Of course, not all the existenz philosophen are atheists. Some, like Søren Kierkegaard, are well at home in the churchyard. Others, like Friedrich Nietzsche, could affirm Jesus’s declaration of the kingdom of God while still calling his book The Anti-Christ:
What is the meaning of “glad tidings”?—True life, eternal life has been found—it is not promised, it is actually here, it is in you; it is life in love, in love free from all selection or exclusion, free from all distance. Everybody is the child of God—Jesus does not by any means claim anything for himself alone,—as the child of God everybody is equal to everybody else.
(Section 29, quoted in The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 290-91, by Stephen Mitchell, who says in the young adult abridgment of his book, Jesus, What He Really Said and Did, that Jesus was one of the most beautiful people who ever lived, and that he himself is an atheist.)
“Nietzsche wasn’t an anti-Christ,” Jim Faulconer told me once. “I don’t believe in the same God Nietzsche didn’t believe in,” meaning he saw Nietzsche’s rejection of God as a rejection of a concept, a definition, not a Being. He added that there was no evidence Nietzsche knew Kierkegaard, but if he had perhaps he could have found a definition of God he could work with. Continue Reading →