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Kierkegaard, Honesty, and Grace (200 Years Later)

Kierkegaard, Honesty, and Grace (200 Years Later)

…rtially responsible for Kierkegaard’s appropriation by secular, atheistic existentialism – the Church rejected many of his insights, or does so implicitly, while people like Camus had the stolid courage to accept Kierkegaard’s call to brutally honest self-examination. Two hundred years later, many of Kierkegaard’s broadsides to Christianity’s credibility still stand: different ethical goals, albeit laudable, of the…

Kid Kierkegaard Chose...Poorly

Kid Kierkegaard Chose…Poorly

…the “learned theological world,” Kierkegaard ultimately became a central part of it. Many a student has found him- or herself at the heart of a impassioned but ultimately not-very-risky debate about Hegel versus Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard’s writings, foundational for students of philosophy, are also really pretty dense; for many, he is a total brick wall. It’s strange to say that Kierkegaard became the very thing he so…

S. Kierkegaard on the Anxiety of Alienation and Dizziness of Freedom

S. Kierkegaard on the Anxiety of Alienation and Dizziness of Freedom

Somewhat recently, Gordon Marino, a professor of philosophy and director of the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College, authored a piece for The NY Times on Søren Kierkegaard’s experience with anxiety entitled, “Kierkegaard, Danish Doctor of Dread.” The subject here being a man who once described his pervasive dread in the following terms: “All existence makes me anxious, from the smallest fly to the mysteries of the…

"Just a Reflection of a Reflection": Arcade Fire's Rendition of Kierkegaard's Reflective Age

“Just a Reflection of a Reflection”: Arcade Fire’s Rendition of Kierkegaard’s Reflective Age

…or, my mind immediately jumped to Jean Baudrillard and his ideas about simulation and simulacra (like this review from Tiny Mix Tapes), but according to Win Butler, lead singer, the album’s title and central theme comes from Kierkegaard and his essay, “The Present Age.” In the essay, published in 1846, Kierkegaard essentially argues that the present age has lost its passion and enthusiasm due to an overwhelming desire for cleverness,…

Kierkegaard on Erotic Love, Divine Sorrow and True Imputation

Kierkegaard on Erotic Love, Divine Sorrow and True Imputation

…8217;s attempts at worthiness before the King. Because perception always involves subjectivity and projection, it is always creative. In humans this creativity is false and distorts the truth; in God it transforms it. In the Kierkegaardian logic of Love voluntarily blinding its eyes to our sin and lowly stature, God doesn’t play dress-up in imputation – instead, Christ’s love and substitution for us genuinely makes us into the…

Kierkegaard on the (Lost) Offense of Christianity

Kierkegaard on the (Lost) Offense of Christianity

…r wounds nor heals profoundly enough; it is the false invention of human sympathy which forgets the infinite qualitative difference between God and man. -Søren Kierkegaard, “The Offence,” Training in Christianity Kierkegaard handles the problem of the “messianic secret” still, to me, better than almost anyone. That secret is the question of why Jesus, after healing people, often tells them to tell no one. Why the low…

Wheeling and Dealing with the Devil: Kierkegaard on the Intolerable Self

Wheeling and Dealing with the Devil: Kierkegaard on the Intolerable Self

…on does not want to be confronted with himself; his very own existence is like a weight to him, and this is the source of the despair. It turns out that the weight of bearing himself is what he tried to escape to begin with. Kierkegaard explains elsewhere in his book that the self is given by God, kept in place by him in such a way that the person without faith is in despair. And so it comes to this: it is against God’s grace that defenses…

One-Way Love According to Søren Kierkegaard

One-Way Love According to Søren Kierkegaard

A bit of a follow-up to last week’s fantastic post on Kierkegaard and imputation. It’s doozy of a quote on perfect, one-way, love: “To be able to love a person despite his weaknesses and defects and imperfections is still not perfect love, but rather this, to be able to find him lovable despite and with his weaknesses and defects and imperfections. Let us understand each other. It is one thing fastidiously to want to eat only…

Another Week Ends: Kierkegaard, Suicidal Pastors, Andre Agassi, Rick Warren, Weezer, Julian C, BSG

Another Week Ends: Kierkegaard, Suicidal Pastors, Andre Agassi, Rick Warren, Weezer, Julian C, BSG

…ing blog post over at the NY Times entitled, “Kierkegaard, Despair and Depression”, the final paragraph of which is really something (ht Jeff Dean): Each of us is subject to the weather of our own moods. Clearly, Kierkegaard thought that the darkling sky of his inner life was very much due to his father’s morbidity. But the issue of spiritual health looms up with regard to the way that we relate to our emotional lives. Again, for…

Nobody Knows Yourself When You're Down and Out: Kierkegaard on the Mirage of Health

Nobody Knows Yourself When You’re Down and Out: Kierkegaard on the Mirage of Health

…d crisis as the means to a more proper relation to God smack of a theology of the cross, and guilt very decisive for him in bringing the illness to view in a “second use of the Law” way. We can also find not only Kierkegaard, but also the Christ of the Sermon on the Mount and the Cleansing of the Temple layered into Kierkegaard’s physician image. He came for the sick and not the healthy, but convincing the self-avowedly healthy…

Soren Kierkegaard and Charlie Brown: The Original Mockingbirds

Soren Kierkegaard and Charlie Brown: The Original Mockingbirds

…ithin them than any objection men can usually hold consciously.” As a result, he advocated what Soren Kierkegaard called “indirect communication” as a means of talking about Christianity with non-adherents. Kierkegaard wrote:  “If one is to lift up the whole age one must truly know it. That is why those ministers of Christianity who begin at once with orthodoxy have so little effect and only on so few. . . . One must…

I Know This Moment To Be True: Some Thoughts on DT Max's Reading of His Biography of David Foster Wallace

I Know This Moment To Be True: Some Thoughts on DT Max’s Reading of His Biography of David Foster Wallace

…d of God, in any book later than like Dostoyevsky. I mean the culture, it’s all wrong for it now. You know? No, no. Plausibly realistic characters don’t sit around talking about this stuff.” (fn 4) Quote from Encounters with Kierkegaard: A Life As Seen By His Contemporaries by Bruce Kirmmse (fn 5) Whenever I introduce Kierkegaard like that and say, “The Danish philosopher,” or if we want to get all techno-weenie with it, “The…