Richard Beck on Existentialism and Death

Because of these deep resonances with existentialism, I was also attracted to, and am still attracted to, the existentialism in the theology of Paul Tillich. I vibed for a long time with the existential "death of God" theologies. There was a similar attraction for me in the theologies of William Stringfellow and Arthur McGill. I've always been interested in theologians who place death (rather than guilt) at the existential center of the human predicament. Death is also what drew me toward Orthodox theology as seen in my book The Slavery of Death.

--"Reclaiming Existential Theology: Part 1, The Guru of Death"

Excited for this series from Richard Beck. His earlier work that sought to make connections between existential psychology and theology were compelling to me as I was working out a way to maintain faith in my mid-to-late twenties.

Also, I don't think I ever made such a clear connection in my head as to why both existentialism and "death" as a concept or centering idea were both equally fascinating to me. Death disturbs me much like it probably does anyone else, but I also find the idea of "memento mori" in the Stoic and Christian traditions incredibly helpful for orienting and reorienting one's life. And existentialism, especially the proto-existentialism of Kierkegaard still animates my reason for considering faith to be a primary part of my life. I just never connected the two together in such a clear way.

Tagged: existentialism, theology, philosophy,