Monday, July 15, 2019

Kierkegaard on the Meaning of Christianity

(Our back yard, on the river. Photo by David Ferrell.)
I begin this day with Soren Kierkegaard.

Much of what is called "Christianity" is a disconnect from what we see in Jesus. This was Kierkegaard's critique of the church of Denmark. "Christians" bear little resemblance to Christianity.

Kierkegaard saw his life purpose as spreading "Christianity, to win people to Christianity. My task is to disabuse people of the illusion that they are Christians – yet I am serving Christianity.” Kierkegaard was working to evangelize Christians.

Charles Moore writes:

"By Christianity Kierkegaard did not mean a system of correct doctrine or a set of behaviors: “The struggle is not between orthodoxy and heterodoxy. My struggle, much more inward, is about the how of the doctrine. I say that someone can accept [intellectually] the whole doctrine, but in presenting it [living it] he destroys it.” Kierkegaard’s contention was that despite sound doctrine, or the what of faith, “the lives people live demonstrate that there is really no Christianity – or very little.” 

Genuine Christianity, according to Kierkegaard, is anything but doctrine. It is a way of being in the truth before God by following Jesus in self-denial, sacrifice, suffering, and by seeking a primitive relationship with God. Unfortunately, doctrine is what people want. And the reason for this is “because doctrine is the indolence of aping and mimicking for the learner, and doctrine is the way to power for the teacher, and doctrine collects people.”"

(Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard. Introduction by Charles Moore.)