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In a world without sense, all choices are possible, a situation which Sartre viewed as human beings central dilemma: "Man [woman] is condemned to be free." In contrast to atheist existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard theorized that belief in God (given that we are provided with no proof or assurance) required a conscious choice or "leap of faith." The major figures include Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre (sart or SAR-treh), Albert Camus (kah-MUE or ka-MOO) , Simone de Beauvoir (bohv-WAHR) , Martin Buber, Karl Jaspers (YASS-pers), and Maurice Merleau-Ponty (mer-LOH pawn-TEE).
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The basis for these beliefs lies within the most commonly identifiable theme of existentialism, which states that the philosophy stresses the concrete individual existence along with the individual freedom and choice....
Because of the diversity of positions associated with existentialism, a precise definition is impossible; however, it suggests one major theme: a stress on individual existence and, consequently, on subjectivity, individual freedom, and choice .