Aan het nihilisme voorbij: de godsdienstfilosofie van Nishitani | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268



In his philosophy of religion the Japanese philosopher Nishitani (b. 1900) argues the idea that Western civilisation is driven inevitably to nihilism both by the results of its science and by a greed inducing liberalist economy. is the inevitable consequence of the feeling that things no longer make sense.

While holding to supposed entities (God, Jesus, self or soul, eternity), Christianity is not able to withstand the attack of nihilism, nor does the anthropocentricity of the (Western) Enlightenment provide a satisfying answer. According to Nishitani one has simply to accept the (naturalistic) results of science and go through the experience of meaninglessness in order to overcome nihilism via the realization of ‘nothingness’ achieved in the experience of

In this article Nishitani’s ideas are introduced and described (I and II). His critique of Christianity is expounded and discussed. It is shown how Christianity can learn from his critique of Western and Christian ideas. The question is posed as to whether it is possible for him to do without the idea of Transcendence (III). The final question dealt with is whether Christianity can be viewed as a genuine alternative for nihilism and Zen. The main argument is that Nishitani’s idea of a ‘field of force’ presupposes a Power who sustains it (IV).


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