Epicureanism is an ancient philosophical system which was founded by the Green philosopher Epicurus. It puts great emphasis on prioritizing living a happy and content life as a person’s ultimate goal. It mainly focuses on the present day and it completely rejects being fearful of the gods and any notions about the afterlife. In modern times, the word “Epicureanism” is often related with the popular saying, “Eat drink and be merry.” However, Epicureanism does not actually advocate the natural pursuit of bodily pleasure. It is significantly different from the concept of hedonism. Epicurus had a very materialistic view about the world and the rest of the universe. He strongly believed that all of nature consists of space and matter. Science has proven that all matter can be divisible down to the smallest level of atoms. Epicurus believed that the world is eternal so it couldn’t possibly be created nor can it be destroyed. Although there are various types of shapes, sizes, motion and weight, they cannot be felt or seen using a person’s senses. All the atoms in the universe operate in accordance to natural law so he believed that creation could not possibly exist.

Epicurus and his beliefs
Epicureanism completely rejects the idea of an afterlife. A person’s soul is made out of atoms which is just more subtle than the atoms found in a physical body. Epicurus believed that in order to give life, both body and soul must be present. He strongly believed that when a person dies, his soul also disintegrates with it. He suggested that this is the reason why people must not fear death or any type of future punishment. Amidst his beliefs, Epicurus actually believed in the existence of gods. Humanity’s universal opinion and different visions of the gods is proof of their existence. Similar to everything else in the universe, he believed that the gods are also made up of atoms. They are identified as immortal beings because their bodies cannot be dissolved. He believed that the gods are living happy and content lives being detached from society and out of contact with human beings. Epicureanism teaches that there is no need for prayers, providence or fear of the gods. Epicurus believed that a religion only promotes fear in people.

Teachings of Epicureanism
The ultimate goal of Epicureanism is to live a peaceful, happy and pleasurable life. However, it’s important to understand that the pursuit of pleasure in Epicureanism is different from hedonism or self indulgence. Instead, it primarily focuses on contentment, friendships and pleasures of the mind. Epicurus explained that it is human nature to search for pleasure and stay away from anything which causes pain and suffering. He made this concept the primary basis of his guidelines for living a happy and content life. He believed that people should only do things which bring them joy and happiness. He strongly encouraged looking for the highest quality of pleasure. Epicureanism uses three main criteria which evaluates pleasure and pain. These are intensity, duration and purity.

 

Existentialism is a philosophical development that trusts people make the substance and significance of their lives without the requirement for an otherworldly constraints or a God. Existentialism doesn’t preclude the presence from securing God; it just implies that people are totally allowed to pick their predetermination, and are eventually in charge of their lives.

The term Existentialism says ‘about existence’ or logically ‘predicting life.’ In philosophy, the words exist, and life denotes something active rather than passive and thus is strictly dependent on the Latin root ex, ‘out’+ sister from sister ‘to stand. It is the doctrine emphasizes the difference between human life and that of inanimate objects. Any philosophic systems are all centered on the individual and his relationship to the universe or God.

Existential Truth and Factual Truth: What They Say About Religious Texts

Once you are in possession of the truth, you can either tell the truth or hide it from the others. This is one kind of truth, factual truth, that makes lying possible. When a person lies to the other, he is hiding the facts from him. Factual truth, therefore, is a social one: there are witnesses, not just one, who can tell the truth or who can hide the truth, and therefore, lie about the situation. And there are people from whom the facts can hide.

On the other hand, Existential truth deals with the meaning of events whether or not these events occurred. Existential reality can be experienced by anyone for everyone, given a certain level of human experience, understands and have experienced some of the human conditions like compassion, hurt, suffering, love, relationships, wonder, meaning of life, etc. That is why we are touched by events in our lives, news of human interest, books, and movies.

Existential truth does not require a group of witnesses other than one’s self. However, like factual truth, the existential reality is social. Existential truth can be shared with people who have undergone certain universal experiences that they can appreciate the meaning behind every human story. Unlike factual truth, Existential truth is intensely subjective. It is a revelation of a deeper meaning of life. It is not a fact like tables and chairs, or newly discovered papers or artifacts of a thousand years ago. Existential truth is the result of one’s unique relationship with reality that is invisible (not in the manner by which objects are hidden) to those who are not prepared to ‘see’. It has not changed since the dawn of humankind. Existential truth, to be revealed, requires some degree of experience. This is why children are not yet capable of ‘seeing’ for they lack human experiences to grasp the deeper meaning of living.

What of historical truth? Although there is no one today who has lived long to see Abraham Lincoln (or Jesus Christ), there would still be some ‘facts’ that have been preserved. These facts don’t tell the whole story, for it is impossible to gather every fact of a life of a human being or earth. So, it is left to the historians to make sense out of the facts and come up with a reasonable theory or interpretation about the meaning of historical events.

A history that is worth writing about is a story that carries within its womb a deeper meaning for everyone to learn from about themselves and their stations in life. In that regard, there can be some existential truth to be gotten. Read or, even still, watch a movie on Abraham Lincoln, and you will find situations of making hard choices that everyone can relate to.

So, we go back to religious texts. Do they consist of factual events, hence speak of factual truths? It is hard to say because the events occurred a long time ago, and for hundreds of years, many interpretations have been believed to be coming straight from the lips of God. What is more, significant and the reason why religious texts are relevant is that it deals mainly with Existential Truth.