Imaging it without Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is hard.
Many would give him credit for getting the existential ball rolling.
Nietzsche was the son of a Lutheran who has was the latest in the long line of clergy in the family.
Nietzsche was headed to the same life and he embraced it with a deep piety in his youth
Nietzsche criticized religion as an insider and as someone who knew about Christianity.
Like many others who lose their faith, Nietzsche spent much of his life criticizing the church for the falsehood he felt he had been taught.
He didn’t stop at criticizing the church only…He was a perceptive social critic too.
He tore down everything he saw false and damaging to human flourishing.
Existentialism gets its fundamental optimism from Nietzsche.
He had the sense that after we tear down the veil of falsehoods we have created for ourselves, we can love the world for what is really is.
And create a meaning that’s sustaining and even joyous.
Certain themes resonates with Nietzsche writing such as:
His belief that the world comes to as meaningless and that the creation of values of yourself and the meaning of your life is your fundamental task.
It was Nietzsche who announced that God is dead.
And as we will explain in the upcoming posts why this statement is the start of all existentialism.
Even that of Kierkegaard and the Christian existentialists.
But of course this statement would never be applied to Islamic existentialism.
Because in Islam it will be a belief of an atheism to declare that God is dead.
And this is not acceptable in Islam as a religion.
But we will see how we can approach existentialism without this belief or declaration.