Existentialism: Even if there is a God there does not need to be a reason why we are here.



There is no intrinsic or ultimate meaning to life.  You have to make your own meaning or meanings.  You are condemned to be free.  Freedom should be sought without limit yes but it is huge burden of responsibility.


This is a challenge to the Christian claim that freedom is a gift and that God gives meaning to life.  These claims are an affront to true responsibility.


I would add that Christian doctrine may reject the popular spiritual notion that only the present moment counts and you should forget the past and future (Tolle) but paradoxically it says that God sends a baby who dies soon after birth and has the power to load meaning for the baby into her brief life. And indeed he says so.  Existentialism too would argue that if you manage one minute of incredible meaning that ending your life would now be fine.  You have the freedom to end your life.  It is responsible to do so for it might never come again and death dodges extreme depression and illness.  The doctrine of meaning, no matter what meaning is, cannot dodge the right to go out of existence.




Existentialism says that truth is largely unknown and is of total and complete importance even when you do not know for sure what is true.


According to Sartre, no theory about how we know anything is valid except the truth that the experimenter is a component of the experimental system.  You are part of every experiment you do so what you do teaches you something about you. Being a member of a family gives you real knowledge of what the family is about but coming into it from outside does not.  You are part of the experiment which is why it is so informative.


I would add that is meaning and truth are inseparably linked understanding that you are part of the experiment and everything is an experiment gives you a sense of meaning.

Existentialism summaries five themes.


The first is that your existence precedes your essence. Your choices create your essence and make you what you are. It is wrong then to think that you exist and that is why you are the way you are.  There is no such thing as your core, your unchanging core.  The person who thinks they are an immutable essence, that a human being is an unchangeable essence, is wrong.


The second is that we are at our core all about time. The past and the future are not as important as the present.


The third is that I must look after myself as an individual.

The fourth is we are bigger than our lives in the sense that we can stand outside them and reflect on them and evaluate how they are going. We have freedom and thus we also have the responsibility that comes with it.

The fifth is that we must live according to our freedom which means we must be ethical.


A sub-theory is that evil cannot be fixed. The evil one degrades his own freedom and his own self.


Another sub-theory is that instead of discovering what is right and wrong the existentialist must decide what is right and wrong.


Another sub-theory is that you must think that when you choose something you choose for all people. Sarte argued that if you decide what you will be, you have no ability to do that without automatically deciding what other people should be as well.


Another sub-theory is that if you see you have no ultimate value or ultimate hope then if you choose to accept this then you end up showing yourself superior to entities in nature that cannot make that deliberate choice. So you get meaning from choosing.  I would insist that ultimate value and ultimate hope are two separate things.  You can have ultimate value without having ultimate hope.  The first is the most important.  Ultimate value is not to be confused with absolute value.  You can still be the most important thing in the universe without having ultimate value.  Not having ultimate value is not to say you have no value at all.  On the contrary you are still as valuable as you need to be.


An implication of existentialism is that belief in God is just believe in an idol and extreme insane arrogance.


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