Hegel sought an objective theory of knowledge upon which everyone could agree; Kierkegaard believed in the subjectivity of truth—meaning that truth is understood and experienced individually. Existence, he believed, is actual, painful, and more important than "essence" or "idea. As Kierkegaard once wrote, "My life has been brought to an impasse, I loathe existence…. Where am I?
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Hegel sought an objective theory of knowledge upon which everyone could agree; Kierkegaard believed in the subjectivity of truth—meaning that truth is understood and experienced individually. Existence, he believed, is actual, painful, and more important than "essence" or "idea.
As Kierkegaard once wrote, "My life has been brought to an impasse, I loathe existence…. Where am I? What is this thing called the world? What does this word mean? Who is it that has lured me into the thing and now leaves me there?
Who am I? How did I come into the world? Why was I not consulted, why not made acquainted with its manners and customs? Is it not a voluntary concern? And if I am to be compelled to take part in it, where is the director? Whither shall I turn with my complaint?
But to Kierkegaard, faith is not a mental conviction about doctrine, nor positive religious feelings, but a passionate commitment to God in the face of uncertainty. Faith is a risk the "leap of faith" , an adventure that requires the denial of oneself. To choose faith is what brings authentic human existence. This is the "existentialism" that Kierkegaard is considered the founder of—though later existentialists had significantly different agendas than his.
Attack on Christendom In his later writings—Works of Love , Christian Discourses , and Training in Christianity —he tried to clarify the true nature of Christianity. The greatest enemy of Christianity, he argued, was "Christendom"—the cultured and respectable Christianity of his day. The tragedy of easy Christianity is that existence has ceased to be an adventure and a constant risk in the presence of God but has become a form of morality and a doctrinal system.
Its purpose is to simplify the matter of becoming a Christian. This is just paganism, "cheap" Christianity, with neither cost nor pain, Kierkegaard argued. It is like war games, in which armies move and there is a great deal of noise, but there is no real risk or pain—and no real victory. Kierkegaard believed the church of his day was merely "playing at Christianity. When by the aid of affliction all irrelevant voices are brought to silence, it can be heard, this voice within.
He was a man of deep, almost mystical faith, and his acerbic pen could also compose lyrical prayers like these: "Teach me, O God, not to torture myself, not to make a martyr out of myself through stifling reflection, but rather teach me to breathe deeply in faith.
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Attack upon Christendom
One man, a Dane, stands out above all other contenders — Soren Kierkegaard The influence of Kierkegaard can be traced as much in Friedrich Nietzche as it can in the early works of Karl Barth. Kierkegaard was a nuisance to the church industry and we need more nuisances like him today. People who perhaps never once enter a church, never think about God, never mention his name except in oaths! People upon whom it has never dawned that they might have any obligation to God, people who either regard it as a maximum to be guiltless of transgressing criminal law, or do not count even this quite necessary!
Neglects doctrine of justification by faith alone. Has a sub-Biblical view of marriage and children. But he has a prophetic voice and overall the book is very helpful. The spiritual deadness of the state "church" goes far to explain how a "Christian Nation" could have participated in the abuses of colonialism. Quotes: "But the Protestant clergy still continue to have a curious crotchet in their heads. Although they have become in their "existence" entirely like men of every other class, who, without exceeding the limits prescribed by civil law, seek to develop what gifts they may have, and thereby strive to attain earthly rewards and pleasures like all the rest, nevertheless at the same time they want to be something more, to be witnesses to the truth.
Soren Kierkegaard & the attack on Christendom
His father, Michael Pederson Kierkegaard, was a Lutheran Pietist , but he questioned how God could let him suffer so much. One day, he climbed a mountain and cursed God. For this sin , Michael believed that a family curse was placed upon him, that none of his children would live a full life. He decided not to become a pastor or a professor either because if he had he would have had to write under the authority of the State or the Church.
Kierkegaard's attack upon "Christendom," 1854-185