Now this is not so much profound as confused. But this is matter for the pathologist, and what I am thinking of here is sanity in a less technical sense, the kind of intellectual health that one looks for in a matured and reflective mind. His stress on vehement commitment, his disrespect for ecclesiastical and secular authority, his insistence on will and feeling, and his scepticism of received values have combined with his distrust of reason to strike a chord unexpectedly congenial to twentieth-century youth. Partly, no doubt, because he had convinced himself that the general propositions of science and philosophy dealt only with universals, not with particular things or persons; ‘all men are mortal’ stated a connection between humanity and immortality but said nothing about me. Suppose we grant him that in every event there is an ‘existence’ inaccessible to reason, and that in the absence of this element the ‘what’ or character would be an ‘airy nothing’, powerless to make any difference in the actual course of events. In these laws there is no reference to any particular event or to any individual thing or man. It lay in the thesis that religion was not a rational affair at all, and that reason was therefore incompetent, irrelevant, and impertinent in sitting in judgement upon it. His chief contribution to it is to say that at times it breaks down, and that when it does, our resort must be to a ‘teleological suspension of the ethical’ at divine behest. Kierkegaard's notion of it, as Höffding reminds us,3 is somewhat like the ideal of Aristippus of Greece, who held that one should follow the impulse of the moment; it suggests, again, the early Pater, who urged that it was unseemly, in this short day of frost and sun, to sleep before evening, and that the ideal is to burn as continuously as one can with ‘a hard gem-like flame’ of enjoyment. So, too, does Kierkegaard advocate a leap, not out of reason or against reason (the swimmer has done some intellectual preparation), but recognizing that forward movement in life is not primarily a function of our rational capacities but our will and our trust. What this meant in practice was an alternate stress on each side of the contradiction, or an acceptance as primary of the picture that best accorded with the devotee's prepossessions. Are these characters universals? 1 In the long line of Lutheran theologians stretching from Luther himself to Brunner, Barth, and Bultmann, Kierkegaard holds a unique place. Daily and hourly we make choices implying judgements that it is better to be happy or enlightened or at peace than it is to be the opposite; indeed the person who chooses to affirm that nothing is better than anything else presumably assumes that it is better so to affirm than not to do so. Every man, he said, ‘is born in sin and as a sinner’. The traditional concept of a universal is that of a character that may occur in varying contexts. Again, Kierkegaard seems to have held that belief in the ordinary sense was not something that could enlist one's passion, whereas one could be fully engaged emotionally about a decision to act. Neither the record of Jesus’ own teaching nor the impression he made on those around him suggests an atmosphere of intense and cultivated suffering. Reason and Faith: The Lutheran Succession. Kierkegaard, in his endeavour to make Christianity ‘existential’ rather than ‘objective’, distorts and depreciates this element beyond recognition. A pagan or an atheist can do wrong and know it; the sinner is a man who lives ‘before God’ and sees that his wrongdoing is an offence against God's will. Some have said, with James, that if the thought occupied itself exclusively with the action proposed, and did not divide attention with anything else, the thought was the volition; others have found that a special ‘feeling of innervation’ was necessary. How exhilarating the new strategy was to beleaguered defenders of the faith will be clearer if we recall some of the incursions made by rationalism into religious territory between the death of Luther and Kierkegaard's timely resurrection. … This phrase is frequently used in other ways (i.e. The influence of Kierkegaards father on his work has been frequently noted. Holding, in Kantian fashion, that only the self that makes moral choices is free, and seeing that the rise of the impulsive self to rationality and freedom is a somewhat mysterious process, he describes this as a choosing of oneself. He admitted that ‘little is said in the New Testament’ about it; his doctrine of the central importance of such suffering seems to have presented itself as an implication of the teaching of St Paul. There are persons, as Sir Thomas Browne observed, who love to ‘pursue their reason to an “O Altitudo”’, and indeed follow philosophy, as Spinoza and Bradley did, as ‘a way of experiencing Deity’. The Kierkegaardian subjectivity would dissolve these things away into a set of processes in individual minds where there would be as many Christianities as there were persons to exercise their ‘inwardness’ and their passion. ‘Kierkegaard's explanation of the dialectical relation of freedom and fate in sin is one of the profoundest in Christian thought’; and similarly ‘Kierkegaard's analysis of the relation of anxiety to sin is the profoundest in Christian thought.’116 Georg Brandes in a letter to Nietzsche says that Kierkegaard ‘is in my view one of the most profound psychologists of all time.…’117 ‘… Harnack's once celebrated essay on The Essence of Christianity seems incredibly trivial,’ remarks a disciple, ‘when one has read S. K.’118. Over and over again Kierkegaard comes back to this identification with his father and to the sense that he is living under the blight of another's wrong-doing. To understand him, it's important to understand how he understood God, which Ken helps us to do. Thus, for his account of the aesthetic life, we must go to the diary of one Johannes the Seducer, or to the speakers at an imaginary dinner where no one is permitted to hold forth until he is mildly drunk. Such renunciation of human desires, drastic as it is, belongs to the lower stage of religiousness because it can be achieved by a sufficiently heroic effort of the will. But what of the philosophy of history? Late 19th C. Danish philosopher ; Christian existentialist ; Argues that it is not possible to prove the existence of God through reason, since it is difficult to prove the existence of anything. 14 If Kierkegaard did not derive this stress on suffering from the facts, where did it come from? There is no discontinuity between thought in philosophy and science and that of ordinary life, in which we find ourselves dealing constantly and successfully with existence. Reason (logic and speculative thought) attests to its own limits in regard to doctrinal faith, but it also can point to that which is a reasonable step, even when logic alone is of no avail. Adams sees Kierkegaard providing for why one cannot reason objectively to confirm religious faith. Kierkegaard is the real founder of existentialism, which has made possible the development of the philosophies of Heidegger and Sartre.Fighting along his life against Hegel, Kierkegaard … Again, one might start with the assumption that the objects of thought must be somehow embraced in the thought itself, which seems plausible enough when we think such abstractions as that 2 + 2 = 4, whereas when we say that Gibraltar exists it is not at all plausible to suppose that the rock exists bodily in our consciousness. The Kierkegaardians have seen that this will not serve. We may grant that historical research, by seeking independent confirmation of the report of a given gospel may lend a given event a higher probability, but certainty is beyond our grasp. What of the second half of the great insight attributed to him—that where reason fails faith succeeds? There is now, I take it, agreement among disinterested scholars that, for example, the order of Old Testament Books bears no relation to the order of their composition, that in a given book conflicting narratives from different hands and different times are often pieced together, as in the early chapters of Genesis, that many of the books of both Testaments are not by the authors traditionally accepted, that none of the gospels, as we now have them, were written until a generation or two after the death of Christ, and that these at many points give conflicting accounts of fact and doctrine. 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