Jean-Paul Sartre.

I n our lives we may reach the conclusion that religion cannot, fundamentally, explain existence: for it leaves our reasoning powers with too much to doubt. Perhaps worse, if religion is our only source of ‘comfort’, at fundamental level, we might plunge into bouts of despair when facing crises, forced into lacking ultimate responsibility and encumbered by the knowledge that this pain was handed to us.

No, we may say: we want to bear the responsibility of our own actions; we want to know our own pain.

Then, with this perspective, we may become hopeful of finding our own paths. As declared by Jean-Paul Sartre (pictured) in a lecture given in 1946:

'[T]he real problem is not that of His existence; what man needs is to find himself again and to understand that nothing can save him from himself, not even a valid proof of the existence of God. In this sense existentialism is optimistic. It is a doctrine of action, and it is only by self-deception, by confining their own despair with ours that Christians can describe us as without hope.'