Existential Philosophy: Understanding Christian Faith

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This paper will argue that existential philosophy provides a useful model for understanding Christian faith. Specifically, I will show how two major concepts in existentialism – the ontological priority of existence and the love of fate – suggest helpful ways of thinking about faith. I’ll begin by outlining these two concepts as they are expressed by existentialist thinkers. Then I will choose one theology of faith as a starting point, and examine how it intersects with existentialism. The goal is to use existentialist philosophy to form a more complete and practicable view of faith. I will close by exploring some applications of this view to Christian life. Most fields in the academy have two major branches – theory and application. Physics…show more content…
They goes on to emphasize the second element: trust in the concepts of Christian doctrine. They point out that “belief in [faith] rests on belief that.” In addition to giving intellectual assent to an idea, we must be willing to trust in it. Faith, then, is “placing trust in what you have reason to believe is true.” I like the space to argue for this view over other possible views of faith. Instead, I am simply using it as a starting point for a discussion of existentialism and…show more content…
First, faith is placing existence before essence. If we are to live into our beliefs about God, we must seek to encounter Him on a more than intellectual level. A Christian who merely gives intellectual assent to certain doctrines about Christ has not yet attained to faith. Sartre says that existence precedes essence; regarding faith, real encounter precedes theological apprehension. Faith is believing for that encounter, and living in such a way as to expect it. Sartre says we should live in the moment, rather than in the abstract. Faith says we must live into our beliefs about God rather than merely holding them. Sartre’s philosophy shows us how “living out” a belief can work; we focus on extant instantiations of a thing rather than the idea of the
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