Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism, Vol 22, No 1 (2014)

“All The Consequences Of This”: Why Atheistic Existentialism is more Consistent than Religious Existentialism

Kile Jones
Issued Date: 14 Aug 2014


The variety of existentialist thought show existentialism to be a flexible denotation, one that can be shared by believers and atheists alike. When approaching such a loosely defined term as “existentialism” a few questions arise. What are the boundaries for inclusion or exclusion? Are there more authentic forms of existentialism than others? The former question is usually dealt with by showing the history of existentialism—from Kierkegaard to Nietzsche, Heidegger to Sartre—along with noting some common strands amongst their writings (e.g. subjectivity, powerlessness, anxiety, despair, dread, isolation, tragedy, nothingness, meaninglessness, absurdity, etc.). The latter question is much harder to deal with. It asks for a value judgement as to which kind of existentialism is more authentic than others. It relates to the former because the person answering such a question has to have an idea of what existentialism ought to look like, but it goes beyond it by asking a deliberately evaluative question. This article is going to take both questions into account by examining the concepts and content of existentialist authors, their strengths and weaknesses, and is going to explain why I think atheistic existentialism is more authentic than religious existentialism.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/eph.v22i1.79


Aeschylus. 1977. The Oresteia: Agamemnon; The Libation Bearers; The Eumenides New York: Penguin.
Aristotle. 1987. Poetics. Translated by Richard Janko. Cambridge: Hackett.
Camus, Albert. 1968. Lyrical and Critical Essays. Translated by Ellen Conroy Kennedy, edited by Philip Thody. New York: Vintage Books.
Euripides. 1974. Three Plays: Alcestis; Hippolytus; Iphigenia in Taurus. New York: Penguin.
Hegel, G. W. F. 1975. Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Arts. Translated by T. M. Knox. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Jaspers, Karl. 1969. Tragedy Is Not Enough. Translated by Harald A. T. Reiche, Harry T. Moore and Karl W. Deutsch. North Haven: Archon Books.
Kafka, Franz. 1986. The Metamorphosis. New York: Bantam.
Kaufmann, Walter. 1956. Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre. New York: Meridian Books.
Kaufmann, Walter. 1969. Tragedy and Philosophy. New York: Anchor Books.
Kierkegaard, Søren. 1944. The Concept of Dread. Translated by Walter Lowrie. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Kierkegaard, Søren. 1967. Journals and Papers, vol. 1. Translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Kierkegaard, Søren. 1985. Fear and Trembling. Translated by Alastair Hannay. New York: Penguin Books.
Mandel, Oscar. 1982. A Definition of Tragedy. New York: University Press of America.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1957. Existentialism and Human Emotions. New York: Philosophical Library.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1964. Nausea. Translated by Lloyd Alexander. New York: New Directions.
Mahabharata. 2009. New York: Penguin.
Marcel, Gabriel. 1950. The Mystery of Being. vol. 1. Indiana: Gateway.
Marcel, Gabriel. 1965. Being and Having. New York: Harper and Row.
Niebuhr, Reinhold, ed. 1986. The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr. Translated by Robert McAfee Brown. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1974. The Gay Science. New York: Random House.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1993. The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music. New York: Penguin.
Schopenhauer, Arthur, 1966. The World as Will and Representation. Translated by E. F. J. Payne. New York: Dover Publications.
Sophocles. 1984. The Three Theban Plays: Antigone; Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus. New York: Penguin.
Tzara, Tristan. 1918. Dada Manifesto. Translated from the French by Robert Motherwell, “Dada Painters and Poets,” by Robert Motherwell. New York: George Wittenborn Publishers.
Unamino, Miguel de. 1954. Tragic Sense of Life. Translated by J. E. Crawford Flitch. New York: Dover Publications.
Warnock, Mary. 1970. Existentialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email:

Privacy Policy