• Dermot Griffin
    133
    "Christendom has done away with Christianity, without being quite aware of it. The consequence is that, if anything is to be done, one must try again to introduce Christianity into Christendom." - Soren Kierkegaard, Attack Upon Christendom

    "Civilization has made man, if not always more bloodthirsty, at least more viciously, more horribly bloodthirsty." - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    "God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?" - Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

    "There is absolute truth in anarchism and it is to be seen in its attitude to the sovereignty of the state and to every form of state absolutism. … The religious truth of anarchism consists in this, that power over man is bound up with sin and evil, that a state of perfection is a state where there is no power of man over man, that is to say, anarchy. The Kingdom of God is freedom and the absence of such power... the Kingdom of God is anarchy." Nikolai Berdyaev, Slavery and Freedom

    With the exception of Berdyaev's quote which we can unpack later (I don't think he was an anarchist per say), Christian existentialism seems to heavily criticize the rise of modernity and its budding secularism. I think the point of it is to attempt to reintroduce a Christian ethos in a society that's constantly changing. Rather than focus on the collective whole the primacy is individuality. I went to grad school at a very conservative Catholic school and existentialism in even its Christian form was laughed at; the focus of study Thomistic philosophy and am currently finishing my thesis on Existential Thomism. This too, has been attacked by a professor or two of mine. I think we should constantly criticize the modern world without canonizing Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, and other thinkers giving them the last say just as we shouldn't suggest Aquinas gets the last say. I think the emphasis on freedom and responsibility, something we find in all these thinkers, is crucial in understanding the way our world is going.
  • javi2541997
    5.1k
    The Kingdom of God is freedom and the absence of such power... the Kingdom of God is anarchy."Dermot Griffin

    :sparkle: :fire:

    Without God Everything is Permitted — Dostoyevsky

    :up: :sparkle:

    Christian existentialism seems to heavily criticize the rise of modernity and its budding secularism.Dermot Griffin

    As most of the religions do. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a novelist who himself was a Christian but who has characters that often display what later will seem to be Existentialist attitudes and ideas. One of those characters (in The Brothers Karamazov,) says "Without God, all is permitted". Indeed, if the loss of God means the loss of all meaning and value, then actions are without meaning or value either, and one cannot say that it matters whether actions are "right" or "wrong," since those words, or the corresponding actions, don't mean anything more than anything else.

    I think the emphasis on freedom and responsibility, something we find in all these thinkers, is crucial in understanding the way our world is going.Dermot Griffin

    To be honest, I don't see freedom neither responsibility in those thinkers. It would be even contradictory to their works. Existentialism is a philosophical which is based on absurdity.
    Søren Kierkegaard is an Existentialist because he accepts, as fully as Sartre or Camus, the absurdity of the world. But he does not begin with the postulate of the non-existence of God, but with the principle that nothing in the world, nothing available to sense or reason, provides any knowledge or reason to believe in God.
    Nietzsche expressed precisely this same thing in one of the most famous sayings in the history of philosophy, "God is dead". Since Nietzsche did not believe that there ever was a God, this expresses his view that the effective belief in God was dead, but he has a bit of fun with the metaphor of dying, decay, smell, etc. Unlike Sartre, he is a bit clearer that this is a catastrophe, since it leaves nothing; it leaves, indeed, Nihilism which is the condition of not believing anything and having nothing to live for.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    Without God Everything is Permitted — Dostoyevsky

    I think this is Sartre. Dostoyevsky alludes to similar sentiment in The Brothers Karamazov but does not put it so directly.

    "'But what will become of men then?' I asked him, 'without God and immortal life? All things are permitted then, they can do what they like?'"

    I think this quote is inaccurate. It should be recast the way Slavoj Zizek has it:

    "If there is a God, then anything is permitted."

    In other words, the opposite is true. There is no crime or misdeed going that theism hasn't sanctioned or advocated in the name of doing a god's will.
  • javi2541997
    5.1k
    I think this is SartreTom Storm

    Yes, you are right is from Sartre's "Being and Nothingness"

    "'But what will become of men then?' I asked him, 'without God and immortal life? All things are permitted then, they can do what they like?'"Tom Storm

    Made famous by Dostoevsky, the question of whether we can be moral without God has always haunted secularism and has consistently been the most vocal criticism of unbelief. "If there is no God, then everything is permitted?" Moral Life in a Secular World


    There is no crime or misdeed going that theism hasn't sanctioned or advocated in the name of doing a god's will.Tom Storm

    :up: :100:
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    Made famous by Dostoevsky, the question of whether we can be moral without God has always haunted secularism and has consistently been the most vocal criticism of unbelief. "If there is no God, then everything is permitted?" Moral Life in a Secular Worldjavi2541997

    Yes, but I think the problem for this particular narrow band of thinking is that it overlooks the fact that a god belief provides no objective basis to morality. All we have is theists starkly different and often appalling interpretations of what they think a god wants us to do. Which is why Christian morality (as a for instance) ranges from the KKK to Desmond Tutu.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k

    I'm not entirely sure what point you are making in your OP - that could be my fault. I have no particular gripe against the present era. I don't think it is worse than other times and how would this even be measured? The behavior of religions across time is one of crass materialism and souless consumerism. Just look at the lengths Luther thought he needed to go to against consumer Catholicism and its mass marketing of indulgences, etc. And now look at the crass materialism of evangelical Christianity which grew out of Luther. The prosperity gospel!?

