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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: Christianity Lost At Sea
By TJ Nickel


Christianity Lost At Sea
An analysis of Christianity’s mistake in understanding existentialism and the resulting confusion within the Body of Christ.

What is more existential than God saying his name is “I AM?” Existentialism has come under a horrific attack from within Christendom, resulting in a catastrophic collapse of the church’s capabilities of maintaining itself as a source of worth in today’s world of knowledge. Having denied existentialism as having union with the church (for faulty reasons), while realizing its need to play the games of epistemology to have any standing in the 20th Century world, the church has transformed its standings on ethics into a supposedly firm stance within rationalism. This mistake has created monstrous results both within the church itself as well as upon its doors. Naturalism, via the authority of science, has won the game of rationalism in the current world and the church has been left reeling in its confusion for decades. Not only is it continually losing ground in the race for knowledge, the church has simultaneously left the docks of ethics to such lengths that it is completely lost at sea.

Many might say that the church hasn’t been invested in its pursuits in rationalism for nearly as long as science has been in bed with worldly views. However, as I see it, this game of rationalism was always a losing affair. Why? Because faith requires ignorance, and ignorance is rooted in the absurd. This was a point of the greatest existentially Christian mind in recent centuries. He, like other Christian existentialists, have been passed over and ignorantly ridiculed and neglected by a power-seeking people reacting to the war for knowledge. In his lifetime, Søren Kierkegaard eventually refrained from calling himself a Christian and instead opted to let others know that he simply knew what a Christian was. After thrusting itself full steam into the arm wrestling competition for ownership of rationality, the church now finds itself full of people who claim to be Christian without the slightest idea of what one is. Just yesterday, I heard a preacher over the airwaves claim that biblical faith is a faith based on evidence, evidence that Jesus is Lord and that he rose from the dead. If so, our faith is dead and we should not seek to raise it again. Let us leave it in the earth and seek only knowledge; blind to our repeating of history first told in Genesis 3.

Existentialism has been refused adoption by the church for two major reasons. First, it is associated with a metaphysical reality that denies historicity and God. Second, it has been associated with nihilism, Nietzsche, Hitler, and the United States’ experimental 1960’s.

So, is Scripture existential? Does Christianity have ears to hear if it is, how it is, why it is? I don’t believe it does. It does have ears for rational argumentation, and so for now such approaches must suffice. If ears are closed, the first goal is a removal of the lid. The lid consists of the two aforementioned objections to adoption.

First, existentialism can be used to deny the existence of God or history if it is adopted in such ways. However, Christians should interpret Scripture in light of Scripture and utilize other theories of philosophy as aides instead of attempting to use these philosophical positions to interpret Scripture. With this major positioning of causality, no fear of a complete loss of history or a denial of God’s existence should be present.

Second, while Nietzsche jumped to nihilism and Hitler jumped to Fascism, they jumped from existentialism in order to do so. Each leapt away from existentialism’s base to their new positions and it is these new positions the church should oppose and not the framework from which they leapt; or heaven forbid Christians themselves must jump from God because he enabled Satan’s worldview. Similarly, the experimentation related to existentialism is not rooted in an existentialism grounded in Scripture.

God is The Beginning and The End. He is “I AM.” He expresses himself existentially. It’s time for the church to hear him, and blindly follow his voice through the clouds of confusion, back to the docks of ethics. There, we can be known again by our love.

- - - - - - - - - -
Quote of Inspiration:

“A generation of jubilant millions, served by huckster clergy, has replaced Christianity with a religion of easy terms. It has rendered Christianity worthless and taken Christianity in vain, all in the name of perfecting Christianity.”
~ Søren Kierkegaard

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This article has been read 1069 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Cartwright08/23/07
I "think" you said a Christian doesn't have to check his/her brains at the door of the church. But may not.

What I love best about Christianity is that it can be as simple or as complex as it needs to be according to the individual believer: for those lured by the siren song of intellectualism it can satisfy all the way down to a frog's eyelash, but will likewise kneel to eye level of childlike faith.
Jacquelyn Horne08/23/07
This is a little over my head. The terms are unfamiliar to me. However, if I could take the time to search it all out, it would be very helpful and informative. Good job.
Dee Yoder 08/23/07
Well, from what I understand, there are many views within existentialism itself. (Including whether it even exists!) I think we hear most about the atheistic view in modern times. I look at Kierkegaard as a man who was fighting more against the church, which was a political entity at that time, than about how we should think of God. His view of faith and doubt is probably what most modern Christians regard as troubling. Anyway, though he was a beginning voice for Theistic existentialism, I think most Christians think of the atheistic point of view first, and that's why Christians reject all existentialist thinkers as a whole. Just my 2 cents!
Dave Wagner08/27/07
This is apparently geared toward a very tiny, focussed group of readers. I guarantee the vast majority of us tuned out after paragraph one, relegating this piece to the valley of dry bones. I furrowed my brow and plowed through to the end, however. I would suggest that you narrow down the points you are trying to make to one or two, instead of cramming in as much as you can. Also, I would refrain from phrases like "I believe" and "in my opinion." You wrote the piece; it is understood that you believe this, and that it's your opinion. I'm not saying your wrong - honestly, I don't know that I understood enough of it to come to a conclusion one way or the other, and I am no stranger to theological/philosophical meanderings. I appreciate the effort, but I'd call this one a swing and a miss.
Kathryn Wickward08/27/07
My "take home" definition of existentialism (from college, oh many years ago), was that there was no meaning in life except that which humanity has created. Two of the greatest pieces of existentialist writing, IMHO, are Victor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning" and Ecclesiastes 1&2. Is that your working definition?
A scholarly work such as this need not be unclear. A little editing and grammar work is in order, and I wouldn't assume all your readers have your background, but I enjoyed your topic.
Beth LaBuff 08/28/07
Bravo, for daring to write a different kind of article! *sheepishly* -- I'll need to read it a couple times to take it all in. :)
Joanne Sher 08/29/07
Definitely over my head as well, but it is definitely well-written for its genre.