“The words, ‘I know nothing except Christ and the crucifixion,’ said by an apostle cost him his life; said by a witness to the truth it brings persecution…said by a poet it becomes a success, said by a declaiming priest not only does he become a success, he is seriously honored as all but holy himself.”—Soren Kierkegaard Papers and Journals 1850-53
“The most dangerous situation for a child regarding the religious: The danger is not that the father or educator is a liberal, nor even that he is a hypocrite. No, the danger is that he is a pious and God-fearing man, that the child is sincerely and profoundly convinced of his, but notices a deep disquiet in his father’s soul, as though not even being God-fearing and pious could bring peace to his soul. The danger lies exactly in the fact that, in this situation, the child is given the opportunity to conclude in effect that God is not infinite love after all.”—Soren Kierkegaard Papers and Journals 1850-53
Hey everyone, SorenSays is up to 445 followers! Thanks for hanging around! Almost 500!
Let me know if there’s anything I can do to make it more appealing. I know there are dry spells…but I try my best to keep it daily. It is hard to keep up between school and two jobs. #excuses
I know there a number of his texts I have yet to quote from…I will remedy that as soon as I can. Most of the time, what I’m posting is what I’m reading at the time. Soren Kierkegaard was rather prolific.
“Calling oneself a Christian has become so much a condition for advancement in the world that, most likely, you couldn’t even get permission to earn a living by running a whorehouse without proving you are baptizes and are (i.e. call yourself) a Christian.”—Soren Kierkegaard Papers and Journals
“God’s word was spoken (communicated orally) by a single man and then later written down - nowadays any driveller gets his trash printed in tens of thousands of copies…Oh, what a satire on humanity that God’s word was put into the world in the way it was! And what a satire on humanity that the more message deteriorates, the more widely it is disseminated with the help of ever new inventions!”—Soren Kierkegaard Papers and Journals
“That is why nothing is learnt from history. The illustrious of bygone times stand there in their glory; even persecution and the like have their attraction. No closer understanding is conveyed.”—Soren Kierkegaard Papers and Journals
Once there was a man whose parents had inculcated in him a pious belief in Jesus Christ — as he grew older he understood it less and less. ‘For,’ he said, ‘this I understand, that he was willing to sacrifice his life for truth, and that if he did sacrifice his life it was for the truth What I cannot understand is that he who is love did not, out of love for men, prevent men from committing the greatest of all crimes, that of taking his life.’
The fact is, Christ is not love, least of all in the human sense; he is truth, truth absolutely; that is why not only could he defend their action but had to let men become guilty of his death: i.e. reveal truth to the uttermost degree (the contrary, being weakness, would have been no defense).
“'Good-bye, you wish of my youth, you friendly place where I had hoped to build and live with my wish!' The procession moves on — the guiding necessity silently in advance, duty behind, stern and earnest — not cruel, since duty never is that. Ah, see that road branching off to the side; it leads to the wish: 'Good-bye to you, my desired sphere of activity, where I had hoped to forget youth's denied wish in the fulfilled joy of work.' The procession moves on.”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (p. 103, Hong translation)
“Alas, human sympathy often relates itself inversely to suffering, which becomes harder in the long run, and sympathy becomes weary in the long run; the suffering increases while the sympathy diminishes…when […] sympathy is at an end, it sometimes is changed into a kind of bitterness against the sufferer.”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (p. 104, Hong translation)
“My being was transparent, like the depths of the sea, like the self-satisfied silence of the night, like the soliloquizing stillness of midday. Every mood rested in my soul with melodic resonance.”—Constantin Constantius Repetition (p. 173, Hong translation)
“He who will merely hope is cowardly; he who will merely recollect is voluptuous; he who wills repetition is a man, and the more emphatically he is able to realize it, the more profound a human being he is.”—Constantin Constantius Repetition (p. 132 Hong translation)
“When the Eleatics denied motion, Diogenes, as everyone knows, came forward as an opponent. He literally did come forward, because he did not say a word but merely paced back and forth a few times, thereby assuming he had sufficiently refuted them.”—The opening line of Repetition, a book published in 1843 under the pseudonym Constantin Constantius. This particular text is difficult to penetrate, even by Kierkegaardian standards.
“It takes a lot of naiveté to believe that it helps to shout and scream in the world, as if one’s fate would thereby be altered. Take what comes and avoid all complications.”—Either/Or I (p. 33 Hong translation)
“How dreadful boredom is - how dreadfully boring; I know no stronger expression, no truer one…I lie prostrate, inert; the only thing I see is emptiness, the only thing I live on is emptiness, the only thing I move in is emptiness. I do not even suffer pain.”—Either/Or I (p. 37 Hong translation)
“The miracle can demonstrate nothing, for if you do not believe him to be who he says he is, then you deny the miracle. The miracle can make aware — now you are in the tension, and it depends upon what you choose, offense or faith; it is your heart that must be disclosed.”—Anti-Climacus Practice in Christianity (p. 96 Hong translation)
“Christianity does indeed proclaim itself to be comfort, cure, and healing — that being so, people turn to it as they turn to a friend in need, thank it as they thank a helper, because by the help of it or by its help they believe they will be able to bear the suffering under which they sigh. And then — then the very opposite happens.”—Anti-Climacus Practice in Christianity (p. 114 Hong translation)
Even though my posts have been rather infrequent of late, I still want to let everyone know I’ll be headed to Ireland this week to celebrate my two year anniversary. Have a great week and thanks for following! Keep on reading!
