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Do Atheists and Existentialists Go Together?

I just don't know.

What do you guys think?

I looked up Existentialism. I've read about it before, but sometimes I have trouble grasping it. Still, here is what I'm working from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existentialism

"There are several philosophical positions all related to existential philosophy but the main identifiable common proposition, is that existence precedes essence. By this, existentialism states that man exists and in that existence man defines himself and the world in his own subjectivity..."

If this is accurate, then while I wouldn't say atheism and existentialism "go together," I would say they don't seem to be mutually exclusive.

Do they go together? Yes, but only because of the use of thought.

People who indulge in existentialist thought almost have to be atheists. However just because someone is an atheist doesn't make them an existintialist.

So I guess what I am saying is: Atheism goes with Existentialism, but Existentialism doesn't always go with Atheism.

OK. Let's follow logic:

1. If a person is an Existentialist, then he is an Ahteist. 2. It does not, however, mean that an Atheist is an Existentialist.

Simplifying terms: 1. E -> A 2. A -> -E

I got it now. Thanks.

I'm asking this as much as asserting it--but based on what little I've read, it _seems_ a person could be an existentialist who believes in a god that does not promote pre-existent meaning. In other words, if I believed in a god who created the universe, but had no expectations from anything in it--then I could still argue that life has only the meaning I impose upon it, even if I do believe in god.

Is that fair to assert? Or is there more to Existentialist thought that would negate even that? Seriously, I don't know...?

Yes, and that is much the same veiw that Kierkegaard and Tolstoy took.

"In spite of the fact that I was convinced of the impossibility of God,...I nonetheless searched for God in the hope that I might find him, and according to the old habit of prayer I addressed the one for whom I searched and could not find." Tolstoy - Confession)

"To stand on one leg and prove God's existence is a very different thing from going on one's knees and thanking him." (Kierkegaard - Journals)

"Luther had 95 theses. I have only one - That Christianity has not been made a reality." (Kierkegaard - Attack)

And lastly, "The Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd. And he was buried and rose again; the fact is certain because it is impossible." (Tertullian)

Kierkegaard is probably my favorite philosopher. Even though he was a Christian (I think it would be fair to say that), he understood the despair of man and the cold and meaninglessness world in which he exists. He saw this meaninglessness and saw that faith was the only way to see God as he really is... I don't agree with a lot of what he says, but I think he was brilliant. I have been watching Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors" and the part where the Rabbi says he would make up God even if it wasn't the truth was very interesting. I do not say that Christians are stupid because if there is no inherent meaning in the universe and out fate is annihilation, than what gain is there is truth? I hear people like Dawkins say that the truth is all that matters, but in reality what does the truth matter? If the truth was that God was a cold and heartless sadist who hated the world and would torture us forever, than why would I fight for this knowledge and I would certainly delude myself into thinking otherwise to save myself from the unpleasant thought of God. So maybe deciding there is a God to make meaning and purpose is a noble thing, for if I knew that there was a God and he wanted to torture me, than I would certainly delude myself into thinking this being did not exist? Most would think me noble and sensible.

Just some thoughts of mine, I find existentialism very fascinating and I think it is not wise to call Religion weak, stupid and foolish. I do not promote arrogance, but helpful discussion with Christians and others to determine truths about the human condition because maybe my psyche makes up things all of the time to delude myself from the truth, does this make me stupid or is it a means for survival and hope? Do not try to make yourself feel better by saying Christians "do not know the truth", because the truth could be a unthinkable, and maybe the truth would make you want to shut it out and forget that you ever realized it...

Existentialists are not so distinctive that you could put them all in one box. The fact that someone does/doesn't believe in god does not makes him/her an existentialist. One could be an atheist/theist and be existentialist if they hold the notion of being in control of their own lives. As long as ones philosophies allow for personal responsibility in matters of both control and blame, than one can be an atheist/theist existentialist.

Existentialism was a philosophical movement of the 19th and 20th centuries. A precise definition of existentialism is not possible because of the diversity of positions associated with existentialism. Although there is one major theme: individual existence, individual freedom, and choice. Most philosophers since ancient Greek thinker Plato have held that the highest ethical good is universal. Nineteenth-century Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard reacted against this tradition, insisting that the individual's highest good is to find his or her own unique vocation. In terms of moral choice, existentialists have argued that there is no objective, rational basis for decisions; they stress the importance of individualism in deciding questions of morality and truth. Most existentialists have held that rational clarity is desirable wherever possible but that life's most important questions are not accessible to reason or science.

The most basic tenet common to the many uses of the term is that man is entirely free and wholly responsible for himself. In this light, man's imperfection is suddenly obvious, to which follows a sense of anguish and helplessness. To the existentialist, this is roughly the point of awareness. Existential awareness can logically lead in several opposing directions. For some, anguish leads to loneliness and despair, possibly resulting in nihilism. For others, meaningless prevails, and life is simply inconsequential. For others, the perceived "imperfection" of man is merely a changeable facet of his/her character, for with total freedom and total responsibility comes limitless potential (the existentialist here touches the concept of humanism). The human condition, then, is not absolute or entirely understood; improvement (but not "enlightenment") can come through the emphasis of different or new human attributes. The individual is free to be whom she/he chooses.

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