Profile: Martin Heidegger

“Martin Heidegger’s philosophy, along with the others, did not have any ‘hope’ to give.”

I have been told by a certain editor here at Trinity Press, that I need to reign in my verbiage. I will attempt to hold this article about Martin Heidegger to under 1000 words. So, without any further ado, I give you my final entry into the secular existentialist pool, Martin Heidegger. This will be a whirlwind biography and then I will get right to his contribution to the existentialist school of thought.

Martin Heidegger

Martin was born on September 26, 1889 and grew up in a Catholic family in Germany. His early years were not nearly as troublesome as the others philosophers we have looked at. Martin was a very smart individual and earned a scholarship to attend university. While there he studied many things, but it was his study of the Protestant Reformation that led to his breaking with Catholicism and his marriage to a Lutheran woman. Martin stayed in Germany and continued in the education arena. He wrestled with the concept of “being” and what that meant. Martin thought that existence was centered in being involved in the world and life. He focused his major work, Being and Time, on what he termed “angst.” Schaeffer sums what this feeling is, “Angst is not just fear, for fear has an object. Angst is a vague feeling of dread – the uncomfortable feeling you have when you go into a house that might be haunted.” He believed that things like “original sin” caused people discomfort and interfered with their attempts at an authentic life.

Martin still believed that there was a separation in thought and life. Again, we go back to the two-story thinking. As a refresher, the upper story is for religious and spiritual thought, this is where hope resides. The lower story is for real life, the scientific things are here. All we have in the formless upper story is “blind faith in hope” that there may be some point to this existence.

Martin Heidegger’s philosophy, along with the others, did not have any “hope” to give.

The Christian and Non-Christian both feel this “angst” in the world. Ask anyone that is remotely paying attention to the world currently, and most will show signs of this “angst;” this stress. But, as a Christian do we want to camp out here?

What does the Bible tell us about worry and fear?

I am telling you about this philosophy, because this is what secularists think about your belief in a God and a hope for an afterlife; it is a big leap of faith. The Bible and our faith flies in the face of this “angst.” The Bible makes it quite clear that “in this world we will have tribulation, but take heart, because I, Jesus Christ, have overcome the world.” That’s step 1 in our fight against stress. Our savior, Jesus Christ, who came from heaven and died for us, who rose, ascended and is coming back, is telling us not to fear. I wish I had the space and time to go into it, but Dr. Scott preached a great message on the Bible’s admonition, “be of good courage” and of the circumstances that it was used. I can only tell you to read your Bible and seek comfort where this phrase is used.

I can also speak to fear. The Bible tells us that “perfect love”, God’s love, casts out fear. To a child of God this angst that Heidegger speaks of can be cast out and overcome. He turned his back on his faith, as many of these philosophers did and, in the end, they came to bitter ends. Several of them ended up dying in despair and despondency, committing suicide.

If you do a quick search on you will find in the New Testament that the apostles, especially Paul and Peter, are either wishing us grace, peace, and mercy or are speaking about these things as attributes of our God. We must grab onto theses verses, when times are the darkest, and hold on. Stop whatever you are doing in your “angsty” situation and go to the Word. Internalize what is being told to us here in the Bible.

Grace, if you look it up, means cessation, stopping, of againstness. This means that God is no longer against you as a Christian. You are as much a son or daughter to Him as Jesus Christ.

Peace means a sense of tranquility, knowing that you are right with God and that He is there looking out for you.

Last Mercy: “Wherever the words mercy and peace are found together they occur in that order, except in Galatians 6:16 . Mercy is the act of God, peace is the resulting experience in the heart of man. Grace describes God’s attitude toward the law-breaker and the rebel; mercy is His attitude toward those who are in distress.”* [* From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 340,341.]

If you are in distress, don’t look to a philosophy to find peace, grace, or mercy from the world. Look instead to Jesus Christ.

For my next few articles, I’ll show you what happens when Christians adopt an existentialist philosophy. I promise it will be short and to the point so that we can move on to other things.

I want to also invite you to keep a look out for podcasts that will be showing up later this year. Be praying for us as we move forward with the next step in our ministry, and if you would like to support us financially, as we purchase the equipment and pay for hosting services, we would welcome that too. This has been a long time coming with many discussions and late night planning sessions. If there are any topics that you would like to see discussed and covered in the future please let us know and, as always, feedback is welcomed and appreciated.

May God grant you peace in these troubling times,

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