Existentialism Affiliation: This is a philosophical term that focuses on the human being and his thinking as a person with emotions and attitude and not just as subject of what others say or think about him. It focuses on the concept of existence coming before essence which means that it focuses on the individual and his independent and conscious thinking as well as acting responsibly and not merely as a product of preconceived notions, stereotypes and labels attached to him or assigned to him by others. What matters in the end is what one thinks about one self, values and acts based on his own consciousness about the meaning of their life.
An existentialist is bound by the concept of freedom where the decision one makes is not determined or influenced by supernatural beings or issues from previous knowledge or happenings such as secularism in society, scientific and technological movements or even wars among others. The concept of authenticity in existentialism philosophy emphasizes that an individual to create an idea and meaning of living and then live according to this self- creation but not according to what others have created or requires one to live. Authenticity basically emphasizes the notion of being one and not what the genes or society expect or command (Weston, 2011).
Existentialism from a Christian perspective can be examined on two fronts. One is where God made man in his own image and instilled human nature in him which therefore means that all human beings have an aspect of similarity and hence the issues of freedom and authenticity as described by existentialists is not fully possible in individuals. There is also the other which is widely favored by the Christian existentialists where God and even more so Jesus Christ advocates for an individual knowing oneself first and loving oneself before transferring the same to others. The first front is not used because existentialism advocates for people disregarding being swayed in decision making by supernatural beings or even historical aspects and happenings and focusing solely on oneself. In this regard therefore, in spite of all people being made the same by God, they should disregard this similarity and focus on themselves as single entities first.
Christian existentialists and even theologians advocate for people to read the bible and interpret or try to understand it from an individual’s point of view and not merely as historical happenings and truths that are not in any way related to the writer. If this is the case, then there can be no relationship whatsoever between Christianity and existentialism philosophy and that is not what is aimed at. The bible scriptures in both the Old and New Testament constantly emphasize the notion of an individual understanding them first and putting themselves first as well as loving themselves first before transferring the exact same to others.
This is not selfishness but it will lead to an understanding of not only oneself but others in the long run. If people can love themselves and do the same to others as they would like to be done to them, then the world can be a better place. Existentialists should take the Christianity teachings and biblical readings personally and consider God to be communicating to them personally (Geisler, 2010).
Geisler, N. (2010). Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues and Options. Michigan: Baker Academic.
Weston, A. (2011). A Practical Companion to Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press.