The Emergence of Existence as a Philosophical Problem Sartre's existentialism drew its immediate inspiration from the work of the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger. Though in Heidegger would repudiate the retrospective labelling of his earlier work as existentialism, it is in that work that the relevant concept of existence finds its first systematic philosophical formulation. And while not all existential philosophers were influenced by phenomenology for instance Jaspers and Marcelthe philosophical legacy of existentialism is largely tied to the form it took as an existential version of phenomenology. The existentialists welcomed Husserl's doctrine of intentionality as a refutation of the Cartesian view according to which consciousness relates immediately only to its own representations, ideas, sensations.
Existentialism was born out of the mind of Soren Kierkegaard as a Christian philosophy. It places a high emphasis on irrational faith that one acts on and does not study, thus rationality is devalued in theistic existentialism. Though born out of a 19th Century response to rationalism, its impact has spread into the 21st century and is finding its way into popular Christian books.
Though Existentialism is helpful in reminding Christians that rationalism is inadequate, it destroys the idea that Christians can truly have a relationship with God. Theistic existentialism is a system that devalues the rationality of faith — sometimes to the point of denying that faith is rational at all — and places a heavy reliance on experience within the faith.
In fact, one anecdote is often a misquotation of St. Francis, it appeals to the idea of working toward something instead of sitting back and figuring out how that something works. The question, according to existentialists, is why would one want to sit back and study God when one could just go out and live in a relationship with Him?
Materialistic science ultimately turns man into nothing more than a highly evolved animal, incapable of true morality, true goodness, or true beauty. Rationalism destroys all emotions, making all emotions irrational and inadequate. The existentialist looks at this, agrees that all of it seems logical, but then turns the other way and rebels against the rational system.
He seeks after the absurd and embraces it, taking comfort in his experience though it contradicts what he knows to be logical.
The birth of existentialism in the 19th century was a reaction to the Enlightenment thinking. If man is just a machine then art, love, emotions and all the other things that distinguish man from all other animals are just illusions.
The father of existentialism, Soren Kierkegaard, proposed his theory late in the 19th century as a response to the Enlightenment finding its way into Christianity.
By the mid 19th century, Christianity had succumbed to German higher criticism. Kierkegaard, saddened by what he saw, developed a system of belief that counteracted the rationalism of his day.
Kierkegaard taught that all of Christianity was based on experience and that one could not prove God existed or even make a rational claim about doctrine within Christianity.
Kierkegaard believed that if people would stop trying to prove God and instead experience Him, the world would be better.
Finally, Kierkegaard even applied his view to Scripture — though he believed the Bible was infallible based on a leap, not on any rational ground or evidential ground he also believed that Christians must interpret the Bible through their own experiences and use the Bible to validate their own experiences.
When one comes across a passage, one should not try to decide what it meant, but instead what it means. In other words, looking to the historical meaning is pointless as modern man does not live in the historical context of the Bible, thus it is better for man to read the Bible as a tool to discover what to do now.
One does not live the Christian life because it makes sense, but instead because one is passionate about it. Even if those passions are wrong, so long as one is passionate it does not matter. Many modern existential writers follow the idea that one cannot prove the existence of God through evidential appeals or logic.
What I mean is, people actually feel it…I think one of the problems Laura was having was that she wanted God to make sense. He concludes that Christians should live the Christian faith regardless of its historical accuracy. For these modern theistic existentialist the experience of Christianity is the best experience a human can have, but not the only experience.
And I think that the way of Jesus is the best possible way to live. The flaw, according to Miller, is in the question itself. It assumes that we can know something about the faith — in this instance, its exclusivity — when there are some things about the faith that the mind will simply never understand.
Finally, modern day existentialists draw from Kierkegaard in the way they view Scripture.This is an act of rebellion, courage and strength; it is rebellion because it is to go against – to rebel against – what is in fact true or what is the natural, actual meaningless/absurdity of existence; it requires courage because nothing is more frightening than admitting that life is absurd (what is harder than admitting that death is the ultimate end and that we all die?); and it requires strength because one .
Facticity is both a limitation and a condition of freedom.
It is a limitation in that a large part of one's facticity consists of things one couldn't have chosen (birthplace, etc.), but a condition of freedom in the sense that one's values most likely depend on it.
Existentialist Beliefs: Brave New World • Death is the one certainty in life. Death clarifies the absurdity of life. The existentialists look upon it as a great “nothingness,” and it’s when you wake up, realize it’s going to happen and ask yourself in terror.
Kierkegaard’s argument that life is a series of choices – and that these choices bring meaning (or not) to our life – is a cornerstone of existentialism. Rather than offloading the responsibility onto society or religion, each individual is solely responsible for making their life meaningful and living it authentically.
Existentialists believe that morality depends on the individual, rather than a supreme being. Next to moral individualism, the inevitability of choice is the most prominent existentialist theory.
Existentialism asserts that people do not have a fixed nature, as other animals and plants do. We have already seen that for the existentialists it is of equal importance what one says and the way in which something is said. This forms part of the attempt to return to a more authentic way of philosophising, firstly exemplified by the Greeks.