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36649Re: "Christian" existentialism

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  • jkneilson
    Nov 7, 2005
      I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post, despite my disagreements.

      Christian existentialism, as I see it, is quite relevant because it
      presents us with a challenge that is existentially poignant. This
      challenge, put simply, is: dare to believe. Dare to believe in the
      resurrection into eternal life... When Christ said that he was the
      resurrection and the life, he was not communicating anything like a
      doctrine or a dogma. He was, in fact, challenging his disciples, and
      others, to embrace this belief, existentially, at a level far more
      basic than the level of a reasoned ascertainment of matters of fact.

      The challenge of Christian existentialism is poignant to those who
      share an interpretation of early Jewish Mediterranean history, in
      which a purportedly historical figure named Jesus taught, performed
      miracles, and died for our sins. Subtract this interpretation and
      the poignancy of the challenge dies with it. What's more, the
      challenge is no more relevant than other challenges made by
      different religions. From Buddhism and Hinduism, to Judaism and
      Islam, to Mormonism and Scientology, religions present a very
      similar challenge: Believe X, where X stands for an article of faith
      that is deemed important to worshippers in that tradition. Believe
      that Buddha was transfigured under the bodhi tree. Believe in Mosaic
      law and God's covenant. Believe in Joseph Smith's golden plates.
      Believe that we possess a Thetan soul. Etc. The world is filled with
      all manner of religious beliefs, and I am under no obligation to
      believe all of them, or any of them. The existentialist motto is (or
      ought to be): Dare to think, dare to act, dare to be in a changing,
      uncertain world.

      To me this is a call to the participation in the transcendent ground
      of Being itself, at an existential level, at the nitty gritty level
      of daily experience.

      When you say, "To me this is a call..," I believe you. But it's a
      self-referential statement. Descartes makes a similar move in the
      Meditations, where he says, "I cannot think of myself without God."
      While that may be true of Descartes, it's false for a broad range of
      thinkers across the philosophical spectrum.

      This direct experience of the transcendental is an existential fact
      that, in my opinion, we cannot rationally deny.

      Direct experience of the transcendental is a paradox, not an
      existential fact, and so can be rationally denied.

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