Apologies for my last note. On re-reading it I wondered who wrote it, then I realised I must have been drinking when I wrote it ("tis the season"). Happy New year fellas! Ronald Kershaw.
First I would like to suggest that we make a distinction. We have
two "Ron's" here, Ronald K. and Ron C. (the Moderator). For the sake
of clarity I suggest we append the initial in future signatures.
I suspect this message was aimed at Ronald K, but I'm going to jump
in and reply to parts of it myself.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org
, Jonathan Glenn <jhgmail@y...>
> What I have been thinking a lot about, since 911 and its aftermath,
is the nature of religious truth claims, particularly claims of
authority, for which I have developed a thorough mistrust. And I have
been examining the grounds of my own faith, and finding them to be
chiefly existential in nature (as opp. to "rational", in the strict
sense). Which, of course, will lead one 'round to our Danish friend!
I have moved far from the apologetics-based "faith" (if indeed that's
what it was) of my younger days.
Existentialism is a very vague and hard to define term. Here is one
"The term existentialism was first used after World War II by the
French philosopher Gabriel Marcel, but it is generally agreed that
the Danish theologian and philosopher Soren Kierkegaard is the first
person for whose system of thought the word properly applies."
"Existential philosophy is more a trend or attitude than it is
coherent school or movement because it is intensely subjective. As a
result, existentialist thinkers tend to vary greatly in their
concerns and ultimate conclusions. In general, existentialism
emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of individual experience in a
hostile or indifferent universe while denying any special or unique
essence that humans might have. Human existence is considered
ultimately unexplainable, but existentialism also stresses freedom of
choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts."
"Jean-Paul Sartre's famous comment "existence precedes essence" helps
explain this aspect of existentialism. What he meant by this phrase
is that humans have no fixed, unchanging essence which makes them
human. Instead, your essence - what makes you you - is created by
your existence. Your existence, in turn, is determined by your
choices. Thus, the responsibility for who you are lies with you."
The word "existential" is defined as:
1. Of, relating to, or dealing with existence.
2. Based on experience; empirical.
3. Of or as conceived by existentialism or existentialists: an
existential moment of choice.
Walter Kaufmann defines Existentialism as:
"The refusal to belong to any school of thought, the repudiation of
the adequacy of any body of beliefs whatever, and especially of
systems, and a marked dissatisfaction with traditional philosophy as
superficial, academic, and remote from life--that is the heart of
Kaufmann also admits that, "Existentialism is not a school of thought
nor reducible to any sort of tenets."
I will admit that K (short for Kierkegaard) was dissatisfied with
traditional philosophy and certain worldly and churchly (specifically
Lutheren) systems. And is philosophy was based on dealing with
existence. But he wuld not be opposed to the sytem of Christianity as
a whole, would assent to Biblical principles. There is even some
evidence, I believe, that, had he lived in a Catholic country he
might have been a Catholic. Certainly his ideas on celibacy are
closer to Catholic thought. So I don't think that K would have
accepted the "repudiation of the adequacy of any body of beliefs
So I don't see how K would assent to the loss of "the apologetics-
based "faith"" or the acceptance of a non-rational faith. Perhaps you
can explain yourself better?
> Another thought, albeit off-topic (who cares?) I don't follow your
application of a zen outlook to the works of the Desert Fathers (with
which I am fairly familiar) or to the Kabbalah (with which I am
unfamiliar and can only drop the name!). Care to elaborate?
Ronald K, I'd like to hear about this "zen outlook to the works of
the Desert Fathers" as well!
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