“The fear of death and allure of suicide yield to a new standard - one we might, in frustration, describe as a higher sort of suicide. To remain healthy, the cured man ‘must at every moment destroy the possibility’ of despair. As a Christian, he [Anti-Climacus] has recognized literal suicide as a despairing ‘crime against God,’ and rejected it accordingly;’ but now he is required to annihilate continuously every defiant element of the self - in an unending effort ‘to die to the world.’”—
David D. Posen; University of Chicago.
Anti-Climacus and the Physician of Souls (an essay included in Soren Kierkegaard and the Word (s). Essays on Hermeneutics and Communication)
“The person who wills the good in truth must above all not be busy but must in quiet patience leave everything up to the good itself, what reward he is to have, what he is to accomplish. He does not dare to permit himself one mediating word, not one hint; he does not dare to ask for the slightest relief from the world.”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (pg. 97. Hong translation)
“One another occasion I met him in a restaurant. He sat in front of no small portion of food fit for a king and a very large goblet of sparkling wine. At that point he had begun his stern polemic against ‘official Christianity,’ and I then saw for myself that he did not apply to himself this ‘dying away from the world’ or this (at any rate bloodless) martyrdom, which he continually preached for us others and which he made the hallmark of the genuine Christian witness…He immediately called over to me, involved as I was with a fierce battle for the Church: ‘Hello B., you look good. Yes who who are persecuted are getting fat.’”—Vilhelm Birkedal Encounters with Kierkegaard
“As far as Soren Sophist is concerned, I have never believed that the truth was in him; with his brilliant dialectics, he has always remed to me a sleight-of-hand artist who plays hocus locus with the truth and with Christianity, letting it appear and disappear under his shells.”—B.S Ingemmann to J.P. Muller, 1855. Encounters with Kierkegaard
“…no cause has ever been lost in the way the cause of Christianity was lost when Christ was crucified; and no one has ever, in the sense of the moment, accomplished as little by a life solely committed to sacrifice as did Jesus Christ. Yet, in the eternal sense, at that same moment he had accomplished everything…”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (p. 91, Hong translation)
“I remember nothing else about his personality besides that enormously demonic look with which he seemed to read a person’s soul.”—J.C Barth recalling a short visit with Soren Kierkegaard. These and many other anecdotes from contemporaries of Kierkegaard are compiled in a book called Encounters with Kierkegaard, and was put together by Bruce H. Kirmmse.
“…let us never deceive young people with foolish talk about accomplishing; let us never make them busy in the service of the moment instead of patiently willing something eternal; let us never make them quick to pass judgement on what they perhaps do not understand rather than content to will something eternal themselves!”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (p. 92, Hong translation)
“The individual no longer belongs to God, to himself, to his beloved, or to his art or to his science, he is conscious of belonging in all things to an abstraction in which he is subjugated by reflection.”—Soren Kierkegaard The Present Age
“Alas, in addition to his grievous innocent suffering, such an unhappy person often must bear the severe judgement of arrogance and busyness and obtuseness, which no doubt can chide him, no doubt can affront him, but cannot understand him.”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (p. 80, Hong translation)
“Oh how merciful the eternal is to us human beings! The eternal does not recognize all the corruptive strife and comparison that condescends and insults, that sighs and envies. Its requirement is equal for everyone, the greatest who has lived and the lowliest.”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (p. 81, Hong translation)
“The good is not aristocratic; it asks for neither more nor less than everything, whether this is a little bit or not makes no difference.”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (p. 84, Hong translation)
“Is it not often the case that the well is not filled in until the child has fallen in, whereas the most sensible talk and warning were of no avail. Now then, if the honest person is willing to be the child who falls into the well, has his venture been futile?”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (p. 84, Hong translation)
“But there is a power called recollection; it is said to be as precious to all good people as it is to lovers. Yes, it is even said to be so precious to lovers that they almost prefer the whispering of recollection to the sight of each other and say: Do you remember that time, and do you remember that time!”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (p. 86, Hong translation)
“But I cannot acquire any immediate certainty of my relation to Christ. I cannot acquire any immediate assurance as to whether I have faith - for having faith is precisely this dialectical floating which is in constant fear and trembling yet never doubts…”—Soren Kierkegaard Journals and Papers
“My life must not be yet another un-Christian edition of what it is to be Christian, so that one profits from it when in one’s own life. Christ’s self-denial is unto death; otherwise it is no different from the worldly.”—Soren Kierkegaard Journals and Papers 1848-49
“But in a people’s government, who is the ruler? An X or the everlasting blether: whatever at any moment is or has the majority - the most insane of all determinants. When one knows how majorities are come by and how they can fluctuate, then to let this nonsense be what governs!”—Soren Kierkegaard Journals and Papers 148-49
“You must have lived out your life a bit to feel the need for Christianity. If forced on you earlier it makes you in fact quite mad. There is something in a child and a youth that is so naturally part of them that God himself can be said to have wanted it thus.”—Soren Kierkegaard Papers and Journals 1848-49
“He [the double-minded] cannot and he will not understand the slowness of the good, that in its compassion it is long-suffering, that in its love for the free it will not use power, that in its wise understanding of the weak it shuns every deception; he cannot and he will not humbly understand that the good can do without him.”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (p. 62, Hong translation)
“…busyness - in which one continually goes further and further, and noise, in which the true is continually forgotten more and more, and the multitude of circumstances, incentives, and hindrances - continually makes it more impossible for one to gain any deeper knowledge of oneself.”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (p. 67, Hong translation)
“Fear of physical debility has certainly taught the profligate to observe moderation in his debauchery…but it has never made him chaste. Consequently, instead of forgetting God in the vortex of vice, it taught him to mock God daily by moderation…”—Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (p. 46, Hong translation)