Erich Fromm on Religion, Judaism and the Bible
5. From idolatry to life 159
5. From idolatry to life Although Erich Fromm is mentioned in practically every modem study on the critique of religion, he was a deeply religious man. Schwarzschild recalls how Fromm "once said to me so impressively that I wrote it down when I got back to the hotel: 'I can't use the word 'God' unless I am praying.' Rosenzweig once said about someone: one has to be extremely religious for such atheism.'' 1 In this concluding chapter we will first sum up the conclusions of this study before debating whether Fromm is a threat to religion or not. We have looked at Fromm's utterances about the whole spectrum of religion, and at what he thought about minor religious movements like Transcendental Meditation and Scientology. The three institutional religions to which he devoted most time were Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism. Because he knew Buddhism only in its intellectual form, not as a religion for the broad masses, he was very uncritical and even enthusiastic about it. Had he lived in a Buddhist country he might have been more critical about contemporary Buddhism, and also about original Buddhism, which in one way or another laid the foundations for the later development. Christianity was more familiar to Fromm. He criticized the "Christian" West for in reality being heathen, only professing Christian values in words. He picked up certain themes from the New Testament, like the critique of richness and the having orientation, and studied some phenomena from church history, like the Reformation. But...
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