New Header

I have created a snazzy new header for the blog! It’s probably been at least 3 years since I changed it.  So, especially for those who read through a feed (Google Reader et al.), be sure to check it out.


    • Really, I just thought it was pretty.

      Yet, that is not entirely without significance. As a part of recovering from existentialism, a person must embrace the form of beauty as a proper, not alien or illusory, part of existence. Or, to go further, beauty and existence are interchangeable terms (along with goodness), as Plato, Augustine, and Thomas taught us. In his own way, Barth also follows in this stream by vigorously affirming that evil is the privation of being (hence, “nothingness”). My sense is that far too many Protestants are basically existentialists who believe existence is fundamentally absurd and should be escaped — for evangelicals in America, their escape drug is dispensationalist eschatology; for mainline Protestants, it is liberation theology, apocalyptic exegesis, “radical” this-and-that, and so forth. Thus, I find it curious — but I shouldn’t be surprised — when I observe intelligent young evangelicals moving from the former camp and into the latter, trading one existentialism for another.

      Clearly I have things I need to get off my chest!

      • Yes, I can “cheer” for existentialism as well…in its pure atheist form. I still have great admiration for Sartre and Camus — I read large portions of their works while an undergraduate philosophy minor. Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus” is the perfect encapsulation of existentialist philosophy, and I wish that every Christian would read it. You can never go back to a shallow faith once you’ve read Camus.

        So, naturally, I am quite fond of Kierkegaard as well — and Pascal before him. But, there are serious dangers when a Christian does existentialism. It can offer a necessary jolt — a “crisis” — but it cannot remain there. The danger is to remain and cultivate the tools of criticism, with its seduction of greater intelligence. The remarkable thing about Barth is his ability to stand in the moment of crisis and build something beautiful.

    • As a part of my philosophy minor at UNC-Charlotte, I took a whole class on existentialism — probably the most popular philosophy class on campus. We didn’t read any secondary literature, just the primary sources. It significantly shaped my thinking and still does, even though I see it more as a poison in the bloodstream, searching for the antitoxin.

      As I mentioned, Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus” is the perfect introduction. ‘The Stranger’ is his most popular work, but I enjoyed ‘The Plague’ more — both are essential. Sartre did some excellent plays as well, that are far more digestible than his prose. I am especially fond of ‘The Flies’, which is a twist on a Greek tragedy. An amazing thing about existentialism is that it produced literature (stories, narrative) alongside its philosophy, as a way to render its worldview intelligible to all. This made it a more comprehensive assault on Christian faith than Nietzsche could ever do. Camus did more than anyone to make nihilism as attractive as possible and as livable as possible; and the turn against existentialism (from the 70’s onwards), in favor of something more “positive” or constructive, actually reveals the deep anxieties in secular philosophy to do what faith — or, to be more concrete, the Resurrection — alone can do.

      • I’ll check out Camus but I am still interested in hearing more. In one comment you cut it down and now you seem more in favor of a certain kind of existentialism. Just interested in how it all works for you. Blog about it.
        Also write about how Peter Rollins get this all wrong. 😊

      • Well, “poison in the bloodstream” is still cutting it down! 🙂 But, you are right, I have a love/hate relationship with these thinkers. They gave me a lot of conceptual clarity, for which I am grateful. I will definitely ponder doing a post in the future.

  1. Yeah the love hate thing. But it seems like your (maybe) saying they bring us to a certain point and then we have to leave them or build like Barth did, but I’m not I get where that line or point is and why. I buy what your say about evangelicals/liberals and existentialism but I am missing where we go from here. Except to Barth:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s