Existentialism: Wednesday's Word Of The Week

Existentialism is a philosophy that thrived in the 1900's and still affects theology today. Basically it teaches that meaning in life comes from one's will.  "The individual is solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely."   In other words, the human being – through their own mind and will – creates their own values and determines their own meaning to their life.  Human life is defined only insofar as one acts.

It derives from Søren Kierkegaard, who is regarded as the father of existentialism.

The main issue at hand is this... "who defines and gives meaning to life?" Does one's actions define and give meaning to himself or does he have meaning due to value being attributed to himself from something outside himself and before himself (i.e. God's definition of the meaning to life, God's value of the individual).


To learn more words and definitions, check out The Lutheran Lexicon.