Tuesday, July 22

Kierkegaard on "Christian nations"

I have started work on three pdf articles concurrently; they should be completed by the end of next week. In the mean time, a thought from Kierkegaard in Judge for Yourself! For Self-Examination:

Imitation, the imitation of Christ, is really the point from which the human race shrinks. The main difficulty lies here; here is where it is really decided whether or not one is willing to accept Christianity. If there is emphasis on this point, the stronger the emphasis the fewer the Christians. If there is a scaling down at this point (so that Christianity becomes, intellectually, a doctrine) more people enter into Christianity. If it is abolished completely (so that Christianity becomes, existentially, as easy as mythology and poetry and imitation an exaggeration, a ludicrous exaggeration), then Christianity spreads to such a degree that Christendom and the world are almost indistinguishable, or all become Christians; Christianity has completely conquered- that is, it is abolished!

It is easy to balk at the exclusivity and self-importance that seems to be implied in this passage. However, I do not believe that Kierkegaard is talking about a necessary and objective truth, i.e. that Christianity will necessarily be diluted as it expands. Rather, if you consider it from an empirical historical perspective, it is profound in that it is entirely true.

18 Comments:

Blogger the_burning_bush said...

Wow!

This very subject has been heavy on my heart lately. I've been considering that verse (where is it?) where the Bible says that anyone who wishes to be a disciple of Christ must walk as Jesus walked. I find that very scary. As soon as people hear that they say, "Are you trying to earn your salvation? If you think it's required to walk as Jesus walked you must be trying to earn it." This is simply the thing Christ requires of his followers. It is scary, but -at the same time- what a blessed way to walk!

C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity is a sham when he says that Christianity is a matter of agreeing with the doctrines in the Bible. We are warned not to deceive ourselves by being hears of the Word only. We are called to be doers of the Word, i.e. to walk as Christ walked.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

That's a very nice way of putting it burning bush. I've actually had people exclaim "that's a works-based theology!" when I quoted sayings of Jesus to them relating to this. It boggles my mind to consider how consciously the modern church is rejecting some of the most fundamental teachings of Jesus.

The Gospels can scare me as well, the best way I know how to describe it is a "wake up call".

8:42 PM  
Blogger Thom said...

"Christianity has completely conquered- that is, it is abolished!"

Haha. Kierkegaard's witty sense of humour never ceased to amuse me, even when he's dead serious. XD

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Ry said...

You must also leave your religion! I think Jesus thought that would be the easy part...

Read this:

http://www.theooze.com/articles/article.cfm?id=2075

Hope you find it encouraging!

8:13 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Hey Ry,

Thankyou for spending the time to make comments on my blog, they are appreciated. I enjoyed the article, thanks for the link! There were points of difference, and personally I do not often buy stories of demon possession, but nevertheless it was a good read.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know, Burning Bush, I'd be careful about calling Mere Christianity a sham. Especially since you're targeting a phrase that has clear scriptural background. Jesus said in John 4 that "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." The Bible puts an immense emphasis on truth, and it is critical to our Christian walk that we have the truth and seek it out. to me, this is a part of imitating Christ, since Jesus was constantly emphasizing truth.

You're right, though. Christians today cling so desperately to their belief in faith alone that they attack anything that even closely resembles works-based salvation. I think what they forget is that if you truly know the truth, then you can't help but act it out in imitation of Christ. While actions don't get you to heaven, action is the necessary consequence of the knowledge that does get you to heaven.

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