Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sartre Derangement Syndrome

Dr. John Ray observes in 'Dogmatic Atheists' on one of his blogs, Dissecting Leftism:
There is an interesting short article here which points out how dogmatic many atheists are -- probably more dogmatic than most Christians.

I myself have always wondered at that strange tendency among atheists. Many atheists sound very much like the fieriest of evangelical preachers. So rather than opposing dogma they are just putting up one dogma against another -- something religious people have been doing for centuries, of course.

I myself am as thoroughgoing an atheist as you will find but I have never seen any need to condemn religion or religious people. Most religions (though not all: Islam comes to mind) seem to be of great help to their believers and I am delighted that that is so. I just don't seem to have in me the hate that clearly drives many outspoken atheists to their paroxysms of abuse. [...]
There was a time when this activity was perhaps not so common, but, nonetheless, existent and just as virulent. If one were to take a soil sample from the grave of Jean-Paul Sartre, the DNA among the dirt would not be that of theists, but of his friends.
“First of all, man exists, turns up, appears on the scene, and, only afterwards, defines himself. If man, as the existentialist conceives him, is indefinable, it is because at first he is nothing. Only afterward will he be something, and he himself will have made what he will be. Thus, there is no human nature, since there is no God to conceive it.” (Sartre 1957, 15-16; see also Sartre 1988, 75)1
No problem there in 1957, but Sartre sinned the unforgivable sin shortly before his death in 1980:
‘I do not feel that I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here; and this idea of a creating hand refers to God.’1
However meaningful this statement was to Jean-Paul's inner self is debatable, but the reaction of his friends was unmistakable:
The epilogue is much less edifying. His mistress, Simone de Beauvoir, behaved like a bereaved widow during the funeral. Then she published La cérémonie des adieux in which she turned vicious, attacking Sartre. He resisted Victor’s seduction, she recounts, then he yielded. ‘How should one explain this senile act of a turncoat?’, she asks stupidly. And she adds: ‘All my friends, all the Sartreans, and the editorial team of Les Temps Modernes supported me in my consternation.’1
Sounds like Sartre was excommunicated from his own church to me. I would not be surprised if some of his friends wanted to dig him up and burn him at the stake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree. I recently read what Sartre said and it blew my mind. For his whole life he was an athiest then he, in a sentence, deconstructs his whole existence. I didn't understand it at first, I had to really look for an answer to why he said it and what he meant. Check out the wikipedia article on it.