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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 50, 2008

Social and Political Philosophy

Jeong-Hyun Youn
Pages 1209-1230

없이 계시는 하느님; 다석 유영모의 절대자 이해

This paper is an interpretation of the thought of the twentieth century Korean religious thinker, Yoo Yŏng-mo (柳永模, 1890-1981), a pioneer figure who sought to re-conceptualise a Christian understanding of the Ultimate Reality in the light of a positive openness to the plurality of Korean religions. Yoo Yŏng-mo considered that it was possible to present an overall picture of harmony and complementarity between the three traditions of Korea and Christianity, and this is endorsed by the present thesis. This essay is aimed at providing a religious rationale for inter-faith dialogue. Using the principles of ‘Change’ (易, i) and ‘Yin-ying’ (陰陽) dominated in Chinese Classics and East Asian way of thinking, this paper lays out a methodology for envisaging harmony and mutual complementarity between traditions. The effect of some central concepts from within Confucian, Buddhist and Taioist tradition on the Christian thought of Yoo Yŏng-mo is then analysed and examined.In this respect, this paper argues that the Ultimate Reality based on the principle of harmony and mutual complementarity is not only both personal and impersonal as well as both transcendent and imminent, but also neither personal nor impersonal as well as neither transcendent nor imminent. Essentially, therefore, this essay accepts that Yoo Yŏng-mo’s equating of the Christian idea of God with the ‘Great Ultimate’ (太極) in Confucianism, with ‘Nothingness’ (無) in Buddhism and with the ‘One’ or Tao (道) in the thought of Lao-Chuang (老莊思想) of Taoism is a legitimate equivalence to make and that this does indeed pave the way for a potentially fruitful dialogue between Korea’s main religions. The drawing together of the Great Ultimate, Absolute Nothingness, the One Absolute from the Tao and the traditional personal God of Christianity gives the discussion an entirely new direction which has become a challenge for traditional orthodox Christian theology and also for a pluralistic religious society.

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