A World Without God Essay

Submitted By Rose-Hanson
Words: 1523
Pages: 7

2. Jean-Paul Sartre argues that there is still meaning in a world without God—it is just different. Work through Sartre’s argument on human nature and existentialism in a world without God and argue for or against it. Make sure and address in counter-arguments.

A World Without God Many theists believe that a world without God is a world without meaning, and gives humans the excuse to ignore any moral values. Jean-Paul Sartre argues there is still meaning in a world without God, and that it is merely different. He theorizes that there are no superimposed values on us from outside forces. We must create values of our own, and decide alone how we should act be able to recognize that there are consequences to those actions to ourselves and those around us. He tells us that we must despair in light of this responsibility and knowledge that we cannot know the outcome of our actions with any certainty. Yet, Sartre also tells us that we cannot justify our behavior based on personal values alone. In this essay I will show my support for Sartre’s argument, but maintain that people are better off having a religion to follow than to live their lives with the burden of being solely responsible for everyone in addition to themselves. We learn “there is no human nature, since there is no God to conceive it.” (Sartre, 622) Man1 is only what he conceives himself to be, and “nothing else but what he makes of himself.” (Sartre, 622). Sartre believes this to be the first principle of existentialism. Rather than man being what he has been planned to be, or even what wants to be, he follows his “will” in a conscious decision. Man must be responsible for himself, in that he must responsible for his own individuality and that of all men. By choosing an act for yourself, you choose at the same time how you want everyone else to act, creating “an image of man as we think he ought to be” (Sartre, 623). And by choosing any one thing, we may affirm that what we have chosen must have value, and cannot be evil. If whatever we choose is good for us, then it must follow that it is good for all. Being responsible for yourself and everyone else, by choosing any one thing, you choose to create a particular image of man, based on your own values. Existentialists as a whole say that “man is anguish” (Sartre, 623). What is meant here is that man has no escape from feeling the weight of responsibility that comes with choosing laws for mankind. One must always ask themselves if something is morally right by asking themselves, “What if everyone acted this way?”. To excuse yourself for stealing based on the fact that not everyone does it, is to invite others to follow similar laws, eventually escalating to something akin to allowing a person to murder because only a few people are doing so. Making excuses for yourself alone, is irresponsible and leads to an uneasy conscience, no matter the severity of the consequences. Sartre speaks of forlornness in the context that “God does not exist and that we have to face all the consequences of this.” (Sartre, 624). From an existentialist point of view, we would like to “abolish God with the least possible expense” (Sartre, 624). Even by imagining that God were to cease existing, we would continue to behave in the same manner as we were when he did exist. Norms of honesty, progress, and humanism would remain the same, and only our ideas of Heaven and Hell would become obsolete. And so we must question, if there is no possibility of divine punishment for doing something morally wrong, why not do it anyways? As Dostoyevksy said, “If God didn’t exist, everything would be possible.” As a result of this possibility, man must be forlorn because he thus cannot make excuses for himself as he is not to be held responsible by either inside or outside forces. No action we take, whether good conduct or bad can be legitimized by God. In such a case, man is alone in his freedom of action. When speaking of despair in terms of