Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)
TITLE: Christianity Lost At Sea
By TJ Nickel
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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.
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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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