Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The Existential Jesus
Karl Heim said, "A proposition or truth is said to be existential when I cannot apprehend or assent to it from the standpoint of a mere spectator but only on the ground of my total existence."
Soren Kierkegaard said that "God in human form is an absolute paradox which can never be anything but a stumbling block for the human mind… The paradox in Christian truth is invariably due to the fact that it is truth as it exists in God. " (Alec R. Vidler)
For Kierkegaard the fundamental fact of man's spiritual and moral position was sin. There is a radical difference between God and man and good and evil. For Kierkegaard life was a matter of 'either-or'. The only deliverance from this life in shadow was the transformation of the whole life of man, which could be accomplished only by an act of faith, a spring into a new relationship with God. It was a new creation. It could not be arrived at safely by thinking or speculation. It could only be reached subjectively in the conflict of personal experience. (Alec R. Vidler)
Kierkegaard said the truth could be apprehended only by someone "who lay struggling for his life upon 70,000 fathoms of water."
Kierkegaard taught that Christianity preached in the state church was an apostasy from the Christianity of the new Testament. It was an attempt to make a fool of God. The clergy were only government officials, bound to do what was pleasing to the government. The whole idea of "Christendom", of making Christianity official and respectable and conventional , was criminal. It concealed from the people what Christianity really was.
He described the minister as "a time-server, a man of the world, a clever and successful ecclesiastical politician, who 'had the pleasure of declaiming in the "quiet hours" on Sundays, and then covering himself with worldly shrewdness on Mondays".
Kierkegaard said, "Truth is always in the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority as a rule is formed of those who really have an opinion, while the strength of the majority is illusory, formed by the gang who have no opinion."
"the only way of deliverance is by a living faith in Jesus Christ."
Kierkegaard said, "The thinker who is devoid of paradox is like the lover who is devoid of passion."