Saturday, January 24, 2009
What Happens When You Take God Out of The Equation but Still Attempt to Answer the Tough Questions?
In my opinion, and from what I have read of him, Jean Paul Sartre was as perverted a thinker as Nietzsche ever was--and far more damaging in that he was more subtle and appeared less insane. Sartre was a french philosopher/atheist existentialist (1905-1980) who to his credit attempted to answer life's biggest questions such as origin/meaning/condition/destiny, but was only able to deduce that life was "absurd."
Sartre's philosophy, which can be found his in his more popular books Nausea and Being and Nothingness, was really nothing more than nihilism which led to a belief that life and the universe were "absurd." A pessimistic hedonist, Sartre "philosophized" that there was no order to the universe, no meaning to experience, nothing to life or man, just one big smoldering heap of nothingness and absurdity. I find it hard to believe that such a line of thought can pass as philosophy and get pawned off on university students today.
Although Sartre believed that rationally the universe was "absurd," humans were still under an obligation to "authenticate" oneself. (I'm confused as to why a person is under obligation when life is nothingness...) And, you can "authenticate" yourself by an act of the will. That idea while a little nebulous in its own right is not completely bizarre and devoid of sense until you delve a bit further into what passes as "authenticating" oneself. Essentially, since the universe and EVERYTHING in it is absurd, and has no content or meaning, all attempts to authenticate oneself are completely equal. Therefore, followed to its logical conclusion, there was no right or wrong, good or bad, only "authenticating oneself by an act of the will." So, it wouldn't matter whether you spend every day of your life collecting roadside litter, dedicate yourself to removing landmines from the Earth, helping the elderly, or molesting children, beating the elderly, or engaging in general mayhem and serial murder: all acts are acts of the will and a successful completion of self-authentication.
Isn't it hard to wrap your mind around such thought? How can people of such towering genius come to believe such Godless, insane stuff?
The funniest thing about Sartre was that he was not able to even come close to putting his own philosophy into practice. Sartre dabbled in politics later in his life (which, if all is equal there can be no good or bad politics), and later signed the Algerian Manifesto making himself a moral declaration.
Jean Paul Sartre is further proof that the only philosophy or worldview that can answer life's four toughest questions--origin/meaning/condition/destiny--is Christianity. As Zacharias says, Christianity is the only worldview that can answer all four with coherency and stand up in its own right in doing so. Other philosophies and religion will be able to answer one or two, but will fall apart when attempting to answer all four. People like Sartre take the really really really hard way out when the answers and truth (which is what they are all after) is right there for them, and end up living a life of absurdity themself.