destruction of material and its conversion into junk and poisonous gases. This is of course not a materialistic culture because it has no respect for material. And respect is in turn based on wonder.

 
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First, the individual's self-consciousness must be so far developed, so profoundly stirred, that it confronts the ideal of an absolute good, an eternal telos, which is identical with its own immortality. Otherwise no consciousness of sin in the Christian sense can ever arise. The existence of such an ideal for the individual is not determined by the possession of a more or less adequate intellectual conception of what this good may be, in the sense of logical content, but depends solely on whether the individual acknowledges something which is absolutely the transformation of his personal existence, so that all other ends become by comparison relative. This is existential pathos, which expresses itself, not as esthetic pathos is satisfied to express itself, namely in words, but in deeds, or rather in an inner transformation and direction of the subject's existence with respect to the absolute good. The development of this attitude is tantamount to the development of the personality to its highest potentiality.

 
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If thou wouldst make progress, be content to seem foolish and void of understanding with respect to outward things. Care not to be thought to know anything. If any should make account of thee, distrust thyself. (158).

 
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Every human being, of whatever origin, of whatever station, deserves respect. We must each respect others even as we respect ourselves. This, as the sages of many lands have taught us, is a golden rule in individual and group, as well as international, relations.

 
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