Thursday, October 29, 2015

Christian Existentialism

As we have learned, No Exit is not based off of Christianity like Dante's Inferno. Rather, it is based off of existentialism. This is interesting because it raises the question about what determines whether or not someone ends up in hell. I think that in God's eyes all of the three people in No Exit have committed sin (They mainly all commit lust, and I'm sure we could pinpoint a few others). So, maybe Sartre bases this aspect of his play of of the christian doctrine. I know Sartre is not a "Christian existentialist," but there apparently is a such thing. I think that some of the ideas of christian existentialism can apply to No Exit. Some of the beliefs are:

  • A person is autonomous and is fully free to make choices and fully responsible for them
  • Rational grounds for theology and divine revelation do not exist
  • True faith transcends rationalism and God’s commandments
  • The true God is not the God of philosophers or of rationalism
  • The destruction of wars throughout human history proves there cannot be rational understanding of God or humanity
  • A Christian must personally resolve within self the content of faith from being a myth or mystery to being realty or truth before they will allow an understanding and acceptance of salvation
  • It is impossible to discover personal Being and faith through rational reasoning.

I think the first bullet is definitely relevant. Inez, Garcin, and Estelle all make their own choices throughout life that eventually lead them to hell. They don't have to take responsibility for them until after death. (They still even deny some of their responsibilities through bad faith). Also, Christian existentialism places an emphasis on the need to rationalize everything in order to finally be able to believe in God. Even after these three characters are dead and in hell, they will not stop searching until they get all the answers-- what each of them has done, why they're all there, the future they must face, etc. So, even though this work is not meant to embody christian existentialism, I think it indirectly does a little bit. 

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