Existentialism is a philosophical movement that posits that individuals create the meaning and essence of their lives, as opposed to deities or authorities creating it for them.
Existentialism originated with the nineteenth-century philosophers Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche. It became prevalent in Continental philosophy, and literary figures such as Fyodor Dostoevsky also contributed to the movement.
Existentialism tends to focus on the question of human existence — the feeling that there is no purpose, indeed nothing, at the core of existence.
Finding a way to counter this nothingness, by embracing existence, is the fundamental theme of existentialism, and the root of the philosophy's name.
Some existentialists accept Nietzsche's proclamation that "God is dead"; they believe that the concept of God is obsolete.
Some existentialists, like Kierkegaard, conceive the fundamental existentialist question as man's relationship to God.
Theological existentialism, as advocated by philosophers and theologians shares tenets and themes that are central to atheistic existentialism.
It then follows that existentialism tends to view human beings as subjects in an indifferent, objective, often ambiguous, and "absurd" universe, in which meaning is not provided by the natural order, but rather can be created, however provisionally and unstably, by human beings' actions and interpretations.