Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Moltmann on Why We Exist

I've been reading Moltmann's Theology of Play, in which the theologian reflects on the role of play in human existence, and how it can be a liberating glimpse of a new future reality in the present. In comparing the act of divine creation to the creative act of playing, Moltmann suggests that the question, "For what purpose did God create the world?" is inherently biased toward colonial/imperial understandings of purpose, meaning, and existence:

"Joy is the meaning of human life, joy in thanksgiving and thanksgiving as joy. In a way, this answer abolishes the intent of such questions as: For what purpose has [humanity] been created? For what purpose am I here? For the answer does not indicate ethical goals and ideal purposes but justifies created existence as such. The important thing about this answer is precisely the awkward surprise it contains. When we ask, For what purpose do I exist?, the answer does not lie in demonstrable purposes establishing my usefulness but in the acceptance of my existence as such and in what the Dutch biologist and philosopher Buytendijk has called the 'demonstrative value of being.' Recognizing this, we escape the dreadful questions of existence: For what purpose am I here? Am I useful? Can I make myself useful?" (p.19)

Do you agree? Why do you think you exist? Is that even a valid question, given Moltmann's concerns about demonstrating one's existential value?


  1. I agree 1000% (extra zero to indicate play). Okay I guess I will have to read Moltmann now.

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