    I think we should constantly criticize the modern world without canonizing Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, and other thinkers giving them the last say just as we shouldn't suggest Aquinas gets the last say. I think the emphasis on freedom and responsibility, something we find in all these thinkers, is crucial in understanding the way our world is going.Dermot Griffin

    I'm not trying to be hostile, but I'm not sure anyone is much concerned about Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche outside of a small segment of academe, or amongst a few dilettantes. How do you see freedom and responsibility as being crucial in 'how the world is going'. And how is it going?
  • introbert
    333
    Hypothetically the further one moves towards individual in religious belief the closer it gets to madness. In the case of the Pope or King/Queen of England, Grand Mufti, Ayatollah or what-have-you there is an individual element to their declarations but they are far from existentialist, it is a social circumstance of profound alienation where a person truly begins existential contemplations. Although the degree that a person experiences them is limited to their powers of reflection and will usually be self destructive than affirming and lead often to seek out religious teachings over the nothingness of the self.
  • Paine
    2.1k
    Søren Kierkegaard is an Existentialist because he accepts, as fully as Sartre or Camus, the absurdity of the world. But he does not begin with the postulate of the non-existence of God, but with the principle that nothing in the world, nothing available to sense or reason, provides any knowledge or reason to believe in God.javi2541997

    I think this misrepresents Kierkegaard attempts to understand the human condition in the terms of sin and redemption. In The Concept of Anxiety, he argues for a psychology that fits our experiences in life.

    In Philosophical Fragments, he says that the condition for knowing truth is either given to us or we have it by nature. By arguing that the former is the view of Christianity, he is not saying that is in conflict with nature as expressed in the Augustinian vision of a war between cities. Kierkegaard is a follower of Pascal who notes the scandal of reason in the Christian view but also claims it is the best explanation for our condition.

    From that point of view, I don't read Kierkegaard as an anti-modernist. He belongs more in the 'same as it ever was' camp.
  • javi2541997
    5.1k
    From that point of view, I don't read Kierkegaard as an anti-modernist. He belongs more in the 'same as it ever was' camp.Paine

    I don't think Kierkegaard is an anti-modernist either. I was just answering to the OP with some arguments about why Kierkegaard is more a simple existentialist rather than a "Christian existentialist"
    Most of the works of Kierkegaard show an important criticism of the Church. From a quick search in internet: In Kierkegaard's view the Church should not try to prove Christianity or even defend it. It should help the single individual to make a leap of faith, the faith that God is love and has a task for that very same single individual. He wrote the following about fear and trembling and love as early as 1839, "Fear and trembling is not the primus motor in the Christian life, for it is love; but it is what the oscillating balance wheel is to the clock-it is the oscillating balance wheel of the Christian life.
  • javi2541997
    5.1k


    More quotes related on Kierkegaard works:

    Christianity will not be content to be an evolution within the total category of human nature; an engagement such as that is too little to offer to a god. Neither does it even want to be the paradox for the believer, and then surreptitiously, little by little, provide him with understanding, because the martyrdom of faith (to crucify one's understanding) is not a martyrdom of the moment, but the martyrdom of continuance." — Kierkegaard. Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments

    The deification of the established order is the secularization of everything. With regard to secular matters, the established order may be entirely right: one should join the established order, be satisfied with that relativity, etc. But ultimately the relationship with God is also secularized; we want it to coincide with a certain relativity, do not want it to be something essentially different from our positions in life – rather than that it shall be the absolute for every individual human being and this, the individual person’s God-relationship, shall be precisely what keeps every established order in suspense, and that God, at any moment he chooses, if he merely presses upon an individual in his relationship with God, promptly has a witness, an informer, a spy, or whatever you want to call it, one who in unconditional obedience and with unconditional obedience, by being persecuted, by suffering, by dying, keeps the established order in suspense. — Kierkegaard. Practice in Christianity
  • Paine
    2.1k

    Those passages are good to compare with Dostoievski's concern for the monsters he depicts who become destructive through their isolation and denouncement of their given circumstances.

    Kierkegaard challenges the self-sufficiency of the normative whereas Dostoievski looks at the evil of completely abandoning it.
  • Ciceronianus
    3k
    Christianity, for the most part, denigrates the world of which we're a part (and sometimes even deplores it). What's truly important isn't this life, but the next. This world isn't real; Cardinal Newman wrote that he always thought this world wasn't real, as I recall.

    It's unsurprising that those brought up and invested in this doctrine were at their wits end when they began to understand it was baseless. I think frantic efforts were made to resurrect Christianity, or to replace it in some sense, as a result.
  • Moses
    243


    What's truly important isn't this life, but the next.

    True. In addition, it is this life that determines our ultimate fate in the next. Jesus raises the stakes.

    Dumb Christians read Jesus like a peace-and-love hippie. He was (is?) terrifying.
  • javi2541997
    5.1k
    Dumb Christians read Jesus like a peace-and-love hippie. He was (is?) terrifyingMoses

    :yikes:

    Well it is always free upon the people to interpret the image or Jesus Christ. This prophet was always been a figure with a lot of controversial debates (some even doubt about his own existence).
    What we should interpret or understand the figure of Jesus is subject of another thread indeed!
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