Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Absurdism: The Belief that Belief is a Silly Cop Out

There is a drive within humanity to find purpose. We all seek an answer to the question “What is the meaning of life?” The answers people make up to fulfill this need can be very interesting. The Nonmodern answer to this question would be that man cannot hope to find the meaning of life on his own. The answer must be given by the One who made life. Incidentally, that answer is never really given in full. For some of us, that can be frustrating. Oh… we also suspect that if we ever did hear the answer in full it would go right over our heads.

For at least one human attempt to deal with this need for purpose, the Nonmodern approach is intellectual suicide. Absurdism states that there is apparently no real “meaning to life and the universe and everything,” to borrow a phrase from a well-known absurdist. They say if there is a meaning, it is impossible for humans to understand so it is pointless to seek it.

The Absurdist says that all humans on the quest for meaning eventually realize they can’t find it. They then have a choice. They may despair and commit suicide. They could also throw their hands up and accept an answer by faith that cannot be demonstrated. (That is the intellectual suicide.) The third option is that the meaningless should be embraced. People should enjoy life where they find meaning always realizing that there is no real meaning.

What does the Absurdist say about God? They don’t believe in God, but they also don’t deny His existence. To deny Him would be to assert a fact and the Absurdist avoids that whenever possible.

If you are wondering if any of this really matters, you need to know that this philosophy is pervasive in western culture. Some of the most popular authors and creators of Pop-Culture are committed Absurdists. Even people who don’t know what it is have bought in to its beliefs. The good news is that Absurdism is open to spiritual conversation and thought.

Maybe some of these people can be convinced that the true silliness is to put so much faith in human intellect if it is a part of an absurd universe.

1 comment:

  1. Good points. I'm rereading Lewis' The Problem of Pain, and it is revealing how shallow and mentally lazy our US culture has become. I was thinking yesterday,"How did he even think to think of these things!" 'Course, he wasn't watching TV adn Twittering all day. Hmmm, that brings up a point..I bet he and Tolkein would have had some interesting texts going back and forth!


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