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Stanisław ZiemiańskiCorresponding author

Some Remarks on the Criticism of the Proofs for the Existence of God Presented in 'Religion. If There Is no God' by L. Kołakowski

2 – 1997, pages 117-129
Date of online publication: 30 November 2020
Date of publication: 30 November 1997


Leszek Kołakowski, who was brought up in the climate of Marxist philosophy, has moved away very considerably from the Marxist position of extreme atheism, but he may not be called a convert. Of the two contrasting attitudes which may be assumed in respect of the existential problems, the attitude of the priest and the attitude of the jester, Kołakowski is closer to the latter. The priest, if he is to perform his role well, should take his duties seriously; he should be convinced of the truth of the deity that he serves. In carrying out his office he is expected to be ceremonious, formal and serious. The jester's position is more comfortable. His task is not to conduct a systematic and serious search for the truth: it is more the role of the critic. He is to observe the faults, the nonsenses, and the blunders, unconcerned for the persons at the butt-end of his critique and how they are to extricate themselves from it. The jester need not be a merry clown at all. Perhaps that is why alongside God, the sub-title of Kołakowski's book mentions things that are sad. Kołakowski is fascinated by the figure of Satan, who wants to be taken seriously but in culture, especially in the folk culture is attributed grotesque forms. Only the devil of the jasełka traditional Polish Christmas play makes audiences laugh hilariously, the real devil is deadly serious, since he is eternally thirsting for the truth and for love. Kołakowski is not pleased with his role of jester. But neither would he be any use as a priest. He has no gospel of his own which he could pass on to other people. He is trapped between two absurdities, which he briefly formulates after Pascal as: „The basic tenets of faith... are absurd, and yet the world image which excludes those tenets is even more absurd".

Cite this article

Ziemiański, Stanisław. “Some Remarks on the Criticism of the Proofs for the Existence of God Presented in 'Religion. If There Is no God' by L. Kołakowski.” Forum Philosophicum 2 (1997): 117–29. doi:10.35765/forphil.1997.0201.8.