So when I wrapped up Peter Rollins’s book Insurrection, I knew that I was looking at a popularization of existentialism for Christians, and I knew that Rollins has put together a pretty good treatment of the intellectual movement for non-specialists: coming away from this book, someone without the background in literature and philosophy that I happen to have will be able to say that there’s a strain in Christianity that emphasizes the felt absence of God as a valid part of the experience of confessing Christ; that the trappings of popular piety often serve as psychological defense mechanisms that keep people from having to confront unpleasant things in life; and that the crucifixion names not only a historical moment but also a way of relating to the world. The first is that Rollins seems to assume, in this book at least, that everyone should be capable of the same intellectual optimism that the philosopher can muster, that structures that help believers to believe are inherently bad. Is your language not listed? I just think he could draw attention to this without making the “experiential atheism” of Jesus on the cross central to everything we think (or don’t think) about God. But, all the above is just my initial reaction to some of what I’ve read of Rollins on his website and elsewhere. This is a rather ironic situation because existentialism is most often associated with atheism and nihilism, two positions which are common excoriated by evangelicals. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts, where's my CARM? Existentialism: A Comparison of Sartre and Marcel Thomas C. Anderson Department of Philosophy, Marquette University Milwaukee, WI In Existentialism and Humanism Jean-Paul Sartre states that there are “two kinds of existentialists,” the atheistic, in which he includes himself, and the Christian, among whom he includes his fellow The end result reminds me of Saint John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul (I refer to the longer version, the one I’ve spent the most time with) in its focus on the long periods of dryness in which the presence of God gives way to a sense of absence. Insurrection: To Believe Is Human, To Doubt Divine. Required fields are marked *. Value of human life? The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #67: A Christmas Carol, Christian Humanist Podcast Episode 67.01: Singing Faith, A Primer on Christian Alternative Rock: The Violet Burning, The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode 301: The Man Who Was Thursday, Christian Feminist Podcast Episode #128: Invisible Women – The Christian Humanist, The Christian Feminist Podcast, Episode #90: Vaccines and Essential Oils, Part 1, Christian Humanist Profiles 195: Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Michial Farmer, David Grubbs, and Nathan Gilmour, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. kierkegaard was the father of existentialism and was a lutheran christian... you'll find that existentialists agree on very little, which isn't a surprise because existentialism is a catch-all term for a bunch of different thinkers from different periods with different ideas. Traditional Christianity insists that God is the absolute final authority over His creation and all things. I tend more towards Plato’s conviction that rhetoric and politics (I’m thinking of the Phaedrus and the Republic here) are precisely those human arts by which the strong help the weak to live good lives, and that rings Pauline to me. There is some merit to this accusation. We continue to see a focus on key themes like the the emphasis of an engagement with the Bible rather than philosophers, the importance of a personal crisis with leads one to a deeper faith and personal understanding of God, and valuation of irrational faith over and above any attempt to understand God through reason or intellect. But: I'm not sure if this is ever stated outright, and I'm certainly pretty ignorant as to where Jewish and Islamic theology goes with essence. Paul Tillich was one Christian theologian who made extensive use of existentialist ideas, but in his case he relied more upon Martin Heidegger than Søren Kierkegaard. Existentialism, then, leaves room for God, but it can also be used to deny His existence. Your email address will not be published. Looking at the bigger picture Existentialism doesn’t strengthen a human in the way they need to be strengthened. Those who have developed the Christian themes of Kierkegaard’s existentialism explicitly focus upon the idea that the leap of faith we make must be one which causes us to surrender ourselves totally to God rather than to insist on a continued reliance upon our own reason. Traditional Christianity believes in God’s transcendent universal moral values.
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