Naomi Pieczulewski, Sanghavi Srinivasan, Aditya Simha, and Dilip Venkatesh

Characteristics of Nihilism

  • claims that there is no universal morality; rejects moral values
  • the idea that human existence is empty and meaningless
  • seeks the creation of a new man and destruction of the old
  • the belief that God is dead, or that God does not exist
  • released from the necessity of thinking
  • nothing can be known or communicated
  • characterized extreme pessimism and radical skepticism toward our world and existence
  • nihilists believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and have no purpose other than to destroy

Lotso from Toy Story 3

Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear (Lotso) is the main villain in Toy Story 3. After being abandoned by his previous child, he becomes bitter and eventually comes to believe that all toys are meaningless and were made to be thrown away.

Luke 20:38

"He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."

This quote is the opposite of nihilistic beliefs. Nihilism states that God is dead and doubts whether we truly exist. However, Jesus, who obviously believes in the existence of God, claims that God considers everyone alive and meaningful. Thus, in this statement, Jesus opposes nihilistic beliefs .

Image: This image shows a dystopia full of darkness and destruction. This picture emphasizes the other part of nihilism, which states that the only purpose of human beings is to destroy. Destruction is the sole purpose of human beings and the only pursuit they should follow, according to nihilism.

This song relates to nihilism because the lyrics clearly hint at the motive that life is pointless. When the singer says, "Anyway the wind blows doesn't really matter to me, to me", and, "Mama, life had just begun, But now I've gone and thrown it all away", he seems to not care about life, which is what nihilists live by. It is this rejection of all principles and life that can be identified as nihilism.

Image: This image shows an empty room void of any light. This relates to the philosophy of emptiness and that life has no meaning. This picture shows the nihilistic nature of being empty and alone because there is no God.

Comparison to a Christian Worldview

What is the meaning of human history?

Christian Worldview: Creation is ongoing and developing. It will be complete only at the end of time. God invites us to be co-creators with Him. We develop the world in partnership with God. Our work should contribute to God’s dream for creation, the Kingdom of God.

Nihilistic Worldview: The human existence is empty and meaningless. We have no purpose on this earth.

Why is it possible to know anything at all?

Because we are made in the image of an all-knowing God who is revealed through all of creation, our searching for knowledge leads us to God.

It isn't possible, as nothing can be known or communicated. There is no God that can direct us toward knowledge.

What is a human being?

We are a single unified person. Spiritual and material are not separate “parts” but two dimensions of the same person that acts in the world. Our spiritual dimension is just as real as our material dimension. It enables us to think, to make free choices, and to love.

Humans are empty beings that have no purpose. We must essentially destroy ourselves because we are that meaningless.

What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us?

Creation is ongoing and developing as God continually empties God’s self into creation. Creation’s purpose is the self-expression of God and it will be complete only at the end of time.

The world around us is pointless and meaningless. There is no God or a universal morality.

Discussion Question

Nihilism seems like such a pessimistic and destructive worldview, so why do you think so many people have nihilistic beliefs?

Comment Stream

3 years ago

You guys need to send me your paragraphs so I can put it on the Tackk