Towards the end of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s life, he became disenchanted by all the hypocrisy he saw in the Danish state church. Apparently it got to the point where, instead of attending Mass on Sundays, he would sit outside at a cafe across the street from his parish and read the newspaper so that everyone walking to church could see him. This story, whether apocryphal or real, resonates with many of us who were raised
Father in Heaven! That which we in the company of other people, especially in the throng of humanity, have such difficulty learning, and which, if we have learned it elsewhere, is so easily forgotten in the company of other people—what it is to be a human being and what, from a godly standpoint, is the requirement for being a human being—would that we might learn it, or, if it has been forgotten, that we might
In the opening section of “A Treatise on Good Works,” Martin Luther declares: “The first and highest, the most precious of all good works is faith in Jesus Christ.”1 Luther was not an ethicist as such, but his claim, if true, has wide-ranging implications for anyone in pursuit of the “good life”—that end toward which ethics is aimed. Such a bold idea warrants justification. What could this statement possibly mean? How is faith a work
What is existentialism? It has connections with both famous Christians and atheists. So, is it biblical? Could there be a genuinely Christian existentialism, or should we stay away?
Some authors make a lasting impression on one’s mind, for good or for bad. For me, one such writer is Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55), whom I first engaged while an undergraduate at Valparaiso University. While reading Kierkegaard, one cannot help but be flummoxed by large portions of his prose—there’s simply too much there to engage in its fullness. You are like a kindergartener, who is desperately trying to make sense of a chalkboard filled with Einstein’s