Spirit and Community
With the passage from the sensible to the spiritual presence of Christ, the community formed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit comprises a unique and unsurpassable intersubjectivity of self-divesting love for the other. The community necessarily takes on institutional forms: it becomes a church with doctrines, teachings, orders, and sacraments (the highest of which is the eucharistic sharing in the life and death of Christ). By this means reconciliation is realized in the world. Hegel identifies several stages in this process: the individual heart, the church as a worldly power, the ethical realm where the principle of freedom penetrates into the world, new forms of subjectivity (which are in danger of becoming subjectivistic), and speculative philosophy (which provides ‘refuge’ for religion in the modern world). Whether the community of faith will pass away in the process is one of the unresolved tensions in Hegel’s thought.
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