Existentialism Is a Humanism


Jean-Paul Sartre

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The Christian Existentialists Character Analysis

One group of existentialists Sartre discusses, which includes Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Since Christian existentialists believe (in Dostoyevsky’s words) that, “if God does not exist, everything is permissible,” they decide to believe in God even if they lack concrete evidence for their beliefs just so that there are moral parameters for human life. Sartre is critical of this attitude, since he does not understand how Christian existentialists could decide that the Christian God deserves true faith while other improvable belief systems do not; Sartre expresses this concern when he addresses the story of Abraham and Isaac as Kierkegaard retells it in his book Fear and Trembling.

The Christian Existentialists Quotes in Existentialism Is a Humanism

The Existentialism Is a Humanism quotes below are all either spoken by The Christian Existentialists or refer to The Christian Existentialists. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Existence, Essence and the Human Condition Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Yale University Press edition of Existentialism Is a Humanism published in 2007.
Existentialism Is a Humanism Quotes

Dostoyevsky once wrote: “If God does not exist, everything is permissible.” This is the starting point of existentialism. Indeed, everything is permissible if God does not exist, and man is consequently abandoned, for he cannot find anything to rely on—neither within nor without.

Related Characters: Jean-Paul Sartre (speaker), The Christian Existentialists, God
Page Number: 28-9
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Christian Existentialists Character Timeline in Existentialism Is a Humanism

The timeline below shows where the character The Christian Existentialists appears in Existentialism Is a Humanism. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Existentialism Is a Humanism
Existence, Essence and the Human Condition Theme Icon
Radical Freedom, Choice, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Existentialism and Its Critics Theme Icon
...he reminds the audience that existentialism is “strictly intended for specialists and philosophers.” Sartre distinguishes Christian existentialists from atheist existentialists like himself, but he declares that their commonality is the concept that... (full context)