Terry Dashner………….Faith Fellowship Church PO Box 1586 Broken Arrow, OK 74013
Are you an existentialist? Yes, it’s possible to be one and not even know it. But more than likely if you are one, you know philosophy well. Here’s what you know.
Existentialism is a philosophical movement stressing individual existence and holding that human beings are totally free and responsible for their acts—according to Webster’s New World Dictionary (Wiley Publishing, Inc. 2003). But for those who are unfamiliar with movement, have I given you sufficient information? If not, listen up.
I picked up again an old text book that was assigned to me in graduate school many years ago. I blew dust off covers and read parts of it again. Why? I did so because, in my opinion, there is too much bad philosophy attaching itself to modern day Christianity. For example, my son came home recently from Oklahoma State University where he is a freshman, studying business. He is finishing year with final exams and shows me his philosophy papers. He is studying Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy. You may recall that Nietzsche told us in late 1800’s that God is dead and that we killed Him. This is bad philosophy. I ache that a school like OSU focuses a major part of a philosophy course on Nietzsche’s failed teachings. History proved him wrong—Communism, Nazism, and Jewish Holocaust—are all products of Nietzsche’s philosophy.
Because I ached, I went back to my old philosophy books to reread some of terrible philosophies. Believe it or not, some of these bad philosophies are still circulating today and being touted as good Christian doctrine. I want to advise you regarding some of subtle teachings of Existentialism and let you decide whether or not it is good doctrine for Church. Here goes.
The book I’m borrowing from is entitled, Existentialism and Christian Belief—A Frank Appraisal of a Modern-Day Philosophy, by Milton D. Hunnex (Moody Press 1969). I want to quote from his first chapter entitled, “A New Reformation or a New Religion?” In this chapter he critiques Bishop John A. T. Robinson’s book, Honest to God, a 1963 book that led a revolt against traditional Christianity. Robinson compares movement of Existentialism to powerful forces triggered by Martin Luther during Reformation. This is hogwash. And I think you will agree.
Robinson advocates that new movement will replace traditional Christianity in a matter of time. Hunnex responds, “What is developing before our eyes today could be finally more significant than revolt in sixteenth century. That revolt sought to restore New Testament Christianity on its own terms. The revolt today seeks instead to restate Christianity in nonsupernatural, secular terms. It is a revolt against God of authority and Bible, against God of traditional Christianity. ‘That God must die,’ Robinson writes, ‘If man is to live.’ He is ‘intellectually superfluous, emotionally dispensable, and morally intolerable.’ The new Christian looks to a post-Christian faith for future based on existentialism and universalism as basic philosophical moods. Christian belief has no part of it. Christian belief is an anachronism. It must be abandoned together with rest of past, Robinson contends.”