Category Archives: Existentialism

The Existence of God (without Using a Bible)

If you were to ask me to argue for the existence of God without using a Bible, I would argue along these lines (see my other blog posts for an elaboration of these arguments).

I would argue from a position of conscience, this internal sense of right and wrong that we have written into us; this natural law of the heart that guides us in our moral decisions. And if there are moral laws there is a Moral Lawgiver.

I would argue from a position of design in nature. All that we see and experience in nature has structure built into it. It’s not a random cosmic carwreck that we see; it’s design and if there is design, there is an Intelligent Designer.

I would argue from a position of special revelation or Jesus Christ. Extra-biblical sources verify that Jesus existed during the time period and in the place that he supposedly existed found in the Bible. Furthermore, if he was the Son of God, then there is a First Cause – God the Father.

Finally, I would argue along the lines of the apologetic of human desire. Humans desire truth, beauty, honor, justice, courage, love, heroism. These longings go beyond just our senses. We can’t smell truth or touch love, yet we reach for them. We desire to be free, to discover our self-worth, to correct our immoral behavior, to piece the hurts of life into some larger picture of meaning (Mark Cosgrove). All of these desires are seen clearly in our mass production down through the ages of literature, art, music, worship, and movies, each of them featuring the innermost longings and deepest needs of human beings.

We reach out to worship something, even atheists do. How do you explain this longing for things beyond the natural, empirical realm, and our interest in blogging about them? Just like the presence of appetite presupposes the existence of food, the presence of worship and human longing presupposes that something or Someone exists who can satisfy these longings. And if there are these human desires, then we can conclude that there is a place or experience where they can be ultimately fulfilled – Heaven and a New Earth.

God exists and we don’t even need a Bible to know that this is true. But what the Bible does do for us is that it tells us His Name with specificity and invites us to know Him.

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Filed under Anthropic Principle, Anthropology, Apologetic of Desire, Atheism, Atheist, Beauty, Bible, Christian Worldview, Conscience, Desire, Existentialism, First Cause, Intelligent Design, Pleasure, Theism

Humanity Has Lost the Larger Story (and atheists haven’t helped any)

John Eldredge has done a masterful job in his book Wild at Heart (44, 45). He shares how for ten years of his life, he was as an actor and director for the theater.

“They were, for the most part, joyful years. I was young and energetic and pretty good at what I did. My wife was part of the theater company I managed, and we had many close friends there… In spite of the fact that my memories of theater are nearly all happy ones, I keep having this recurring nightmare. This is how it goes: I suddenly find myself in a theater – a large, Broadway-style playhouse, the kind every actor aspires to play. The house lights are low and the stage lights full, so from my position onstage I can barely make out the audience, but I sense it is a full house. But I am not loving the moment at all. I am paralyzed with fear. A play is under way, and I’ve got a crucial part. But I have no idea what play it is. I don’t know what part I’m supposed to be playing; I don’t know my lines; I don’t even know my cues.”

While Eldredge goes on to make a slightly different application with that story, I see in his story all of our stories. We’re born into this world. We’re thrown out onto the stage. And unless we know the larger story, the meta-narrative, we have no idea what part we are to play. We don’t know our lines, our cues.

This is one of the primary problems in our world. The world has lost the larger story. And atheists have decided to deny that there is even a Story-teller, implying that we should just make up our own script.

As atheistic existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre put it, “On a shattered and deserted stage, without script, director, prompter, or audience, the actor is free to improvise his own part.” We become our own gods and write our own story without any larger story to be concerned about or overarching purpose to live for. Our lives are caught up in what has been called “a tournament of narratives (Greenslade).”

So following cues offered by an anti-Story-teller world, we all (including Christians!) settle for lesser stories to star in, a tournament of lesser narratives – little stories to live for – an affair, a corner office, a better seat, a few more dollars, a little more control and power, a quick buzz, a little more fame, an atheistic blog or two, huddling together to try to convince each other that we’re doing the right thing.

God has given to us a larger story to live for. God made us. We rejected God and our story has been sabotaged by Satan. But God won’t give up until He wins us back and restores us to his original plan. The Gospel explains how God has authored a story to do this very thing, to romance us to His story.

And it’s a story that must be told. The lives of so many people are in desperate need to see and experience this story personally. People are lost to the story, like actors on a stage who don’t know their lines and there is no one to clarify the story; there is no story-teller in their lives.

In part, that’s what this blog is about; one small voice, orienting those who care to know, to the larger, grand story, large enough and big enough for all of us to live in for a lifetime. I’m arguing that God has given to us a larger story to live for. All of our smaller stories tie to a larger story – a metanarrative. We have fallen into a story, a sacred story. And if there is a story, there is a Story-Teller (G. K. Chesterton). And if God is the Story-Teller, He must love surprise endings because mankind was created with free will. Create some unexpected and surprise endings of your own! Get oriented to the larger story, the sacred romance.

Even though we all have shown up a little late to the movie and can’t make sense of the characters, plot, and setting, we can get up to speed right away. Get oriented to the Larger Story, and then you’ll know what character you are to play, what plot in life you are driving toward, and what settings are best locations to see your story unfold.

https://spiritualquestions.wordpress.com/2008/09/17/dramatic-scenes-of-the-larger-story/

True love… true love…

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Filed under Agnosticism, Atheism, Christian Worldview, Christianity, Existentialism, Free Will, God, Larger Story, Life Purpose, Sacred Romance, Theism

The Scream – Existential Art and Image Bearing

The Scream

The Scream

There’s a well-known work of existential art by Edvard Munch (moongk) called The Scream who wrote beneath the picture “I felt the great scream through nature.” The loss of meaning in many people’s lives takes the sensory form of a sexless, emasculated figure with a skull-like face. This figure’s twisted torso merges with the environment and loses its identity as a human being loved by God (Leland Ryken, Culture in Christian Perspective: A Door to Understanding and Enjoying the Arts (Critical Concern Book). If we remove God from life, we loose the meaning of our very existence for it’s in God that we are defined as His image bearers. Against the backdrop of existential despair, Christ came to show us image-bearers how to get life back. If we are merely machines, Munch has it right. But if we are God’s image-bearers, life is gladdened with purpose and meaning.

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Existentialism – Overcome the “Nothingness”

There’s a worldview out there that suggests that we are basically alone in this universe. And if this is true, this dramatically impacts how we answer these questions. The fancy philosophical name for the belief that life is pointless and filled with meaninglessness is “existentialism” and it asserts that our existence cannot be explained. This world isn’t going anywhere. There is no larger story that hangs together. The material universe is all there is. Life really isn’t all that worth-while; in fact, it’s absurd. If we are the result of a chance collision of atoms in an indifferent universe, what meaning is there to life then? Your body and your world is just a machine. What is there to be passionate about?

Existentialism fuels the culture of cynicism and rebellion and indifference – existential despair. We have to make the best of life now because when you die, it’s all over. You cease to exist. There is no God or afterlife. This makes the human experience a very lonely experience, especially when you see those Hubble telescope photographs that show earth suspended in the vastness of outer space and to think that there is no one holding it all together. We live to overcome the nothingness, to create our own reasons to be alive. So much pessimism and so little hope, gives way to a life of despair. We do drugs, pursue pleasure, acquire wealth in an attempt to numb the ache of a true life purpose without God. Some call this “existential angst.” There’s no real meaning to all this and we despair as we do our own thing. As atheistic existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre put it, “On a shattered and deserted stage, without script, director, prompter, or audience, the actor is free to improvise his own part.” We become our own gods and write our own story without any larger story to be concerned about or overarching purpose to live for.

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Filed under Existentialism, Larger Story