Existential Angst

Jeremiah 24:7 I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD. They will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with all their heart.”

There was a time when I was helping with a local outreach doing street ministry. A young man came by who was clearly not homeless but had been pumped full of scholarly philosophy and was looking for someone to use it on, so I obliged. I noticed he spoke in such a way that revealed he had subscribed to this philosophy of “nothingness”, hoping to show me the profoundness of his knowledge. I tried to reason with him by showing him how the Word of God has the answers that philosophy only questions and his excitement grew. I could tell he hungered for answers when he made it clear he wanted to continue our conversation at a later date.

Existentialism is a philosophical theory or approach which emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will. When people have an existential crisis, they experience inner conflicts characterized by the impression that life lacks meaning.

Talk to any proponent of universalism, relativism, or any other directionless movement and you will see a focus more on the experience rather than on truth. It is through the use of terms like existentialism where the world can be so confusing, it can be difficult to know how to respond to someone who speaks from a philosophical position rather than a practical one. These people live off of theories and concepts and then incorporate ideas like Karma or Murphy’s law into their spectrum of existence and come up with a solution that is only left to fate.

John 8:31-32 “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Those who subscribe to a philosophical hope for life often find themselves as lost as when they first began. In the view of the existentialist, the individual’s starting point has been called “the existential angst” which is a sense of disorientation, confusion, or anxiety in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world.

 Soren Kierkegaard, a 19th century danish philosopher was widely considered the first proponent of the thought that the individual not religion or society is responsible for bringing meaning to life.

Why does having an understanding of terms and authors carry any relative importance today?

*The philosophies of the 19th century are still taught and received in modern universities today.

If we are going to engage our culture effectively, we have to be able to understand the ideas these university professors have sold their souls to and corrupted the minds of our kids today–our responsibility is to respond in a way that illustrates God’s Truth effectively.

Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be encumbered once more by a yoke of slavery.”

Worldly Philosophy Enslaves

The humanistic hope for bringing meaning into existence is based off the idea that each individual will live passionately and sincerely, or “authentically”.

The issue with this line of thinking starts with determining how you measure certain success factors. What does a passionate life look like? What would you deem as sincere? How does authenticity look in a world that rewards the shrewd and aggressive?

The endless redefining of terms eventually takes you to the root of world philosophy. If you don’t support a politically correct version of morality, you are considered a hater, close-minded, or pushed out as a radical. The endless line of accusations will continue until the proponents of Biblical truth are extricated from what the world deems as a normal society.

Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”

The culmination of the individual journey to meaning in purpose is a practice in relativism. The relativist lays claim to a definition of truth based off their own reality. What happens when everyone subscribes to an ideology such as this? You have individual realities colliding on multiple levels.

If John Doe wants Jane’s car, his reality of taking what doesn’t belong to him collides with her reality of wanting to keep what is hers. The hopeless circle of not being able to perform what you deem as truth as well as the basic goal of simply pleasing the flesh makes for a hollow reason for existence.

The Absurdity of Individualism

1 Corinthians 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”

The argument for existentialism says that the most important consideration for individuals is that they are individuals—independently acting and responsible, conscious beings. On the surface, the idea of individualism seems reasonable but from a biblical perspective, (which is the pattern by which all of life was created), the concept conflicts not only with the collective body that is meant to function together but likewise the reliance we are meant to have in God. When responsibility is laid at the feet of one who has no moral foundation, the decisions are based off what is best for the individual.

Individually we may be responsible for our own decision to follow after Christ but once we make that decision, the responsibility extends to the church and the manifestation of the Spirit of God within the context of loving one another.

There is a moral obligation that is universal, not based upon the individual but by God who defines it by His moral law.

Ephesians 4:4 “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling”

For those who don’t subscribe to the theories of this world, they are despised and rejected. The mockery has no end when the faithful stand up for Truth unapologetically.

Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”

The good news is, if the world hates your message it is usually a good thing, especially when it comes from a biblical position of faith. The world hated Jesus. The world will hate you if you model Christ before it. There will be those who are tired of the world’s philosophies or have realized the hopelessness it represents and they will search for the light.

For those who hear God’s call is up to the church to lead them in Truth. Don’t be discouraged by the one who attacks with long philosophical words, just speak the Word of God and know your position is one of power and might.

The Word of God pierces through every worldly position and exposes the lies for what they are—meaningless.

One thought on “Existential Angst

  1. “ The Word of God….the only reliable source to the simple truth…based on the guidance of our Creator, giving us actual meaning and reasoning to live this life. Man looks within himself and goes around in perpetual circles, always ending up at the same place of ‘self’.
    Thanks for a good word….Rick. I appreciate you…..

    Liked by 1 person

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