In this article, Ong separates his thoughts on the relationship between Kafka, the Catholic Church, and Western philosophy into five sections.  In the first section, Ong comments on the popularity of Kafka in the West beginning after the author's death in 1924, and he asserts that it is Kafka's irony in particular that draws people to his work.  Because this irony is so strong in works such as The Castle, Ong wants to address what this irony means for Westerners of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Does Kafka's irony oppose this tradition?  In the second section of the article, Ong answers this question by stating that Kafka does assail the prevailing religious philosophy in Western thought, but he makes it clear that this philosophy is not necessarily the Judeo-Christian tradition.  In fact, this dominant philosophy can better be described as the belief that there is a plan for every person, each person has access to all knowledge, and that knowledge can be used to make complete sense of the world:  a philosophical approach that Ong attributes to psychiatry more than he does to religion.

Ong goes on to say, at the end of the second section and throughout the third section of the article, that Kafka's perspective is more like that expressed in Eastern religions, where there is a sense of awe of what people cannot know, a sense of awe Ong labels "superstition."  While writers such as Kafka and institutions such as the Catholic Church (especially in the East) embrace superstition, the West tends to turn away from it:  Ong cites Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough as an example of how Western thinkers refuse to confront superstition.

In the fourth section of the article, Ong discusses in more depth the similarities between Kafka's vision and the perspective of the Catholic Church.  Linking them together by the fact that they both stand against Western skepticism toward supersition (though Ong readily acknowledges that the Catholic Church in the West compromised much of the superstitious elements in its tradition in order to fit into the new world), Ong sees both as embracing the Jewish concept of kadosh, the idea that one is forever separated from the holy spirit.

This concept, Ong explains in the fifth section of the article, is especially apparent in one of Kafka's short stories, "Ein Hungerkunstler," in which asceticism plays an important role.  In this section, Ong also discusses the criticism leveled against Kafka's work--that it is anti-intellectual--and argues that while Kafka's works do express doubt about the human intellect, that does not make his work necessarily anti-intellectual.

Finally, in the last section of the article, Ong asserts that Kafka is important to the Western tradition, for he creates an opening for Westerners to re-evaluate their religious and philosophical perspectives and face the reality of their lives.

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